Michigan State University
Controller's Office

Administration Bldg
426 Auditorium Rd, Rm 305
East Lansing, MI 48824
517 355-5020

SECTION 46: Food and Lodging Purchased on Campus Charged to University Accounts

Last updated: July 2014

I. General

This section sets forth the procedures to be followed when charging meals, lodging or refreshments to University accounts. These procedures apply to purchases made at University facilities, Candlewood Suites, and the University Club. These purchases must be made in accordance with the Expenditure Policies and Guidelines for Food, Lodging and Beverages, Section 45.

II. Meal Purchases from Residence Halls

Meal tickets purchased for meals in a Residence Hall cafeteria by an MSU department will be charged to the department by an Internal Billing e-doc. The department must develop a log for maintaining the required documentation of the business expenditure.  The log must indicate the ticket number(s) used, and the business purpose for the meal.

III. Lodging Arrangements with University Housing

  1. As a general rule, and in order to comply with federal tax withholding requirements, University accounts cannot be charged directly for the costs of University housing (Residence Halls and University Apartments).  A department can make housing arrangements or reimburse individuals for housing expenses incurred as noted below in item C.  Payment for housing should be made by the individual receiving the housing either through a direct payment by them or through a payroll deduction.
  2. There are two exceptions where the cost of the housing can be directly charged to an account on an Internal Billing e-doc (see exhibit 46–G; departments may make copies of exhibit 46–G to use for this purpose):
    1. When an individual meets federal tax rules which state that housing provided to employees is nontaxable if all of the following three conditions are met:
      1. The lodging is furnished on the business premises of the employer.
      2. The lodging is for the convenience of the employer.
      3. The employee must accept the lodging as a condition of employment.

        All departments that provide housing or make payments for housing, on behalf of an individual who meets the above criteria, must have prior approval and documentation on file with the Office of Financial Analysis (355-5029).

    2. When an individual is in travel status. An individual is considered to be in travel status when away from their regular place of employment for business purposes.  This would cover most individuals employed by other universities who are here as visiting scholars or visiting researchers as long as they are not on MSU's payroll.  Enrolled MSU students and MSU employees are, by definition, not considered to be in travel status.  NOTE: Nonresident alien visitors must have appropriate visa status to permit University payment of lodging expenses.  For example, visitors entering the U.S. with a J1 or B1 visa status are eligible while those entering with B2 visa status must be in conformance with the limitations imposed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services   If lodging is provided to visitors with B2 visa status, both a completed copy of the MSU form "Certification for International Visitors Entering the U.S. With B1/WB1 or B2/WB2 Visa Status" Exhibit 77-D), as well as the completed Lodging Arrangements Worksheet (Exhibit 46-G) must be attached to the Internal Billing e-doc.
  3. When a contract or agreement states that housing will be provided to an individual, and the individual does not meet the exceptions noted above, the fair market value of the housing should be determined and paid to the individual as follows:
    1. Employees (anyone on the University payroll system) - Process on an Additional Payments Form through the payroll department (in calculating the amount, keep in mind the tax withholdings that may be processed against the payroll). If the lodging is being temporarily provided for a new employee, see Moving Expenses, Section 53.
    2. Students - For graduate students under a fellowship, process as part of their fellowship award (see Section 23). For undergraduate students and graduate students covered by a scholarship, process as part of their scholarship award through the Office of Financial Aid.
    3. All Others - Contact the Office of Financial Analysis (355-5029).

IV. Meal and Beverage Purchases from Crossroads Food Court, Kellogg Center, Sparty's, MSU Union, Spartan Signature Catering, Candlewood Suites, and University Club

  1. A numbered charge slip or invoice and Internal Billing or Service Billing e-doc is to be used to make interdepartmental charges for food services and/or lodging.
  2. The numbered charge slip or invoice and Internal Billing or Service Billing e-doc must contain the following information:
    1. Name of department making the charge.
    2. Account number to be charged.
    3. Date of the charge.
    4. Specific business purpose of the expense.

V. Alcoholic Beverages

  1. Alcoholic beverages may be charged to conference accounts when consumed by conference attendees and when reimbursement is made by participants or sponsors of the conference.
  2. Reimbursement for alcoholic beverages is limited to business functions involving non-employees of the University (see item II) and to recruiting (see item III).
    1. Alcoholic beverages must be purchased and served through licensed establishments except for home entertainment where bulk purchases are permitted.
    2. Bills which include alcoholic beverages, must charge the alcohol portion to a discretionary gift account or account number pre-approved by the Controller's Office and must use object code 6474– Alcoholic Beverages.  All other bills or portions of a voucher that do not contain alcoholic beverages may be charged to an appropriate fund and account and should use object code 6116 – Business Entertainment – Food and Beverage or 6212 – Business Meetings-Food & Beverage.

VI. Exhibits/Forms