Hosting Policy

The following policy governs hosting and related uses of University funds. See Hosting for quick access to common resources.

Hosting regulations are based on IRS guidelines, the Administrative Code of the State of Ohio, and the University's determination of reasonable hosting activities. As a steward of public funds, the University has a responsibility to be conservative in its hosting activities.

Virtual hosting is not permitted by Miami University.  Please see further details below.

1.00 Hosting Definition

Hosting activities funded by the University must be related to University business. Expenditures of a personal nature, unreasonable or excessive expenses, and those not specifically related to the conduct of University business are not allowable. To be considered a business expense by the IRS, meals and hosting expenses must meet the following requirements:

  • The expense must be incurred as part of ordinary and necessary University business.
  • The expenditure cannot be lavish or extravagant.
  • There must be a substantial business discussion during, directly before, or directly after the meal.

2.00 Definition of Discretionary and Nondiscretionary Accounts

Hosting expenses must be charged to an appropriate index code. All Miami University index codes, for hosting purposes, are identified as either Nondiscretionary or Discretionary accounts based on their fund designation. The tables below provide additional details about these codes.

Nondiscretionary accounts are generally those which are funded in whole or in part by money received from the State of Ohio. All expenditures from these accounts must comply with the provisions of the Ohio Revised Code and the regulations of the Ohio Board of Regents in addition to the IRS and University rules. Use of Nondiscretionary funds for hosting is limited to specific purposes as outlined in the following sections of this document.

Discretionary accounts are generally those which are funded through gifts, private and local grants, and private and local contracts. The use of Discretionary funds for hosting must still comply with IRS and University rules, but may be used at the discretion of the department within the guidelines of the account. Those guidelines are documented by the Accounting Manual Sheets for that account and outlined in the following sections of this document.

The following table (revised 9/28/2016) indicates the various types of accounts for various funds.

Types and Descriptions for Index Codes
Index Code Description Type Fund Code
XXX000 through XXX699 Education and General Nondiscretionary 0xxxxx
XXX000 through XXX699 Auxiliary Nondiscretionary 2xxxxx
XXX700 through XXX999 Gift Discretionary 3xxxxx
XXX700 through XXX999 Designated Discretionary 1xxxxx
xxxx (four digit numeric) Gift Discretionary 3xxxxx
xxxx (four digit numeric) Designated Discretionary 1xxxxx
G # # # # # Grants and Contracts Discretionary andNondiscretionary 4xxxxx
C # # # # # Cost Share Portion of Grant Nondiscretionary 1xxxxx
D # # # # # Designated Cost Share Portion of Grant Nondiscretionary 1xxxxx
S # # # # # Plant Funds / State Funded Capital Improvements Nondiscretionary 7xxxxx
L # # # # # Plant Funds / Locally Funded Capital Improvements Nondiscretionary 7xxxxx

Using Appropriate Hosting Account Codes

Each expenditure must be recorded with the appropriate account code. The following sections of this document provide guidance as to which account code applies to specific types of expenditures. Appropriate account codes for University hosting are:

  • Guests: 153031
  • Students (not as student employees): 153011
  • Employees (including student employees): 153021

Flowers, items of personal nature and celebrations that are not work related (Birthdays, Weddings, Births, etc.) can NOT be purchased from discretionary funds. Flowers for funerals can be purchased from discretionary accounts if done with prudence. The President's and Vice-President's Offices purchase funeral flowers on behalf of the University community for current faculty, staff, students, faculty and staff holding emeriti rank, and current or former board members.

Any type of equipment for personal use such as heaters, microwaves, fans, coffee pots, etc. must be purchased from Discretionary funds.

3.00 Hosting of University Guests

Hosting expenses are authorized for fund raising, student recruitment activities, conference marketing activities, lecturers, job candidates, workshop attendees, and consultants. Hosting of University guests may be charged to Discretionary or Nondiscretionary funds as appropriate (see section 2.00 above) using the Account code of 153031.

The following guidelines apply to the hosting of University guests:

  • University employees' spouses or significant others may not be reimbursed unless the guest's spouse or significant other is present.
  • Receptions may include members of the University community. However, the number of people hosted for meals should be kept to the minimum number appropriate for the nature of the event.

4.00 Hosting of University Students

Hosting expenses for students who are volunteering for University-related activities, acknowledgment of academic achievements, student employment training and development, and achievement recognition are authorized from either Discretionary or Nondiscretionary index codes as appropriate (see section 2.00 above) using Account Code 153011.

Any other student hosting expenditure, such as welcome picnics, refreshments served in meetings, and student entertainment must be charged to a Discretionary account using Account Code 153011. Hosting related to student employment is addressed in section 5.00.

