Purchase Requisitions are to be used for all disbursements related to university purchases or business transactions—such as wire transfers, memberships, conference fees, supplies, equipment, furniture, insurance, utilities, rentals, contract-labor, construction-related payments, health-related payments, property taxes, travel arrangements, lodging, and other business items not specifically mentioned here. All disbursements to be made by wire transfer must be requested via Purchase Requisition. Completed Purchase Requisitions (along with other required documentation such as vendor invoice and Form W9) are to be turned in to the Purchasing Department. See Employee Handbook, Section 6.71 for specific information on completing this form. Effective July 1, 2009, check requests are no longer accepted. Please note that even when a vendor charges a lower sales tax or may not charge any sales tax, any Biola purchase may be subject to additional use tax charges. Tax withholding requirements may be applicable on U.S. sourced and/or California sourced income items when the vendor/contractor is outside of California or outside of the U.S.
Honorarium and other forms of non-employee compensation can be requested via the Compensation Requisition. This form can be used to request non-wire transfer type payments for items such as non-employee chapel speakers, visiting musicians, or other qualified independent contractor type compensation under $500. Wire transfer payment requests must be requested through Purchasing on a Purchase Requisition. Any compensation payment $500 or more must have a contract or speaker agreement in place and be pre-approved before the engagement can be finalized. Please contact the Purchasing Department to initiate the contract process and to allow sufficient time for the contract approval process. Regardless of the compensation amount, a Media Release Agreement is required if the event or the engagement will be recorded and reproduced.
Although the Compensation Requisition can be used to request additional compensation to Biola staff or faculty members for special projects, this form cannot be used to pay Biola students for services or for honorarium. The Compensation Requisition form is available in Human Resources, online at my.Biola, or via the Resources section of Inside Story Online. Completed Compensation Requisitions (along with other required documentation such as contract/agreement copy and Form W9) are to be turned in to the Human Resources Office. Please note that all Compensation Requisitions need to be reviewed by multiple offices before they are forwarded to Payroll or Accounts Payable for payment processing. Please allow sufficient time for the review and approval process. Any applicable federal tax withholding and/or state tax withholding are applied upon payment issuance. The current tax withholding rate is 30% on non-U.S. payees and 7% on non-Californian payees for U.S. and California sourced income items.
Important note: When using the Compensation Requisition form or the Purchase Requisition (PR) form, address and Social Security Number (SSN) or Tax Identification Number (TIN) are required for labor, honorarium, services rendered, rental, and healthcare-related payment. Please note that missing or incorrect information will most likely result in the delay of processing the disbursement request.
Prior to payment issuance, Form W9 is required from all U.S. payees (person or entity). Form W8-BEN is required from all non-U.S. persons and Form W8-BEN-E is required from all non-U.S. entities. Even though a prior Form W9, W8-BEN, or W8-BEN-E may have been submitted and scanned in on file with prior transactions, an updated form must be obtained should any of the payee information is changed or is different than that on file (i.e. address or tax classification). Non-California or non-U.S. payees may need to provide additional documentation or certification, such as Form 590 and Form 8233 for tax withholding exemptions.
Disbursements to non-California Residents or Entities for Services
California requires a 7% tax withholding on all California sourced income payments. Exception can only be made if the aggregate compensation amount is or is less than $1,500 for the calendar year and/or if the payee is eligible for withholding exemption and provides a valid Form 590. Please contact the Accounting Department for assistance prior to contracting non-California (out-of-state or foreign) vendors, speakers, or other independent contractors. The 7% withholding requirement applies to corporations, agencies for entertainers, and individuals alike.
In addition, a payee can only be paid as an independent contractor if the person or the entity meets all the criteria of an independent contractor and does not perform duties like an employee. An individual who works for Biola University as an employee at any time during a given calendar year may be required to be paid as an employee and be paid through Payroll during that same calendar year, even if service is provided after his/her Biola employment terminates. As a result, out-of-state set up and out-of-state applications may be required. Please double check with the Payroll Office prior to contracting a non-California resident for service or labor or contracting someone who may move outside of California during the assignment.
Disbursements to non-U.S. Persons
Special requirements and forms are involved when the payment is made to a non-U.S. person or entity. Generally, the tax-withholding rate for non-U.S. persons or entities is 30% unless the payee is eligible to claim a tax-withholding exemption. A valid U.S. Social Security Number is required in order to claim a treaty exemption benefit. Over two-dozen treaties exist between the United States and other countries. Please contact Accounting before requesting this type of payment since special withholding of taxes may apply.
The Reimbursement Requisition form is used to request reimbursement for which business-related expenditures have already been purchased and paid. Please note that all expenses must be approved in advance by your supervisor and/or Vice President (when applicable). The IRS says a business reimbursement request must be made within a reasonable amount of time. Therefore, any receipt or expenditure more than 30 days old is subject to be processed as taxable income through Payroll or Accounts Payable. The Reimbursement Requisition form is available online at my.Biola or via the Resources section of Inside Story Online. All reimbursement requisitions must be accompanied by documentation and original itemized receipts that substantiate the request and the business purpose of the expense and be turned in at the Accounting Department.
This form is not to be used to clear a cash advance. Please see the Cash Advance Requisitions section below for more details on cash advances.
Cash Advance Requisitions
The Cash Advance Requisition form is used to request money prior to the expenditure. If the expenditure has already occurred, then the Reimbursement Requisition form should be used to request reimbursement. Cash advance requests are only granted on limited basis if other options (such as Purchasing Requisition, University Credit Card, or Reimbursement Requisitions) are not feasible. Cash Advance functions like a loan and is typically only issued to current employees who need to travel for Biola business.
The payee on the Cash Advance Requisition is the individual responsible for the disbursed funds. The payee must be a current Biola employee and any cash advance not cleared within the deadline is reported as taxable income to the payee. A cash advance is similar to a loan, and the amount disbursed for the cash advance is deducted from the department’s organization account when the Cash Advance Report is submitted to account for all the expenditures related to the cash advance. The payee of the cash advance is the person responsible for the amount of the cash advance owed to Biola. A person should not receive more than one cash advance at a time and no more than 30 days prior to the event. Each cash advance should be cleared and reconciled to the university within 2 weeks (10 business days) of the event. If a cash advance is not accounted for within 30 days of the cash advance being disbursed to the payee and that all the excess fund is returned to the university, the IRS requires the advance to be shown as taxable income to the payee.
