Office of Financial Affairs



Wireless Telecommunications Device Allowance



POLICY: 
 
Employees for whom a carrier-based wireless telecommunication device (e.g. cell phone, smart phone, or other electronic device) is considered necessary for carrying out their job responsibilities will be reimbursed for expenses related to those devices through a monthly taxable allowance that will be processed through the Office of Human Resources.

The president of Utica College or his or her designee has sole authority to determine whether a carrier-based wireless telecommunication device is considered necessary for an employee to carry out his or her job responsibility. Approvals will not be given out of simple convenience to employees.
 
Exceptions: New employees who have not yet been authorized to receive an allowance, or current employees who do not typically require use of a carrier-based wireless telecommunication device on a day-to-day basis, may be reimbursed for related expenses according to procedures outlined in the Purchasing and Accounts Payable policy and/or the Business Travel and Entertainment Policy.
 
SCOPE: 
 
This policy is applicable to all Utica College employees, including student employees.
 
REASON FOR POLICY: 
 
Utica College recognizes that certain jobs require that employees be accessible in case of emergency and/or that they be able to perform their duties when they are frequently away from the office or during times that fall outside of scheduled working hours.

IRS regulations regarding taxable fringe benefits require employers that provide telecommunication equipment such as cell phones to implement strict substantiation requirements whereby employees must submit monthly telephone bills that account for and differentiate between business and personal use. Utica College’s Wireless Telecommunications Device Allowance policy, however, eliminates administrative costs and burdensome time requirements associated with submitting and processing monthly bills. This policy, which meets IRS criteria for non-accountable plans, is designed to:
  • Eliminate the need for employees to keep track of their business and personal calls
     
  • Eliminate the need for employees to reimburse the College for personal calls
     
  • Provide greater flexibility for employees to select their preferred wireless telecommunication device carrier, plan, and equipment (However, see Support for Wireless Telecommunication Devices, below.)
     
  • Ensure compliance with IRS taxable allowance regulations
DEFINITIONS:

Carrier-based Wireless Telecommunication Device – A cell phone, smart phone, or other electronic device that requires a plan and monthly or other regular payments in order to use the device.

PROCEDURE:

Device Allowance Approval

The president of the College or his or her designee has sole authority to determine whether and/or when employees may qualify for a wireless telecommunication device allowance. The allowance will be granted only when it has been determined that the use of such a device is required and necessary for the performance of the employee’s job duties.

In order to initiate the device allowance approval process, the employee’s vice president must first submit a Wireless Telecommunication Device Allowance Request Form to the president of the College or his or her designee. If the request is approved, the president or his or her designee will also identify the most appropriate device allowance to be assigned.

Once approval has been granted, the vice president submits the Wireless Telecommunication Device Allowance Request Form, with the employee’s signature, to the Office of Human Resources. The Office of Human Resources will pay a monthly taxable allowance that will be determined by the vice president for financial affairs and treasurer of the College. (See also Determination of Taxable Allowance below).

In general, employees will be required to use a wireless telecommunication device only if:
  • Their job function requires considerable time physically away from their assigned office or work area and it is important to the College that they be accessible during those times; and/or
     
  • It is necessary that employees regularly be accessible beyond their scheduled or normal working hours to deal with business-related matters. Examples include regularly occurring travel or after-hours College-related events, and crisis management.
Simple convenience will not serve as a criterion for requiring that employees use wireless telecommunication devices.

Employees who require an allowance for a specific period of time (e.g. to attend a business-related weekend event or conference) do not qualify for a monthly allowance. In these situations, reimbursement will be provided (see Reimbursement for Business Calls, below).

In general, student employees who incur business-related expenses do not qualify to receive a monthly wireless telecommunication device allowance. When a student has incurred a business-related expense on his or her wireless telecommunication device, he or she may request reimbursement for the expense by following the reimbursement procedures outlined in the Purchasing and Accounts Payable policy.

Determination of Taxable Allowance

The monthly taxable allowance will be determined and periodically reviewed by the vice president for financial affairs and treasurer of the College and will depend upon the type of device to be used. The allowance is not intended to cover total costs associated with wireless telecommunication device costs, since there typically will also be monthly personal usage.

Support for Wireless Telecommunication Devices

Integrated Information Technology Services (IITS) will provide limited support for devices listed on this information Web page:
http://www.utica.edu/pda.

Persons owning non-supported wireless telecommunication devices must seek technical support from their respective service providers, not from IITS.

Payment of Monthly Allowance

Each employee’s vice president or the vice president’s designee is responsible for ensuring that the device’s actual expenses are in accordance with the employee’s job duties. Monthly statements for devices will be randomly audited and reviewed by the employee’s respective vice president or designee to ensure proper device business usage. Copies of the employee’s monthly bills must be made available to the respective vice president or designee upon request.

The IRS considers wireless telecommunication device allowances to be taxable supplemental salary. Therefore, monthly allowances will be processed by the Office of Human Resources through the College’s payroll and included in the employee’s paycheck. The allowance will show as a separate line item on the employee’s pay stub or direct deposit receipt.

The monthly wireless telecommunication device allowance does not increase the employee’s base salary.

Reimbursement for Business Calls

In those instances when the employee does not qualify for a wireless telecommunication device allowance but occasionally uses his or her personal cell phone or other electronic device for business purposes, the College will reimburse the employee following procedures outlined in the Purchasing and Accounts Payable policy and/or the Business Travel and Entertainment Policy.

Canceling the Wireless Telecommunication Device Allowance

If a change in an employee’s job assignment or job performance results in that employee no longer qualifying for a wireless telecommunication device allowance, or if that employee or is no longer employed at Utica College, the respective vice president or his or her designee must notify the Office of Human Resources in writing and request that the allowance be discontinued.

RESPONSIBILITY:

It is the responsibility of all Utica College employees to ensure appropriate stewardship of assigned wireless telecommunication device allowances and to ensure accountability to funding sources. It is also the responsibility of persons owning wireless telecommunication devices not supported by Integrated Information Technology Services to seek technical support from their respective service providers, rather than from IITS.

It is the responsibility of all vice presidents or his or her designees to conduct regular reviews of employees’ device business usage and to ensure the appropriateness of each wireless telecommunication device allowance.

ENFORCEMENT:

Enforcement of Utica College policies is the responsibility of the office listed in the “Resources/Questions” section of each policy. The responsible office will contact the appropriate authority regarding faculty or staff members, students, vendors, or visitors who violate policies.

Utica College acknowledges that College policies may not anticipate every possible issue that may arise. The College therefore reserves the right to make reasonable and relevant decisions regarding the enforcement of this policy. All such decisions must be approved by an officer of the College (i.e. president, vice president for academic affairs, or vice president for financial affairs).

RESOURCES/QUESTIONS:

For any questions or additional information, please contact the Office of Human Resources or the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.

Please note that other Utica College policies may apply or be related to this policy. To search for related policies, use the Keyword Search function of the online policy manual.



Effective Date:
05/26/2009
Promulgation Date:
05/29/2009