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Payments: Memberships

Find out what to consider when paying for memberships.

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Membership Guidelines

Overview: UC San Diego employees often join organizations that promote the advancement of education and research, enhance their professional standing, and facilitate community relations.

If you belong to, or need to join, such an organization, UC San Diego may cover the cost of the membership if your request meets most or all of the guidelines below.

  • Business purpose: The membership must be primarily for business purposes and should contribute to UC San Diego's function of teaching, research, patient care, or public service.
  • Worthwhile cost: The cost of the membership should result in worthwhile benefits to UC San Diego.  Lifetime memberships will only be approved as an exception in limited circumstances. 
  • Membership for periodicals: If you are joining an organization primarily to obtain its publications, first check to see if the periodicals are available in your department.
  • Departmental memberships: When possible, request a departmental membership instead of a personal membership.
  • Institutional memberships: Some memberships may be more appropriate for UC San Diego as a whole, rather than at a departmental or personal level.
  • Membership in local organizations: Weigh the cost of the membership with its potential to achieve positive community relations.
  • Membership policies: University funds can't be used to pay membership fees or dues to organizations with legally impermissible, arbitrary, or discriminatory membership policies.

Note: Employees should not request reimbursement for optional contributions to the organization associated with the membership.  Contributions, if any, should be paid directly to the organization with proper approval.

Institutional Memberships

Institutional memberships benefit the entire UCSD campus, not just an individual person or department.

Institutional memberships are initiated and maintained by the chancellor. Institutional memberships are usually in state, national, and international organizations.

Approval: The Vice Chancellor - Chief Financial Officer must approve an institutional membership.

If you would like to request that UCSD become a member of an institutional organization, Disbursements will review and coordinate the handling of your request. Contact Robin Alcalay through ASK (login required, Category: Invoices, Bills, and Payments; Sub-Category: MyPayments).

Memberships Requiring Special Consideration

Memberships requiring special consideration are memberships with fees other than initiation fees and dues. Memberships also require special consideration when they do not fall into one of these categories, each addressed below:

Approval

  • Prepare a message that explains the nature of the membership, briefly describes any documentation you have that supports the request, and states the benefit to UCSD.
  • Disbursements will review and coordinate the handling of your request. Please send your request for approval to Robin Alcalay through BFSupport (Category: Invoices, Bills, and Payments; Sub-Category: MyPayments). You will be advised on the approval status of your request and if approved, you will be sent the approval documentation needed when paying for the membership. 

Funding sources

When fund policy is more restrictive than UCSD policy, the fund policy prevails. Funding sources include:

  • Non-state funds: Membership expenditures must be allowed by fund guidelines.

Payment or reimbursement

After receiving approval:

General Memberships

UCSD employees can join organizations that promote the advancement of education and research, enhance professional standing, and facilitate community relations.

General memberships require initiation fees or dues. These types of general memberships are allowable at UCSD:

  • University and collegiate organizations
  • Official accrediting agencies
  • Professional school and college organizations
  • Institutional service agency organizations
  • Administrative officers organizations
  • Scholarly societies
  • Community organizations

Approval: Department approval is required.

Funding sources: When fund policy is more restrictive than UCSD policy, the fund policy prevails. Funding sources include:

  • State funds
  • Non-state funds
  • Federal funds: Membership expenditures must be allowed by fund guidelines.

Payment of or reimbursement for a general membership

Social Memberships

Memberships in social organizations are allowable if joining the organization is primarily for official UCSD business.

Social memberships include memberships in organizations such as country clubs and athletic clubs. These memberships are considered "exceptional" in nature. Social memberships:

  • Must be for official UCSD business
  • Are not allowed if the organization uses discriminatory membership policies or practices

Membership usage

You need to keep a record of when you use the membership for both business and personal purposes. You'll use this information to fill out the Annual Report of Personal Use form:

  • A special accounting period applies to membership usage. Keep records from Nov. 1 of the prior year through Oct. 31 of the current year.
  • Disbursements will automatically send you the form after Oct. 31
  • If your employment with UCSD terminates, or if you become ineligible to use the membership, you must complete this form before termination or ineligibility.

Determining taxable benefit

Non-business use of the membership is considered compensation and is taxable. Disbursements will calculate the taxable benefit of your membership using information provided on the Annual Report of Personal Use form and send you a Determination of Taxable Benefit form indicating your taxable benefit, if any.

If it is determined that a taxable benefit of the membership applies, income and employment taxes will be withheld from your Dec. 1 paycheck, and the taxable benefit will be reported on your W-2 form.

Approval: The Vice Chancellor - Chief Financial Officer must approve a social organization membership.

If you would like to request to become a member of a social organization, Disbursements will review and coordinate the handling of your request. Please contact Robin Alcalay through BFSupport (login required, Category: Invoices, Bills, and Payments; Sub-Category: MyPayments).

Funding sources

Currently, non-state and non-federal funding can be used if allowed by the fund guidelines. When fund policy is more restrictive than UCSD policy, the fund policy prevails.

Paying for or getting reimbursed for a social membership

After receiving approval:

Memberships for Periodical Acquisition

UCSD employees or departments can secure membership in an organization to acquire periodicals.

UCSD employees can request payment of or reimbursement for memberships that are required to subscribe to periodicals.

Approval

Department approval is required.

Funding sources

When fund policy is more restrictive than UCSD policy, the fund policy prevails. Funding sources include:

  • State funds
  • Non-state funds
  • Federal funds: Membership expenditures must be allowed by fund guidelines.

Requesting payment or reimbursement

  • Review the membership guidelines above to decide if it's appropriate to ask UCSD to pay for the membership.
  • Check your fund source to see if the membership is an allowable expense. 
  • For reimbursement or direct payment, use MyPayments - payment type Dues, Fees, Licenses, Permits, Premiums, Refunds; sub-type Membership Dues.
    • On Payment Questions - Membership Type, select either Membership to secure periodical Reimbursement, or Membership to secure periodical Direct Payment.
    • Note: You can use the Express Card only if acquiring periodicals is the only purpose for the membership.

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