A signed Cash Advance Guidelines Form must be turned in to the Cashier’s Office before the cash advance amount is disbursed to the payee listed on the Cash Advance Requisition. The signed Cash Advance Guidelines Form is kept on file only for a maximum of 6 months in Accounting. The Cash Advance Guidelines Form is available online at my.Biola. The Cash Advance Guidelines Form covers the most commonly asked questions about the cash advance, but please refer to the university policies for specific spending restrictions, particularly the “General Reimbursement and Expenditure Guidelines” in Employee Handbook, Section 6.7 and the “Travel Policy” in Employee Handbook, Section 6.74.
Cash Advance Report
A Cash Advance Report should be used to account for all the expenditures related to a cash advance.
This form is available online at my.Biola or via the Resources section of Inside Story Online and completed form along with all original receipts and remainder funds are turned in at the Cashier’s Office.
Normal approval guidelines, spending policies, receipt requirements, and tax-reporting requirements apply to a Cash Advance just like any other Purchasing or Reimbursement transactions. Please note that cash advances cannot be used to purchase cash equivalent items (i.e. gift cards or gift certificates), pay honorarium, lodging rentals, venue rentals, equipment rentals, advertising, catering, compensation of service of any kind (e.g. babysitting, cleaning service, performing arts, speaking engagements etc), or any commitment where a signed agreement or contract is required
When the Cash Advance Report is approved and processed by the Accounting Department, the department’s organization account will be charged for the actual expenditures and any applicable use tax adjustments. Should the total expenditures be more than the amount of the cash advance, the payee will be reimbursed for out-of-pocket business expenses that meet university’s as well as regulatory policies. If actual expenditures are less than the cash advance amount, the payee will reimburse Biola the excess amount in U.S. funds by cash or check. These funds are to be turned in along with the Cash Advance Report to the Biola Accounting Department.
General Reimbursement and Expenditure Guidelines
Expenditures and reimbursement requests must be approved and signed by an authorized signer of the department’s organization account. The signer may not be a participant of the expenditure and cannot approve his/her own request or expense. In other words, an authorized signer may not be a requestor at the same time. Also, authorized signers cannot approve expenditures for superiors or for someone with higher signing authority.
Some items require the area’s Vice President’s approval in addition to the normal departmental approval. All gift items (including departmental greeting cards or flowers to a non-Biola party) and all international travel or overseas transactions always require the area’s Vice President’s approval regardless of the dollar amount. Business meetings with food purchases (allowed maximum once a month) as well as payment issued to a non-Biola individual or entity (non-Biola employee or non-Biola student) requires the area’s Vice President’s approval when the amount is $100 or more.
Please note that a supervisor may or may not be an authorized signer for a particular department’s organization account. Please double check with Accounting or refer to the university’s Authorized Signatures List to find out the appropriate authorized signers for the organization account to which the expenditures are being charged.
In addition, most department chairs, deans, directors, or departmental budgetary signers are not authorized or legal university officers to sign on legal documents such as contracts or agreements on behalf of Biola University. Therefore, all contracts or agreements (i.e. rental agreement, catering contract, speaker, or performer agreement) must be submitted to Purchasing for approval routing.
When a book purchase is made, the Biola business purpose must be clearly documented. If the book is used for a course, the course name must be listed on the Reimbursement Requisition. For quantity purchases and Biola-authored books, please see the section under Purchasing: “Department Purchases and Biola-Authored Books.” Biola-authored books cannot be purchased by using university credit cards, by using university cash advance, or be reimbursed through Reimbursement Requisition. Transactions related to Biola-authored books must be requested and obtained through the Purchasing Department on a Purchase Requisition.
Business reasons for the book purchases must be clearly documented. If the book is for research or for a course, then the paper title or the course name must be listed on the Reimbursement Requisition. If the book is to be presented as a gift to an individual, the individual’s full name and business purpose must be disclosed. Please refer to the university’s Gift-Giving Policy, as gifts are generally taxable to the recipient. Gifts presented to Biola employees (staff, faculty, or student) may be recorded on the employees’ payroll and Form W2 as taxable benefit. When appropriate, departments should obtain a completed and signed Gift/Prize/Award Acknowledgement Form https://forms.biola.edu/accounting/gift-prize-award-acknowledgement from the recipient prior to giving out a prize or gift item. E-book purchases can be requested on a Purchase Requisition through Purchasing Department.
In order for an expenditure to be approved as non-taxable or to be eligible for reimbursement, the expenditure must reflect a clear Biola business purpose and be incurred by a Biola employee, whose presence is required for the Biola business stated. Any item that is considered a personal expense in nature will not be reimbursed, such as personal phone calls, toiletries, movies, spa services, upgrades, passes, club memberships, family companion expenditures, sightseeing, parking citations, lost or damaged luggages (even if the expenditure is incurred during a business trip or incurred as a staff group event).
Expenditures made on business trips that include expenses for accompanying family members or non-Biola business participants will be prorated or not be reimbursed. This requirement applies to all university expenditures, regardless of the source of funding (university budgeted dollars, grants, or agency funds). According to the IRS, business is generally not considered to be the main purpose when business and entertainment are combined on events such as hunting, fishing trips, on yacht or on other pleasure boats. IRS does not view nightclub, theater, sporting event, cocktail lounges, country clubs, golf clubs, athletic clubs, or vacation resorts to be a business setting. As a result, business meetings or business discussion held at these type of settings are considered only incidental to the entertainment and therefore not a deductible business expenditure.
Reimbursements to non-employees generally can only be granted to the extent of a clear Biola business purpose and business relationship. And a clear Biola business purpose and relationship are usually established with compensation, such as an honorarium to a guest speaker.
When a payee has an active direct deposit set up in the Accounts Payable system, payment issued from Accounts Payable is remitted by direct deposit by default. Please note that direct deposit set up for Payroll is separate and does not interact with Accounts Payable’s payment issuance process. In-house paper checks issued by Accounts Payable are mailed directly to the payees. Payments issued through Biola’s third party vendor (such vendor payments on PO’s) are sent directly from the third party vendor’s offsite location and according to the payment method set up with the third party vendor. In the interest of efficiency and best practice, special requests to deviate from the standard payment disposition procedures will only be granted under unusual circumstances and based on a case by case review.
