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Official Occasion Expense Forms must be processed any time University funds are being used to pay for food, beverages,flowers related to an event, greeting cards, and sometimes parking. An “official occasion” is defined as a reception, luncheon, dinner, or similar event that is sponsored and funded by UT (e.g., conferences, meetings, planning retreats, staff meetings). These functions are normally associated with special programs or conferences, University guests, faculty and staff recruitment, or business meetings that span a meal time. To prevent a personal tax liability, you will need to document each occasion with receipts for expenses, using the Entertainment Payment Voucher (VPE).
College Entertainment Reimbursement Policy:
- Entertainment expenses are limited to $75/person for an event/meeting (including tax and gratuity).
- Tips/gratuity should be limited to no more than 20%.
- Faculty and staff must submit itemized receipts for reimbursement. They must also submit a receipt showing proof of payment (if this does not already appear on the itemized receipt). If an itemized receipt or proof of payment is not available, the payee must sign a memo explaining why such is not available and the document creator should include it with the voucher paperwork. This should be mentioned in the document notes.
- The College of Liberal Arts requires that an approved OOEF be submitted with VPE paperwork. If the payee used a procard to pay for flowers or other event expenses, then the OOEF must be filed with VP7 (Pro Card Payment Voucher) paperwork.
- OOEFs must be processed within 60 days of the official occasion.
- Only gift funds—and never state funds—may be used to pay for entertainment expenses.
- All other UT policies relating to entertainment expenses apply.
- There may be rare occasions where $75/person will prove to be insufficient for a particular event. If that is the case, please request an exception, in advance, from Chief Business Officer Kimberly Biar. Approval of these requests will be granted in only the most compelling of circumstances, and rarely, if ever, will they be approved after-the-fact.
Gratuities on Restaurant Receipts
Gratuities are allowed within reasonable limits. Gratuities should not exceed 20 percent of the bill subtotal before sales tax. An explanation must be provided in the NOTes section of the *DEFINE payment voucher if tips exceed this amount; such incidents could be the result of a restaurant gratuity limit of more than 20 percent.
How It Works
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- Official occasion occurs. Because you will need to state the exact amount to be paid on the OOEF, you will almost always need to wait to submit the OOEF until after the event itself has occurred. You must submit the OOEF for approval within 60 days of the official occasion.
- Once you have all receipts and proof of payment for the event, create the OOEF using the CoLA staff form. Once on the CoLA OOEF page, you can access detailed instructions for completing this form by clicking the “Instructions” link.
In order for payees to be reimbursed or paid for entertainment expenses, you will need to submit both an OOEF AND an Entertainment Payment Voucher (VPE). OOEFs and VPE documents can be created at the same time to allow creators to enter the VPE document id. The VP doc id is not required to be entered on the OOEF; however it is recommended. (The OOEF creator can add the doc id when processing the form or after the OOEF status is Final Approved by clicking on the hand in the Action column when reviewing those OOEFs which have been approved.)
If any of the following circumstances apply, you MUST use the CoLA web OOEF. (If they do not, you may choose to complete the UT Office of Accounting’s OOEF PDF form instead.)
If you do choose to use OA’s paper version of the OOEF, it must be signed by the chair/director and attached to the voucher paperwork sent to OA Doc Processing. In this case, the VPE notes should include the notation, “Paper OOEF.”
- The amount to be reimbursed is $1000 or more, or
- you are reimbursing a department chair/director, or
- you are using an endowment account.
- the department chair/director was in attendance
- Routing. After entering the usual information related to the event, the form will automatically route to your chair/director for approval. If the total actual/expected amount is $1000 or less, and the payee is not your chair/director, then they will be the final approver. If the amount is over $1000, and/or if the payee is the chair/director, the OOEF will route to the Dean's Office for approval after your chair approves it.
- Final Approval. You will receive notification via e-mail once the request receives final approval (by dean or chair).
- Submit the receipts for payment/reimbursement. Once the OOEF has received final approval, you will need to print the OOEF (Print Version). To avoid delays in processing the reimbursement, be sure that the print out of the OOEF shows the status as “Final Approved by…”. Attach the OOEF to the VPE to document the approval, and send the to two documents, together with the receipts, to OA Document Processing.