Student hosting should follow a "test of reasonableness" for the appropriate amount of expense. Costs of student meals should be comparable to the cost of a similar meal in the dining hall system.

5.00 Hosting of University Employees (including student employees)

Hosting expenses for employee development, training sessions, and achievement recognition may be purchased for Discretionary or Non-Discretionary funds. Employee meals, employee entertainment, celebrations that are work related (Holidays, Welcome Back picnics, end of year parties, retirement parties) and alcoholic beverages may only be charged to Discretionary funds. Hosting of University employees for functions such as routine meetings, social functions, etc. is discouraged and should not be repetitive. These expenses must be charged to Discretionary funds in accordance with the terms of the specific account using Account Code 153021. (See section 2.00 for further information.)

Gift cards may not be purchased for specifically identified Miami University employees or students.

6.00 Hosting Cost Guidelines

Hosting expenses for business meals must meet the "test of reasonableness." Business meals must have a clearly substantiated University business purpose and must be incurred while the employee is performing services as an employee of the University. Business meals subject to reimbursement under these hosting guidelines will also typically involve one or more non-Miami employees. An exception is granted when exigent circumstances apply and the meal is provided during emergency situations or when employees are not able to leave and return in a reasonable amount of time during an all-day training class where it is critical that the attendees be present for the entire session. The amounts below are derived from the maximum allowable reimbursable meal amounts from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) per diem tables (reviewed annually). GSA per diem is recognized by IRS as permissible reimbursement without creating a taxable situation to the employee being reimbursed or being in violation of an entity's accountable plan.

Meals (Per Person)—Effective 10/7/2016

  • Breakfast: $20
  • Lunch: $40
  • Dinner: $70

Gratuity—Effective 4/1/2017

  • Limited to 20%

The amounts above are limits for the total of the meal expenditure including tips and/or taxes. Alcohol cannot be charged to a Nondiscretionary account. Alcohol may be charged to a Discretionary account, but must be included in the total allocation for the "test of reasonableness." Gratuities will be limited to 20%. Exceptions to the hosting limits may be requested through the Vice President.

7.00 Hosting Documentation and Substantiation

The following documentation requirements are based on the IRS guidelines (each is required regardless of the payment method used):

  • Date, place, and description, including the business purpose of the expense
  • Names and business relationships of persons in attendance (For large functions provide the name of the group and number of attendees or attach a Hosting Form)
  • Original receipts for reimbursements (itemized receipt with proof of payment such as credit card statement, canceled check, or credit card slip)
  • Original invoices for direct payment to vendors
  • Completed Hosting Form (The form must be completed and signed for transactions processed via Buyway. The form is embedded in the hosting tiles for transactions processed via Chrome River.)

Hosting expenditures may be paid with one of the following methods:

  • P-Card - (Staff and Faculty)
  • Intra-University hosting charge slip - (Staff and Faculty)
  • Submitted for payment/reimbursement on a Requisition Form in Buyway - (For reimbursements to Undergraduate Students who have approved hosting events.)
  • Submitted for reimbursement on an Expense Report in Chrome River - (For Staff, Faculty, and Graduate Assistants/Students who have approved hosting events. Staff and Faculty should utilize a P-Card or Departmental P-Card for hosting when available. Reimbursements to Staff and Faculty for hosting purposes should not be repetitive due to the availability of P-Card use.)

For large events where attendance is not trackable or that are considered to be 'open house,' the cardholder or reconciler must attach an event flyer, invitation, email/web announcement, etc. to substantiate the inability to provide the necessary hosting information.

8.00 Hosting at University Facilities

The University encourages the use of the Shriver Center, Marcum Conference Center, and the Residence and Dining Halls for hosting meals. Charges for meals at these facilities may be paid by payroll deductions or intra-University charges. Reimbursement for expenses paid by payroll deduction may be requested by submitting a University requisition form. Intra-Unversity charges may be made by the responsible departmental individual by completing an intra-University hosting charge slip. They should not be charged to a department P-Card.

9.00 Virtual Hosting

Virtual hosting, such as sharing meals over virtual meetings (Zoom, Google Meet, phone meetings, etc.) where all parties involved are not together, in person, is prohibited and non-reimbursable by Miami University (except for events listed below). Persons who use a University PCard to pay for virtual hosting meetings or events will be required to reimburse the university for the meals.

Exceptions will be made for virtual events held for the following reasons:

  • Fundraising (meals with donors)
  • Recruitment (meals for new student recruitment or job candidate interviews)