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Meetings and Entertainment: Overview

UC San Diego allows the provision of meals or light refreshments for an event, such as a meeting, entertainment, and programmatic activity, if it serves a bona fide UC San Diego business purpose.

Timing to request reimbursement

For the University of California’s accountable plan to be recognized by the IRS, reimbursements must abide by certain rules. For example:
  1. Expenses must have a business purpose — that is, the employee must have paid or incurred deductible expenses while performing services as an employee of UC San Diego.
  2. The employee must adequately account to UC San Diego for these expenses within a reasonable period of time.
In support of IRS regulations, UC’s accountable plan, and best practices, the following guidelines pertain to reimbursements for meetings and entertainment.
  • If using a UC San Diego Travel Card, it is recommended that expense reimbursements be submitted within 10 days of the event to ensure timely payment to US Bank.
  • If personal payment was used, it is recommended that expense reimbursements be submitted within 21 days to reduce any financial burden on the employee.
  • Expenses should be submitted within 60 days.
  • Expenses submitted after 60 days but before six months should include an explanation as to why the event was not submitted within six months.

Process to request payment or reimbursement

Use MyMeetings and Hosted Events (MyEvents) to request a payment or reimbursement. The application offers:

  • Built-in guidance, applying UC San Diego policy based on simple Yes/ No questions
  • The ability to attach required documentation to the online request
  • Online approval routing via MyApprovals
  • Validation for fund source(s) to help comply with fund-source restrictions

See Using MyMeetings and Hosted Events (MyEvents) for setup instructions to use the application.

Event types

Most events for UC San Diego business are 1 of these 3 types of events, each with certain policies and guidelines:

Non-reimbursable events

Events that are personal in nature are not reimbursable, such as:

  • Birthdays
  • Weddings
  • Anniversaries
  • Farewell gatherings or retirement (when length of service is less than 5 years)

Expenses

Maximum per-person rates apply.

For entertainment expenses, review fund-source restrictions.

To simplify planning of individual events, purchases can be made in bulk if you:

  • Limit the amount purchased to what will be used in a fiscal year
  • Keep an inventory record (PDF) of all purchases

Receipts

An itemized receipt is required if an expense was $75 or greater, regardless of the per-person amount or the event total.

  • Note: Your department may require receipts for all expenses, but UC San Diego policy requires a receipt only for an expense $75 or greater.

Guest/ participant list

A guest or participant list is required for meetings and all entertainment, but is not required for programmatic activities.

Alcohol

Fund-source restrictions apply.

A Use of Alcoholic and/ or Malt Beverages Form (PPM 510) (PDF) is required if alcoholic beverages were served on campus property.

Frequency limits and tax implications

UC San Diego does not pay or reimburse frequent or routine expenditures for meals or light refreshments for employees as they're considered taxable income by the IRS.

For meetings and entertainment events, limit:

  • Meals to once per month, per group
  • Light refreshments to twice per month, per group

A meal or entertainment expense is taxable income if:

  • The activity is not directly related to the employee's job
  • The expense if lavish or extravagant under the circumstances
  • The official host (or other designated employee) is not present when the activity takes place
  • The expense is not substantiated with supporting documentation and a receipt if an expense is $75 or greater
  • It is deemed the employee did not adequately account to UC San Diego for these expenses within a reasonable period of time

Questions

This information is designed to help you determine which policies and process to follow. Your specific event may not be addressed. If you have questions, contact:

Notice: UC San Diego policy for meetings, entertainment, and hosted events, as published in Blink, is decisive. It has been adapted to UC San Diego's organization, delegation of authority, terminology, chart of accounts, and processing applications. The source is UC Expenditures for Business Meetings, Entertainment, and Other Occasions.