Cell Phone/Wireless Communication Devices: FAQs

Related: Telecommunications Directives & Procedures

How do I determine an appropriate amount to be paid as an equipment purchase reimbursement as well as monthly service reimbursement?
Significant discretion was left with the department heads regarding the amount of the cell phone reimbursements. However, the amount of the reimbursements, as well as the need for the business use of a cell phone or other wireless device must be reasonable and appropriately justified and documented. If an employee currently receives a University provided cell phone or other wireless device, the current cost may be a good basis for the reimbursement. The actual cost of new equipment devices would be an appropriate basis for an equipment purchase reimbursement.
Do we still have the option of providing faculty and staff with University provided cell phones or other wireless devices?
Yes. The new directive does not eliminate this option, but recognizes the need to document the usage to eliminate tax and other audit concerns. The reimbursement method was devised as an alternative to minimize the record keeping that faculty and staff, as well as the department have to do.
If cell phones or other wireless devices are checked out by faculty and staff or are required to be left at the office after hours is the cell phone usage still required to be documented?
If we wish to convert to the reimbursement method to eliminate the record keeping requirements for University provided cell phones may we continue to use the University equipment, but convert the service agreement to the name of the faculty or staff member?
Yes, however the cell phone or other wireless device will continue to be the property of the University until it is returned. An equipment purchase reimbursement may not be granted if a University provided device is being used.
Has the University leveraged its buying power to allow employees to purchase equipment and service plans at the best available pricing?
Yes, please see the UF Purchasing web site.
My department has special cell phone requirements making it difficult to implement this new directive. Is there someone I can contact to look into my circumstances and offer assistance?
Yes, names and telephone numbers of appropriate individuals have been included in the DDD announcing the issuance of this new directive or you can call the main Controller's Office telephone number at 392-1321.
Where may I find IRS information on employee use of cell phones?
The IRS has employee cell phone information on its web site.
If my department were to only give employees a minimal purchase and service reimbursement would we still need to document how we arrived at the amount of the reimbursement?
Yes, however, expect larger payments to receive closer scrutiny.
Do we have to input the monthly reimbursement into disbursements monthly?
No, the monthly service reimbursement will only need to be entered annually each fiscal year.
If Option 2 is selected, do I have to log all incoming and outgoing calls?
No, pursuant to the IRS Notice 2011-71.
If my department provides reimbursements under Option 1, can my department specify the provider and/or type of equipment that is to be acquired?
Yes, the primary purpose for providing employees with cell phones or cell phone reimbursements is to meet the needs of the department. If department needs are better met by a specific provider then the department can make that a requirement for receiving the reimbursement.
Is the documentation to be maintained in the department and if so, how long are they required to be kept.
Yes, departments are responsible for maintaining the documentation in accordance with the University's record keeping retention requirements.
How does the department address a situation where an employee traveling with personal cell phone on UF business wants reimbursement for minutes used conducting UF business? The minutes used did not cause the employee to exceed their monthly minute plan. What does the department do if the employee wants reimbursement for a percent of their personal bill?
The University can only reimburse the employee for additional documented costs incurred by the employee in making such calls. In such cases where the monthly minute plan is not exceeded no reimbursement is due. By the same token, when a University phone is used to make a personal call, no reimbursement is due from the employee if the University's minute plan is not exceeded.
If an employee leaves the University after receiving an equipment purchase reimbursement does the employee need to return the device or reimburse the University for a portion of such amount paid?
Once the purchase reimbursement is given for an employee to purchase a device, the device remains the property of the employee. However, the department should discontinue payment of the monthly service reimbursement immediately upon termination.
Does this directive apply to the "walkie talkie" feature of certain cell phone providers?
No. Calls using the "walkie talkie" feature are not subject to the documention requirement for cell phone calls on University owned phones.
Does the cell phone directive apply to contracts that have already been entered into before the cell phone policy was released?
According to the directive the department has 30 days to have employees review cell phone statements and reimburse the University for personal calls. Does the review and reimbursement have to occur before the cell phone bill is paid?
Are cell phone reimbursements to be paid from "salary" dollars or "expense" dollars?
Since both the purchase reimbursement and monthly reimbursements are paid through Disbursements, these would be paid from expense dollars.
Can the internet access charges of hand held PDA devices be paid by the University and the employee receive an reimbursement for the cell phone portion for their business use of their PDA?
Yes, if the cell phone provider is able to separate the statement and bill the University direct for the internet access portion and bill the employee for the cell phone portion. Some providers can do this and others cannot. No log or record is required for the internet access use, but it is expected that the primary purpose is for business use.
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