Official occasions

Definition and allowed expenses

An “official occasion” is defined as a reception, luncheon, dinner or similar event that is sponsored and funded by The University of Texas at Austin and is often hosted by an administrative officer. See Part 9.1.1 of the Handbook of Business Procedures.

Does your event qualify? What expenses are allowed? See the Entertainment and Official Occasion Expenditure Policy Chart.

How to request Steve Hicks School funds

  1. Request approval from the Dean’s Office prior to the event. Make sure to submit a budget and copy the chief business officer in your email.
  2. Once approval is obtained, complete and submit an Official Occasion Expense Form. Follow the form’s instructions to submit
  3. Itemized receipts are required for all reimbursements and payments.
  4. PROCards can be used to purchase some food and beverage items at HEB/Central Market stores.
  5. Serving alcohol: see Part 9.1.1 of the Handbook of Business Procedures.

Donations

Donations are not allowed from any accounting sources at The University of Texas at Austin.

Co-sponsorships

A co-sponsorship is defined as “a specific event where The University of Texas at Austin receives a benefit as well as recognition for the co-sponsorship.” See Part 9.1.1.0 of the Handbook of Business Procedures.
To get a request processed, the outside organization must provide a formal request on letterhead including the following information:

  1. Amount of co-sponsorship
  2. How funds will be used (purpose)
  3. The benefit of the co-sponsorship to The University of Texas
  4. A statement of how the university will receive recognition.

Purchasing

Purchasing 101

  • All purchases must be pre-approved by the dean or principal investigators if using grant funds.
  • Purchases of work-related items with personal funds are not allowable by university standard purchasing procedures.
  • Notify the dean’s office if you need to purchase office supplies or furniture.

State sales tax exemption

The University of Texas at Austin is a tax-exempt entity. Make sure that your purchase is not charged tax.

If the vendor request it, present State Sales Tax Exemption Certificate. PLEASE NOTE: to find and download the correct document, enter 01-339 in the “Find” field. The first link will be the certificate, you need page 2 only.

The Pro-Card: What is it?

The Procurement Card or Pro-card is a university credit card that may be used for the purchase of low-dollar, low-risk goods and services when other methods are not more appropriate. See university ProCard rules usage, including a list of disallowed purchases and vendors

The Steve Hicks School holds two Pro-Cards, one in the Dean’s Office and one in the Office of the Associate Dean for Research.

The Pro-Card: How to use it

  1. Complete and submit a ProCard request form. One form per vendor — no exceptions. Follow the form’s instructions to submit.
  2. If buying food and non-alcoholic beverages, you must submit an Official Occasion Expense Form along with the ProCard request.
  3. After submitting the ProCard request form, contact the card-holder in the Dean’s Office or the Office of the Associate Dean for Research to arrange a date and time to pick up the card. Give at least 24-hour notice.
  4. ProCard must be used for same-day purchases, and must be checked out and returned by the same user. Please do not pass the card around from person to person.
  5. When making the purchase, remind vendor that the university is tax-exempt, and check the receipt to make sure no tax was charged. You may want to bring a copy of the sales tax exemption certificate with you.

Independent contractors

 Independent contractors may be used when the necessary services cannot be provided adequately by regular or temporary university employees. See guidelines for non-employee/independent contractors from the university’s Purchasing Office.

Questions? Check the Handbook of Business Procedures

The Handbook of Business Procedures from Financial and Administrative Services may respond to most of your questions.

Sponsored travel

Travel restrictions related to Covid-19:

  • The current prohibition on university-sanctioned travel for business or study  has been extended through May 31, 2021 for domestic travel.
  • For international travel, the current prohibition on university-sanctioned travel for business or study is in place until December 31, 2021.
  • Decisions about the policy after January 1, 2021, will be announced on or before November 16, 2020. Exceptions will be processed by deans or vice presidents for domestic travel and by Texas Global for international travel.
  • Any domestic travel (including local travel) by Steve Hicks School employees needs to be approved by the dean in advance. Please reach out to Lizet Villagrana on how to submit an exception request.

University policies and resources

Please note travel restrictions related to Covid-19:

Faculty travel grant

Travel authorization

All sponsored travel must be previously authorized. Submit a Travel Authorization Request (login required) before traveling.

Transportation resources

  • Contact Anthony Travel or login to Concur for online airfare and rental car browsing and reservations using direct billing.
  • Direct billing rental car reservation with Enterprise:
    • If the Dean’s Office is covering your rental car costs, use this link ; your travel document ID # will be required.
    • If your research grant is covering your rental car costs, use this link ; your travel document ID # will be required.
  • Use the Texas Vehicle Rental Tax Exemption Certificate (login required) to avoid being charged tax if you are paying for your rental car instead of using direct billing.

Reimbursement 101

Submit a Travel Reimbursement Request (login required).
Reimbursement rates, effective January 1, 2020 (check GSA website for more information):

  • $51 per day for meals anywhere. No receipts needed
  • Texas hotels: $98/night with state funds, $209/night with local funds
  • Continental U.S.: $324/night
  • Outside of continental U.S.: $374/night

Tips for smooth reimbursement

  • All receipts are original and not altered and must show proof of payment.
  • Expenses are traveler’s own only (not spouse’s, friend’s, etc.).
  • Foreign receipts show exchange rate and link used. Foreign exchange conversion site: Oanda.
  • Non-reimbursable expense examples: alcoholic beverages, excess baggage charges, and any other personal expenses.
  • Conference registration fees are reimbursed after conference takes place.
  • Local accounts (generally begin with 19, 26, or 30) and state accounts (generally begin with 14 or 20)  are subjected to different rules. Check with your support staff.

Reimbursement checklist (not exhaustive but helpful)

Transportation
  • Airline receipt
  • Cancellation/Change charges – Reimbursable only if the charge is incurred for a business-related reason or because of adverse weather conditions or a natural disaster; provide explanation.
  • Gasoline receipts for rental car.
  • Mileage requires odometer reading or MapQuest/Google Map itinerary. Download mileage log.
  • Rental car receipt.
  • Valet parking receipt.
Lodging
  • Deposit for house/apartment stay is not reimbursable.
  • Original lodging receipts show traveler’s name only and proof of payment.
  • Staying in house/apartment (not hotel) must be from a commercial establishment and lease agreement provided.
  • Use the Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate to avoid being charged tax.
Meals
  • Alcoholic beverages are not reimbursable.
  • Food receipts are itemized (not just a credit card receipt).
  • Meal expenses itemized daily (for traveler only).
  • Meals are only reimbursable if there is an overnight stay.
  • Tips not higher than 20% are only allowed on local accounts (not State). Itemize them separately from meals.