In order for clothing to be exempt from taxation or from being reported as taxable income (taxable fringe benefit), IRS requires that the uniform be 1) specifically required as a condition of employment and 2) of a distinctive nature and not of an adaptable wear. Therefore, ordinary clothing or adaptable wear purchased for employees may be subject to taxable income reporting and/or taxation except in the cases of protective clothing for work. However, low-cost clothing and infrequent apparel purchases mandated by the university may be eligible to be classified as de minimis exclusion.
De Facto Expenditures
Items or expenditures that are paid for or obtained with non-cash items cannot be reimbursed. For example, business items obtained by using personal frequent flyer mileage, hotel points, credit card offers, credit card rewards, customer/membership reward points, personal store credit, or merchant/vendor voucher will not be reimbursed. In other words, expenditures will be reimbursed only to the extent of actual out-of-pocket amounts/expenses. The university will not pay for or reimburse the fair market value of the points or credits used.
Departments cannot purchase gift cards or gift certificates to be held for future business uses or purchases. Expenditures will be reimbursed and recorded only to the extent of actual occurrence or usage.
Expenditures cannot be reimbursed if the expenditures were incurred in lieu of payment or in exchange for a service or item received. For example, should a Biola employee decide to stay with a relative during an out-of-town business trip or to borrow a friend’s car, the Biola employee cannot submit other expenditures (such as buying a giftcard for the relative) for reimbursement in lieu of lodging or rental expenditure.
De Minimis Benefits
De minimis benefit is defined as any property or service provided to employees that has such a small value that accounting for it would be administratively impracticable and the administrative costs associated with accounting for it would be unreasonable. IRS considers both the item’s value and the frequency the employee receives it. IRS has ruled that $100 is not de minimis. Occasional is generally referred to as no more than once a month. According to the IRS, cash, gift cards, gift certificates, or other cash equivalents are never de minimis no matter how small the value is.
Departmental Meal Cards/Flex Points
In order for business meals to not be taxable, Biola must meet the requirements of an accountable plan, which means expenditures need to be accounted for and be substantiated with documentation. Otherwise, the IRS has ruled that non-accountable business reimbursements or expenditures are taxable and reportable as earnings. Therefore, departmental meal cards or flex dollars used on campus require internal documentation and usage tracking. The dates, participants, and Biola business purpose must be documented, kept in the department, and be made available for audit or upon request.
Any equipment, appliance, or furniture purchased, reimbursed, or paid for by the university is the university’s property. Such equipment or asset should be purchased through the Purchasing Department and be requested on a Purchase Requisition. Digital equipment should be registered by the university and should have an asset tag issued by IT. Digital equipment without asset tags is not eligible for reimbursement. IT approval is required prior to any digital or electronic purchases (i.e. computer, laptop, iPad, tablet, digital device, software, or app). Without IT’s and/or Purchasing’s approval, the purchase is considered a personal expenditure and is not eligible for reimbursement or payment by the university.
Fiscal Year End
Biola’s fiscal year end is June 30. In order to properly account for financial transactions and to close the book in a timely manner for the annual audit, there is an annual fiscal year end deadline for large purchases such as furniture, equipment, or other contingency items. Please refer to the Purchasing Department’s announcement for the deadline, which is usually around mid-May. Any item not approved and submitted to Purchasing by the deadline has no guarantee to be obtained or charged to the current fiscal year. Financial audit requirements also prevent the university from recording the purchase if the item is not received by June 30 or to record a current year’s purchase in a future fiscal year. Items purchased with personal funds, university cash advance, or university credit cards that violate the fiscal year end policies and/or deadline is considered personal expenses and is not eligible for reimbursement or university payment.
Fun Day/Staff Development Day
Departmental group activities or staff development events should not be extravagant and mileages incurred on personal vehicles during these type of events are not reimbursable business mileages. Due to liability and insurance concerns, departments cannot require or organize carpooling for departmental group events. Although individual employees or students may choose to carpool out of their own free will and at their own risk, please note that Biola’s insurance will not cover personal vehicles should an accident occur. All bodily injuries and damages claims will be filed against the driver’s automobile insurance.
Departmental activities should not exceed $30 per person in total cost or in value for both food and event/activity (including tax and gratuity). Group entertainment activities such as shows, manicure, spa, clubs, or amusement parks are not activities that can be funded by the university, whether the event is for staff, faculty, or student employees. The only exception allowed is when student run and student funded clubs plan their own excursions or club events with solely membership dues or fees collected to fund 100% of the activity costs.
Examples of approved team building activities include:
Sport activities—bowling, softball at the park, volleyball at the beach, Angels’ games, or miniature golf
Field trips—museum, nature center, old town, mission, or farm
Reasonable priced shared meal—affordable restaurant, catered meal, or cook off
Group competition—scavenger hunt, board games, office Olympics, or Amazing Race
Gifts, flowers, and greeting cards are considered personal expressions and are generally not reimbursable and should not be purchased with university funds. However, since Human Resources has discontinued its practice to send flowers for births and for condolences due to budget constraints, currently departments are allowed to purchase plant/flowers for births and condolences to be sent as a group expression. Other personal expressions such as flowers or cards for birthdays, congratulations, retirement, thank you, illnesses, or Hallmark holiday occasions are generally considered personal expenses even if they were ordered as a departmental or group expression.
Even gifts sponsored by a third party or given out as door prizes/raffles are generally taxable to the recipients and must follow the guidelines set forth in the Gift Giving Policy of the university. Unless the gift is eligible to be classified as de minimis, the fair market value of the gift is subject to be reported as taxable income to the recipient on a Form W2 or Form 1099-Misc. All gift items require the area’s Vice President approval regardless of the dollar amount. Due to the possible taxability and reporting requirement for gift(s), departments should obtain a completed and signed Gift/Prize/Award Acknowledgement Form https://forms.biola.edu/accounting/gift-prize-award-acknowledgement from the recipient prior to giving out the gift item.
The IRS only allows up to a maximum of $25 on business expense deduction for gifts given to business clients. Cash, gift card, or other cash equivalent items should not be given out as gifts, door prizes, or as raffles. If the gift recipient is a Biola student or a student employee, the gift related transaction or purchase (even if the item is small and/or is intended as a tolken of appreciation) must be pre-approved by both the area’s Vice President and the Senior Director of Human Resources because of the possible employment/payroll set up requirements for gift reporting.
