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:
- 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.
- 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 submitted after 45 days may be treated as taxable and reported on the employee's W-2.
- For claims submitted after 45 days, include a clear explanation as to why the event was not timely submitted and what the department is doing to ensure future compliance. This information should be included in the purpose of the event.
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.
Most events for UC San Diego business are 1 of these 3 types of events, each with certain policies and guidelines:
- Meetings: Infrequent and at least one employee present
- Programmatic activities: In connection with student programs or community support
- Standard entertainment: Involving a guest-host relationship
- Special entertainment: Additional approval required by a vice chancellor or designee
Events that are personal in nature are not reimbursable, such as:
- Farewell gatherings or retirement (when length of service is less than 5 years)
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
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.
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
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: