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Meetings and Entertainment

See an overview of guidelines for meetings, programmatic activities, and entertainment (events).


A key component of a successful Travel & Entertainment expense report is a strong and valid Business Purpose. The T&E Office has recently seen an influx of expense reports with business purposes that are lacking in details which cause a delay in the review and approval process. When providing a business purpose, it is important to present how attending the business trip or hosting the event is beneficial to the University and aligns with the major functions of teaching, research, patient care or public service, or to any other substantial and bona fide University activity. The more detailed and compelling the justification in the initial submission, the less likely that our office would need to reach out to obtain clarification or send the report back. Below are examples of well-documented business purposes that departments have included in their expense reports. These concise but detailed explanations helped move the process along more efficiently.
  • Attended the XYZ Conference to present our research findings and collaborate with other investigators in the field of XYZ
  • Hosted the ABC Event to welcome and support new UC San Diego Alumni. This was a great opportunity to connect our new Triton alumni with other Tritons in the region and build mentorships with incoming and current students.
  • Retirement celebration event for Employee Z to recognize 30 years of dedicated service to UC San Diego
  • Staff event for the XYZ team to celebrate recent fiscal year successes and conduct team building activities
  • Donor cultivation meeting with Guest Z where we discussed how their gift would be of impact to the Unviersity

Process to request payment or reimbursement

Log in to Concur to request a payment or reimbursement. The application offers:

  • The ability to process payments for multiple payees in one document
  • The ability to attach required documentation to the Concur Request/Expense
  • Online approval routing via Concur
  • Validation for fund source(s) to help comply with fund-source restrictions

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 (unless length of service is more than 5 years)
  • Retirement (unless length of service is more 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 with full names, title, and affiliation is required for meetings and all entertainment, but is not required for programmatic activities. For meeting/entertainment events, where the # of attendees exceeds 100 people, we do not require a list of attendees just an Attendee Group that shows the Attendee Count. For programmatic activities, provide a clear description of the attendees when you create the Attendee Group and make sure that the Attendee Count reflects the # of participants/guests.


Fund-source restrictions apply.

A Campus Events with Alcoholic Beverages Form (electronic form) is required if alcoholic beverages were served on campus property and only if there were more than 30 people in attendance.

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 are 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 is 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 processes to follow. Your specific event may not be addressed. If you have questions, contact:

  • Travel and Entertainment Team via Services & Support
  • For questions about expenses for non-employee personal reimbursement, contact Payment request specialists via Services & Support.
  • For questions about a contract with a service provider or insurance for non-UC San Diego food service brought onto campus property, contact Business Contracts Office.
Find answers, request services, or get help from our team at the UC San Diego Services & Support portal.

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.