Gift Cards and Gift Certificates
Gift cards or gift certificates of any amount are always treated as taxable income to the recipient according to the IRS’s regulations. There is no de minimis allowance for gift cards or gift certificates. Therefore, the recipient’s tax reporting information is always required for all gift card/gift certificate expenditures. Due to the taxability and reporting requirement, the university discourages gift card distribution, even when the gift card/gift certificate is used as a token of appreciation or as a prize. Even gift cards or cash equivalent items (such as Chick-Fil-A meal card) sponsored by a third party are generally taxable and reportable to the recipients.
If a giftcard or gift certificate must be used for a Biola business transaction, then the tax reporting information and documentation must be obtained prior to distribution. An U.S. recipient needs to fill out and sign a Form W9 as well as a Gift/Prize/Award Acknowledgement Form https://forms.biola.edu/accounting/gift-prize-award-acknowledgement. A non-U.S. recipient will need to fill out and sign a Form W-8BEN (for individuals) or Form W-8BEN-E (for entities). Applicable federal and state taxes apply to taxable income items. If the recipient is a Biola employee or is employed by the university during the year, the amount must be reported on the recipient’s Biola Form W2.
Please note that gift cards or gift certificates cannot be purchased or reimbursed ahead of time for future Biola business expenditures. If the gift card/gift certificate recipient is a Biola student employee, the transaction/purchase must be pre-approved by both the area’s Vice President and the Senior Director of Human Resources due to the possible employment/payroll set up requirements for reporting.
Biola covers reasonable and customary tips and gratuities (i.e. restaurants, shuttles, or taxi). Gratuities or tips for meals or food is capped at a maximum 18% of the meal costs (excluding tax or fees). Even though employees may tip more than 18%, any fee, charge, or gratuity beyond the 18% cap of the expenditure is considered a personal out-of-pocket expense and the excess amount will not be reimbursed. Some establishments have mandatory group gratuity or service fees for a large party and in those cases, the mandated gratuity charged with the meals is eligible for reimbursement with proof of the establishment’s policies.
Hotel or overnight stay arrangements should be made through the Purchasing Department on a Purchase Requisition. In the event that an employee must be reimbursed for lodging, the IRS requires that an itemized report (i.e. hotel portfolio report) be submitted to show the itemized expenditures. And the prepaid expenditure is not eligible for reimbursement until the expenditure has actually occurred (at the conclusion of the hotel stay or lodging). Items that are considered personal expenses, such as in-room movies, room service, laundry service, or fees charged for use of the hotel gym, sauna facilities, or swimming pool will not be reimbursed. Employees will be required to reimburse the university if such expenses have been paid by the university.
Generally, room service is not considered appropriate business meal option when employees travel for business purposes. However, the university understands that there are situations that would warrant exceptions for room services. For example, if the employee arrives at the destination hotel late at night, it would not be reasonable for the university to expect the employee to be able to find other dining options.
In addition, tax reporting information is required for all rentals (i.e. lodging rental or venue rental). Therefore, please make sure that the tax reporting information (complete legal name, address, and social security number or tax ID) is obtained from the owner, management company, or the business on a signed Form W9. Otherwise, the reimbursement cannot be processed and the expenditure will be reported as taxable income to the person incurring the lodging rental expense.
Most venues or privately owned rentals require signed contracts or agreements. At the departmental level, most authorized signers are not legal signers who can sign contracts, agreements, or waivers on behalf of Biola University. Therefore, reservations or bookings with contract requirements should always be requested and processed through Purchasing. Otherwise, employees or individuals signing the contracts are at risk of assuming personal liabilities and possible lawsuits even though the contracts may be for a Biola sponsored event.
In order for meal reimbursements to be excluded from employees’ wages and not to be treated as taxable fringe benefits, the meal transaction must meet the IRS’ regulations for travel meal listed in IRS Publication 463. To meet the IRS’ requirements, meals are treated as travel meals when employees need to travel substantially longer than an ordinary day’s work (over 50 miles radius travel outside of the individual’s metropolitan area), require substantial sleep (overnight stay), and submit receipts or provide substantiation for the expenses. As a result, single day meal expenses are not eligible for reimbursement. If reimbursed or paid by Biola, the expenditure or reimbursement to employee for local travel is treated and reported as taxable income.
However, an occasional local meal may qualify as a reimbursable de minimis expenditure if it has a clear business purpose and is considered ordinary and necessary. A performance review, project debrief, birthday celebration, new employee welcome, or fellow colleague farewell, for example, is usually not considered a valid Biola business reason to have a business meal. In order to meet the IRS’ definition of de minimis, the meal must be occasional or infrequent and is provided for the employer’s benefits (such as for or to allow overtime work). No meals or food should be provided for the same group or for the same person within the department more than once a month. The maximum once a month departmental meal or gathering with food is intended for bona fide Biola business purposes. Departments should not use the once a month allowance for social events such as birthday celebrations. Meeting over meal with bona fide Biola business can be reimbursed up to a maximum of $25 per person (including tax and gratuity) and up to once a month with Department Chair’s or Dean’s approval. If the meal is $100 or more, the area’s vice president approval is also required.
For employees who have occasional local travel such as local conferences or seminars, employees may request meal reimbursements that occur during the duration of the event, subject to budgetary and departmental approval. Breakfast and dinner, however, generally are not reimbursable because they usually occur before and/or after the local business event.
While on overnight business travel more than 50 miles away, employees may be reimbursed for the actual costs of the meals, snacks, or non-alcoholic beverages up to a maximum of $50 per day (approximately $10 for breakfast, $15 for lunch, and $25 for dinner) if the meal has a clear Biola business purpose, qualifies as de minimis, and can be substantiated with original itemized receipts. In the interest of financial stewardship, room service is only approved in the rare occasions when other eating options or choices are not available.
Meals are not reimbursable if an employee goes off site to pick up or purchase items on behalf of Biola University or during an errand trip. If an employee goes off site to attend a live stream conference or broadcast, the meal incurred is not reimbursable as a business expense unless the off site location is a designated live stream facility hosted by the conference. The idea of a live stream is to be able to get the information at the office without physical attendance at the conference. If noise or distraction is an issue at the office, employees are encouraged to utilize conference rooms or meeting rooms available on campus.