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Note: PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.
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Questions about the CoLA online OOEF and/or the VPE should be directed as follows:
Please direct comments on the Procedures Guide to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips or FAQs
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- Flowers for official university related purposes may be purchased from program support, chair and professorship endowments - as long as the donor agreement does not stipulate otherwise. Fellowships and student support endowments may not be used for flower purchases. Use an OOEF for flower purchases and process payment/reimbursement on a VPE; however, if you use a Pro Card to purchase flowers for an event, the charge will appear on a VP7 and still requires an OOEF. If flowers are purchased for sympathy/funeral, birthday, or get well, an OOEF is not required and payment can be processed on a VP2 or VP7 (when a procard is used) document with object code 1329. Please say in the doc notes or voucher description who the flowers are for as well as why they were purchased and provide an affiliation for the receiver.
NOTE: Greeting cards always require an OOEF and cannot be purchased with endowment funds. Flowers, food & other items for sympathy/funeral, birthday, or get well (i.e., NOT for official, university-related purposes) cannot be purchased with endowment funds. In these cases departments must pay/reimburse using their departmental VD/VP (various donors/various purposes) accounts. (See the UT Entertainment and Official Occasions Expenditure Policy Chart under Flowers).
- If one or more of the event participants is a guest, please include guest name, current job title (e.g., “Associate Professor”), and current institutional affiliation (e.g., “University of California-Berkeley). If this information is not on the OOEF, it needs to be included in the VPE document notes.
- If you type info in the “group” field, do not include info in “participants” field. Choose one or the other, depending on how many people are involved in the event. If you type in both fields, the only information that will be visible is that in “group.”
- If the event is held at someone's home the location should include that person's name, job title & affiliation, but not their physical address. For example: “LOCATION: home of Murphy Brown, Assistant Professor, UT-History Dept.”
- If you have an Official Student Occasion, use object code: 1309 for all Designated STUDENT FEE and FLAT RATE TUITION 19 accounts that will not permit the use of object code 1347 for Business Meetings, Official Occasions, or Meals, Refreshments, and Expenses for Conferences, Workshops, and Seminars. The primary attendees of the event must be students, the primary purpose must be for the benefit of students, and alcohol will not be permitted at the event. The "siloed" fee accounts/amounts must still adhere to the original purpose of the approved fee. So, if the fee was not set up to provide for student official occasions, then the siloed fee amounts should not be used for this purpose. Exception: This will not apply to Auxiliary (29) flat rate tuition or fee accounts, at least initially.
- All alcohol service must follow the Guidelines for Alcohol Service.
- For events held at the Student Activities Center (SAC), approval to serve alcohol is always required. The Texas Unionhas been designated a special use facility by the Board of Regents and holds a liquor license. The SAC has not been designated as such and does not hold a liquor license.
- Expenses older than 60 days require a written explanation as to the reasons for the lateness. These late reimbursement requests will also require additional levels of approval and may even run the risk of being disallowed entirely or reported as taxable income to the payee.
- Entertainment Expense for Companion of a University Guest or University Host
Per University policy, for an entertainment expense to be allowed, all those attending must serve a bona fide business purpose. This purpose must be documented on the Official Occasion Expense Form in the Purpose or Preparer's Comments. Companion expenses are generally not reimbursed unless they are for receptions, development, distinguished visitors/lecturers or recruitment purposes. In order to justify a bona fide business purpose, expenses for a University host's companion are usually reimbursed only if the guest also brings a companion.
- Caution RE: Itemization of Expenses: The university is exempt from state sales tax, so faculty or staff must follow the Texas Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certificate Instructions and present the exemption certificate to the vendor at the time of purchase of consumable or non-consumable items on behalf of the university. Faculty and staff can be reimbursed for the actual cost, but if Texas sales tax is charged, it will not be reimbursed. However, for purchases of meals at restaurants, if the sales tax exemption is not available to patrons of the restaurant, the sales tax will be reimbursed.
Last Modified: 17 November 2014