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August 24, 1998

Summary of entertainment policy changes

As you read through the policy changes below, please make note of the distinction between "allowable" and "exceptional" entertainment. The new policy has expanded the definition of "allowable" activities, but some "allowable" entertainment may be considered "exceptional" in that these expenses must be explicitly approved by a Senior Administrative Officer.

Maximums Increased

Effective July 1, 1998 the maximum per person expenditures for individuals being entertained and for a University employee who is the official host or who is a participant at the request of the official host shall not exceed the following amounts (inclusive of tax and service):

Buffet Reception

Cannot exceed the applicable meal allowance associated with the type of buffet, i.e., breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Any request for reimbursement which exceeds the per person meal allowance is considered "exceptional expense" and must include a written justification as to why the higher costs were unavoidable and necessary to achieve a University business purpose. The fact that actual costs exceed the authorized rates is not in itself adequate justification for a higher reimbursement rate.

Expansion of the allowable entertainment activities

To include functions such as:

provided that the cost of such functions is paid from funds which have no restrictions regarding entertainment (state funds may not be used).

Employee personal expenses such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, farewell gatherings (other than retirement), illnesses, sympathy, Secretary's Day, etc. are not allowable expenses.

Host Certification

Requirement that the entertainment reimbursement include a statement signed by the host certifying that the expenditures were incurred for official University business purposes.


Requirement that the authorization of entertainment transactions be independent and at the appropriate level, i.e. the supervisor (or higher level) of the official host.


Senior Administrative Officers have been delegated authority to approve entertainment. Senior Administrative Officers may redelegate the authority in writing to another person within their unit. The authority may not be further redelegated.

Senior Administrative Officers have been delegated authority to approve exceptional entertainment. Senior Administrative Officers may not redelegate the authority.

Exceptional Entertainment

The following expenses, although allowable, require Senior Administrative Officer approval and must be paid from appropriate non-State funds:

SPECIAL NOTE: Under IRS regulations, an entertainment expense will be considered taxable income to the employee if the entertainment activity is not directly related to the employee's job, the expense is lavish or extravagant under the circumstances, the official host (or another employee) is not present when the activity takes place, or if the expense is not substantiated with supporting documentation as provided in the policy. Such expenses are not allowable under this policy.

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