Only actual costs of meals incurred during university-related business trips or meetings will be considered for reimbursements. Original itemized receipts must be submitted regardless of payment method (i.e. personal funds, university credit card, or university cash advance). Please clearly document the Biola business purpose on expense report paperwork or on university credit card ComData online. Please submit original, itemized receipt, and proof of payment. If the meal receipt includes items for another person other than the person requesting the reimbursement, all the participant’s full names and business purpose must be documented. Please note that an authorized approver who is also a participant of the expenditure cannot approve the expenditure or expense.
If any of the listed individuals or participants is a spouse, family member, or travel companion of a Biola employee, that portion is considered personal expenditure and will not be covered or reimbursed as an university expense. The only exception is allowed when the spousal presence is required, meets the substantial Biola business duty criteria, and is pre-approved by the University’s Budget Office, the VP of University Operations & Financial Affairs, and the area’s vice president in writing. In such cases, when the spouse’s function is crucial and significant to the university business purpose, the value of the spousal portion will be covered by the university. Otherwise, it will be reported as taxable income to the employee if paid by the university. Any meal receipts including non-Biola business participants will otherwise be prorated accordingly.
Although the university reimburses or covers up to a maximum of $50 per day for eligible travel business meals, the $50/day subsidy cap is not intended for any given meal per day but as a cap for the entire day’s sum total. While the employees may consume more than $50 per day, the amount that exceeds the $50 cap is considered a personal expense. However, any meal receipt or purchase that is considered lavish, extravagant, outside of Biola’s codes of conduct, or contains non-Biola business element is not eligible to be reimbursed or be recorded as a business expense even if the dollar amount is within the university daily meal cap. For example, a $50 cheese platter appetizer would be considered extravagant and not eligible for reimbursement even though it is within the $50 cap.
Alcoholic purchases are not reimbursable, even in the cases when they are purchased for Biola guests or as gifts. Refreshments, coffee, drinks, or meals between two or more employees on campus or off campus are generally considered personal expenses, even when business topics are discussed over the meals or during the meeting. Occasional business meetings (no more than once a month) or with other small food expenditures (donuts or snacks), however, may be eligible to be qualified as de minimis per IRS Publication 15-B guidelines and may be approved at departmental dean’s, chair’s, or director’s discretion.
Events involving faculty, staff, students, or university guests in which a substantial purpose of the event is social or personal celebration in nature are considered personal expenses and are not reimbursable (e.g. birthday celebrations, bridal showers, baby showers, employee graduation, promotion, welcome, or farewell). Occasional departmental fun day and/or departmental Christmas celebrations may be organized once a year, but the cost of such meals should not exceed $25 per person in cost or in value. The cost of food and activity combined should not exceed $30 per person in cost or in value.
If a department hosts an event for university students and the event has more than 75% of student attendance or participation, then the event is considered an event for university students’ benefits and therefore constitutes an exception to the once a month restriction. However, this exception does not apply to departmental events or fun day events that include the department’s student employees. Academic groups are allowed to host events for students up to twice per semester per class, provided that the events meet the 75% student attendance requirement.
When using your personal vehicle for Biola business, authorized business-use mileage can be reimbursed through a Reimbursement Requisition form. However, Biola’s insurance does not cover personal vehicles even when employees drive for business purposes.
The Internal Revenue Service business mileage rate for the 2018 calendar year (which Biola uses) is 54.5 cents per mile. The mileage rate, however, is lower for volunteers or for qualified moving mileage expenses. Please refer to the current published IRS mileage rates.
2018 Standard Mileage Rates
The standard mileage rate for transportation or travel expenses is 54.5 cents per mile for all mikes of business use (business standard mileage rate). See section 4 of Rev. Proc. 2010-51.
The standard rate os 14 cents per mile for use of an automibile rendering gratuitous services to a charitable organization under § 170. See section 5 of Rev. Prc. 2010-51.
The standard mileage rate is 18 cents per mile for use of automobile (1) for medical care described in § 213, or (2) as part of a move for which the expenses are deductible under § 217. See section 5 of Rev. Proc. 2010-51.
In order for the mileage reimbursement to be approved and processed, 1) the Biola business reason or purpose must be clearly stated and 2) the mileage calculation must be acceptable by the IRS’s guidelines. Hence, mileage reimbursement requests for things such as commutes, outings, departmental fun days, Christmas parties, or other social functions are not eligible for reimbursements. Any driving that is considered commute (even if it’s on a weekend or when an employee is not scheduled for work) is not reimbursable.
Please itemize each destination and provide the actual beginning and ending odometer readings. Please note that the odometer reading is the accumulative running mileage number of the vehicle, not the trip distance calculator that can be reset for individual trips. If the odometer readings are not available, please attach a printout of online driving directions to substantiate the miles traveled.
Employees are expected to choose the most economic method for business travel. However, long distance driving may be allowed for business purposes if requested and approved by Purchasing ahead of time. Exceptions will not be granted without a valid Biola business reason or to simply allow the employee to bring travel companions for the trip. Please note that mileage reimbursement amount for long distance driving is generally limited to the lesser of the actual mileage reimbursement or a reasonable airfare plus standard rental car rate pre-quoted by Purchasing. Therefore, prior to the trip, a written quote or e-mail from the Purchasing Department for the airfare plus standard rental car cost must be obtained and be submitted with the Reimbursement Requisition. The equivalent airfare price plus standard rental car quote usually does not include other incidental charges or possible expenditures such as parking or gas. Purchasing will calculate and quote the reasonable reimbursement amount based on a case by case review.
Mileage reimbursement is normally calculated from Biola’s physical address unless the actual mileage from the departure point to the business destination is shorter. Detailed and itemized location details and stops must be provided on the reimbursement request. The IRS considers the mileage from an employee’s home to the office as regular commuting miles and not reimbursable even if an employee has to drive on a weekend, during holiday, or on a day when the employee is not scheduled to work. So the commute miles should always be subtracted from the mileage reimbursement calculation.
Sometimes a department may have a pre-agreed amount with the driver that is less than the actual calculated mileage amount, but in these cases detailed documentation is still required. If the gas receipt amount or the agreed upon amount is smaller, documentation still needs to provide the odometer readings or the online driving directions print-out to show calculations and to prove that actual mileage reimbursement calculation would have been greater. All mileage reimbursements are capped at the maximum allowed by the IRS.
When personal vehicles are used, the liability is assumed by the driver’s or vehicle owner’s personal insurance policies. Biola’s insurance will not cover even when employees or individuals drive for Biola business reasons. Therefore, departments cannot require carpooling and cannot organize carpooling. Students (or student employees), in particular, should never be asked or be allowed to serve as chauffeurs or airport pick ups because most students lack financial resources and sufficient insurance coverage to cover bodily injuries or vehicle damages should an accident happen. While individuals may choose to carpool out of their own free will and at their own risks, the university will not allow mileage reimbursements to non-employees or students for carpooling even if they drive for an university sponsored event or class field trips. Departments are encouraged to contract transportation services or rent vehicles through Purchasing for departmental or class events.
If gas is purchased for a rental car, the receipt can be used to request reimbursement. Please specify that the gas purchase is for a rental car. Please note that a rental car is not a borrowed vehicle from an individual. In order to qualify as a rental car, the vehicle must be rented from a rental car company.
If an employee is being dropped off and/or being picked up from the airport for business travel, up to one round trip on departure day and one round trip on arrival day may be claimed for mileage reimbursement. However, an employee may not ask a student employee to work and serve as a personal chauffer for airport or event pick up or drop off.
Under the old tax law, certain moving expenses that meet the time test, distance test, and in an accountable plan are deductible and eligible for reimbursement pursuant to the IRS’ Publication 521. However, under the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, moving expenses are no longer excludable or deductible. Therefore, any moving expense, if paid for or reimbursed by the university, is taxable income and is reportable in payroll and on the employees’ Form W2. This tax reform change goes into effect starting on January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2025.
All expenses reported (cash advance or reimbursement requisitions) must be accompanied by an original, itemized payment receipt or supporting documentation. Failure to provide such documentation will result in denial of reimbursement and/or recording the expenditures as taxable income items.
In order for a reimbursement or a business expenditure to be non-taxable, the expense must be substantiated according to the IRS’ accountable plan requirements. Original, itemized receipts must be submitted regardless of payment method (personal funds, personal credit card, university cash advance, or university credit card). Receipts or supporting documentation must contain both 1) the proof of payment and 2) proof of purchase. Some vendors provide the order details separately from the payment confirmation. Therefore, sometimes employees may be requested to provide multiple documentation in order to meet both the purchase and payment components. If receipt is lost or cannot be obtained, the employee is expected to provide other documentation to substantiate the expenditure. Only after other options or replacement receipts have been exhausted, a Declaration of Missing Receipt with the departmental supervisor’s approval may be attached to appropriate report or form as documentation. The Missing Receipt Declaration Form can be downloaded from https://forms.biola.edu/accounting/missing-receipt-declaration.
Any missing receipt item in the amount of $75 or more, if reimbursed or paid for by the university, is treated and is reported as taxable income. Such non-accountable reimbursement is added and reported to the employee’s payroll. Should the recipient be a non-Biola employee (including vendors or independent contractors), such non-accountable reimbursement is treated as taxable compensation, is subject to applicable tax withholdings, and is reportable to applicable authorities and/or on tax forms (i.e. Form 1099-Misc).
Expenditures incurred around Biola’s fiscal year end (June 30) may require additional documentation (i.e. packaging slip) to prove that the item purchased has been received by Biola University by June 30). Without proof of delivery or receipt of the item, the expenditure cannot be recorded in the ending fiscal year even though the item may have been paid already.
Reimbursement/Expense Report Submission Timeline
The IRS says business expense reimbursement requests should be made within a reasonable amount of time. Therefore, any reimbursement request or cash advance expense report for items more than 30 days old is processed and reported as taxable income to the person receiving the reimbursement or cash advance. Expenditures related to or dated for a prior fiscal year will not be processed or posted to the department’s prior fiscal year budget during the subsequent fiscal year after the book is closed. Items that are paid for or ordered but not yet received by Biola’s fiscal year end on June 30 will not be recorded on Biola’s book as that fiscal year’s business expense. Expenditures incurred around Biola’s fiscal year end June 30 may require additional documentation (i.e. packaging slip) showing that the item purchased has been received by Biola University by June 30.
Employees should go through Purchasing to make advanced travel arrangements or prepaid expenses. In the event that employees must be reimbursed or choose to make their own bookings for business travel, please note that the expenditures will not be reimbursed until the conclusion of the event and any late fee or finance charges that are incurred on personal credit cards are personal expenses.
In general, the State of California requires Biola University to pay sales tax at the current Los Angeles County/La Mirada sales tax rate (whichever is higher). Therefore, when a vendor does not charge a sales tax, does not itemize the sales tax amount on the invoice, or when a vendor charges a sales tax that is lower than that of the Los Angeles County or La Mirada sales tax rate (whichever is higher), the department incurring the business expense will be charged the difference between the actual sales tax paid and the current Los Angeles County or La Mirada sales tax rate. The difference will be remitted to the State of California as use tax. The reimbursement requestor, however, will only be reimbursed to the extent of actual out-of-pocket expenses (the cost of the item and the actual sales tax paid). Please contact the Accounting Department for current sales tax rate. The California Board of Equalization does not consider language such as “sales tax inclusive” on the invoice as sufficient documentation or proof for sales tax charged or paid.
Spousal Travel or Participation
Generally spousal travel or spousal participation is considered personal expenditure and ordinarily occurs at the employee’s personal expense. In limited circumstances where the spousal accompaniment or participation is crucial and essential to the university’s business purpose, the pre-approved spousal portion may be covered by the university but generally will be reported as the employee’s taxable earnings with relevant taxes to be withheld from the employee’s paycheck. Such travel requests must be pre-approved by the area’s vice president, the Budget Office, and the Vice President of University Operations & Finance.
The IRS has ruled that spousal travel is taxable unless the accompanying spouse has significant role and necessary duties for the business trip (IRS Publication 525). The IRS does not consider a beneficial presence to be a bona fide business purpose. So spousal travel cannot be tax free for routine activities such as:
Spouse is expected to attend to entertain or to promote goodwill or support for the university.
Spouse performs duties that are of clerical, secretarial, or chaperoning nature.
Taxation and Tax Withholding Requirements
The IRS and state/local authorities mandate taxation and tax withholding on compensation and taxable income items. Biola employees are subject to payroll taxes and tax-withholdings according to current tax rates. Generally, the IRS tax-withholding rate on foreign person/entity is 30% for U.S. sourced income and the California tax-withholding rate is 7% on non-California person/entity for California sourced income pursuant to California Revenue and Taxable Code Section 18662. Although the IRS and/or the State of California offer some exceptions and exemptions, the recipients (Biola employees or non-Biola payees) are responsible for all tax liabilities. As a result, Biola must collect tax reporting information on proper forms and withhold applicable taxes upon payment issuance. The university does not routinely calculate or authorize additional gross up as an individual’s or an entity’s financial situation and/or tax bracket is confidential information and may vary throughout the year. Please offer and agree on an appropriate compensation amount with expected taxes and tax-withholding requirements in mind.
Tax Identification Certification
Before payment can be issued to vendors or any individual/entity, proper forms must be completed and signed by the payee. Form W9 is required for all U.S. payees (individuals or entities). In addition, if the payee is a non-California person or entity, Form 590 is required for tax withholding exemption. Form W8-BEN is required of a non-U.S. person, and Form W8-BEN-E is required of a non-U.S. entity. In order to claim treaty benefit to waive tax withholding requirement, a non-US payee must have a valid U.S. Social Security Number and submit a Form 8233 ahead of time to obtain the IRS' approval. The IRS requires a minimum of 10 days as waiting period for Form 8233 submission.
Taxable Fringe Benefits
Cash fringe benefits, such as gift cards and gift certificates, are always taxable regardless of dollar amount. Internal Revenue Code Section 132(a)(4) provides that reportable taxable income excludes fringe benefit that qualifies as a de minimis fringe benefit. De minimis is not determined by monetary value but is defined in Section 132(e)(1) as “any property or service the value of which is so small as to make accounting for it unreasonably or administratively impracticable.” The determination of whether an item is de minimis must also take into account the frequency with which similar fringe benefits are provided to employees.
Some non-cash fringe benefits are not excludable under the de minimis provision and are taxable per IRS regulation and are subject to taxation and tax reporting. Some examples for such taxable fringe benefits include general apparel purchase or allowance, university provided vehicle, club membership, season or event tickets to sporting or theatrical events, tuition assistance, usage at employer-owned or leased facilities, or third party provided benefits.
Business use of a personal telephone may be reimbursed provided the business purpose and individual’s name, time of call, and out-of-pocket expense is fully and clearly documented for each call. Business use on employees’ personal cellular phones does not automatically warrant a mobile stipend. For information on the use of one’s mobile telecommunications device for business purposes and how to apply for a taxable mobile stipend, please refer to Biola’s Mobile Communication Expense Policy. Mobile Stipends Application has to be renewed and is subject to approval annually.
Travel Log and Risk Management Forms
Insurance policies and procedures have various requirements before Biola’s insurance will take effect, even when students or employees participate in a Biola sponsored event or trip. Therefore, before a student or employee travels or before a non-Biola person (i.e. guest speaker or guest artist) comes on campus, please double check with Risk Management ahead of time for paperwork that needs to be filled out and/or signed.
University Corporate Credit Cards
University corporate credit card is a privilege extended to employees who have to frequently travel or to host guests on behalf of the university. The corporate credit card cannot be used to purchase items that are not reimbursable business expenses, to go around university policies, or to obtain items that should be requested on a Purchase Requisition through Purchasing. Fraudulent or intentional misuse of the credit card will result in disciplinary action, reimbursement to the university, and/or credit card termination. It is the cardholder’s responsibility to obtain itemized receipts, review monthly activities, and to submit transactions for approval in a timely manner. Failure to adhere to the monthly submission deadlines may result in termination of the corporate credit card privileges.
Travel or transit arrangements incurred or reimbursed by the university are expected to be conducted by the most economical method. Generally, for Biola employees or non-Biola employees, additional fees such as early check in, early boarding, price protection, comfort seat, extra leg room, in flight calls, in flight movies, in flight game rentals, on demand purchases, internet connection, extra checked bag, extra carryon bags, travel insurance, baggage insurance, booking agent fees, or other upgrades of any kind is not covered by the university. For rental vehicles, upgrades or add ons such as a larger size vehicle, XM Radio, and GPS are generally considered personal expenditures. Exceptions must be pre-approved by Purchasing and exceptions are granted or denied based on a case by case review by the Director of Purchasing. The university also will not pay or reimburse for credit voucher, frequent flyer mileage, reward points, or orders obtained by any non-cash equivalent items. However, special accommodations required by medical condition, health reasons, or disabilities may be requested ahead of time with Purchasing’s approval. Other exceptions (such as for special circumstances) may be allowed with prior approval from the Director of Purchasing.
Club or Warehouse Membership and Other Fees
Personally purchased club or warehouse memberships are not reimbursable. Only membership at the least costly option with pre-approved Biola business purposes requested through Purchasing will be paid by the university. Memberships or fees required to attend business conferences, seminars, or workshops are reimbursable with proper tax reporting information of the organizing entity on a signed Form W9 or equivalent.
As a convenience to the community, check cashing up to a maximum of $200 per person per day is available at the University Cashier Window. This service is only available to current Biola students and current Biola employees. Valid and current Biola ID card must be presented at the window.
The Cashier Window is open from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, during normal business days when school is in session. The Cashier Window is closed for one hour for lunch when school is not in session. On University Short Fridays, the Cashier Window has modified window hours.
Please note that the Cashier cannot cash a third party check or a check that is made payable to the Biola employee or a Biola student along with someone else (i.e. a parent or a spouse). The check must be made payable to “Cash” or to the Biola employee or Biola student cashing the check at the window. The person cashing the check must be present at the Cashier Window. In other words, no one can send another person with the check and the Biola ID card to cash a check. Employees or students will be charged $25 for each check returned to Biola by the bank for any reason (even if the check is issued by someone else or from another entity). The Cashier’s Office reserves the right to revoke check cashing privilege.
Accepting Credit Cards for Payments/Donations to Biola University
Biola University is subject to and must be compliant to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). PCI DSS applies to organization of any size that accepts credit card payment, stores, and transmits cardholder data. In order to be compliant, Biola must make sure that cardholder data are secure and that all the equipment meets standards. Therefore, it is very important that departments do not store cardholder information, purchases its own credit card equipment/device (i.e. Square Credit Card Reader), or accept payment via other third party vendors, software, or apps (i.e. PayPal or Zelle). Please contact the Accounting Department if you need to set up an online payment web page or to accept credit card payments.
Please be aware that accepting credit card payments over the telephone or by mail/email may be a risk, since there is no way to verify the payment will be received until the credit card payment is processed. The card number given over the phone may be stolen or may have already passed its limit. Also, since the cardholder is not present, there is no way to verify the identification of the customer. In the event that a department accepts a stolen credit card, the full amount will be charged back to the originating department. Therefore, please use discretion when accepting credit card payments over the phone.
Please note that your department is responsible for preparing Journal Receipts for all credit card transactions. Please make sure that credit card transactions are not mingled with other cash or check deposits on the same Journal Receipt form.
Journal Receipt (JR)
A Journal Receipt is to be used as documentation of funds credited via check, cash, or credit card to Biola University. The fillable Journal Receipt form is available for download on Inside Story at http://inside.biola.edu/resources/category/accounting/.
Please note that the Professional version of the Adobe Acrobat software/license is required in order to save the data when using the fillable Journal Receipt form. If you are using the fillable version, please print two copies of the Journal Receipt form to be submitted with your deposit.
During the data entry process, the Journal Receipt date cannot be backdated or manipulated. The actual data entry and posting date is the date that will appear on the general ledger. Therefore, it is very important that deposits are turned in to the University Cashier promptly, particularly during month-end and fiscal year-end.
Please submit the Journal Receipt deposits in person to the University Cashier and obtain a receipt copy during regular cashier hours. Please do not send deposit items through house mail, leave them at the Accounting front desk, or place them in the depository near the Cashier’s Office, as they will not be processed. Cash items must be verified in person before they can be accepted or processed.
In general, the funds should be credited to a Biola department’s income account. If the funds represent a reimbursement to Biola, then the funds should be credited to the original expense account from which the original disbursement was made. The detail code to credit (C) the department is MISC. The description field is limited to 30 spaces and characters and special symbols or characters (such as , . / - # &) cannot be used in the description. The description field dictates the actual description appearing on department general ledger details. So please refrain from using overly simplified or generic descriptions such as “deposit,” “sales,” or “check.” Please select a description that is helpful to the users. For example, if the deposit represents a refund from a conference hotel, use description such as “Sheraton Miami Conf Refund.”
You may itemize your individual checks with different descriptions on each line (line 1-4) or you may combine all of your checks in one lump sum deposit. If your deposit requires more than four itemizations, please use additional and separate Journal Receipt forms. If you itemize your checks, you can use the Payment Number field to reference the check number. Otherwise, the Payment Number field can be left blank. Please note that the Payment Number is for reference only and cannot be used as a searchable field. The Fund, Organization, and Account fields are required and if filled out correctly, the IFAS# and Program fields are not required and will auto populate during the data entry process.
Deposits for merchandise sales (e.g. T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, CDs, or tapes) require appropriate sales tax amount to be remitted to the State of California. Please contact the Accounting Department with any questions about the sales tax or use tax.
There are five categories of Journal Receipt forms:
Journal Receipt for Check Deposits
Journal Receipt for Cash Deposits
Journal Receipt for Credit Card Deposits
Journal Receipt for Credit Card Refund
Journal Receipt for Department Credit Card Deposits
Journal Receipt for Check Deposits
Each Journal Receipt, deposit cannot have more than 50 checks. All checks must be made payable to Biola University, in U.S. currency, and be drawn on a U.S. bank. Foreign bank draft cannot be submitted to the bank as a regular deposit. On the face of each check, please indicate the Biola Banner Fund, Organization, and Account to which the payment is being applied.
If the bank returns a check from the Journal Receipt deposit, the department that originated the deposit will be charged a returned check fee for each returned item (currently $25 per item). Please keep in mind that all checks must be deposited within one month of the check’s origination date.
Journal Receipt for Cash Deposits
Currency and coins can be deposited by using a Journal Receipt for Cash Deposit. Each Journal Receipt cannot exceed $10,000 in cash or ten rolls of coins.
Journal Receipt for Credit Card Deposits
With prior approval by the Accounting Department, deposits may be made with credit card information to be processed by the University Cashier. Credit card fees related to these transactions will be charged to the departmental Banner fund and Banner organization. Departments will be responsible to answer and to respond to any questions or disputes that arise from the credit card transactions.
Please limit these credit card items to fifteen (15) per Journal Receipt. Due to the offset entries, the deposit totals for a credit card Journal Receipt deposit will always be zero. The accounting string to be charged (D) is the university’s credit card fund, organization, account, and the accounting string to be credited (C) is the departmental fund, organization, and account.
Journal Receipt for Credit Card Refund
In the event that a credit card refund needs to be issued, please submit the request on a Journal Receipt for Credit Card Refund. Credit card fees related to these transactions will be charged to the departmental Banner fund and Banner organization.
The accounting string to be charged (D) is the departmental fund, organization, and account, the accounting string to be credited (C) is the university’s credit card fund, organization, and account.
Please note that if the university initially receives a payment via credit card, then a subsequent refund must be processed to the same credit card initially charged. A reimbursement check or cash refund cannot be issued for credit card payments.
Journal Receipt for Department Credit Card Deposits
Departments which have their own credit card machines and process their own credit card transactions should use the Journal Receipt for Department Credit Card Deposits to record funds received from credit cards and to process credit card refunds. The credit card machines must be settled at the end of each business day and each Journal Receipt form must have that day’s settlement report.
In general, the accounting string to be charged (D) is the university’s credit card fund, organization, and account, the accounting string to be credited (C) is the departmental fund, organization, and account unless there is a negative settlement in the credit cards total for the day.
The Journal Voucher form can be used to record:
transfer or correction of a charge or an expense from one Biola department to another Biola department,
transfer or correction of a charge or an expense from one category to another category within the same Biola department, or
The Journal Voucher form should be printed on legal-sized paper (preferably yellow) and must bear the approval signature of an authorized signer of the Biola departmental account being charged. All backup paperwork and documentation should be attached to the Journal Voucher. All Journal Vouchers must be turned in to the Accounting Department by the last business day of the month and are subject to the Accounting Department’s approval prior to postings submitted to the general ledger. Please note that Journal Entry (JE) forms are no longer used; please make all entries on the Journal Voucher form.