Occasionally departments may wish to entertain potential donors, alumni, visiting speakers, or candidates for positions or they may want to host departmental functions or entertain for other valid reasons. This section provides an overview of entertainment guidelines. Detailed entertainment policies appear in University Policy FI0715.

Using the Procurement Card

UT’s procurement card may be used for entertainment expenses less than $1,000 per function, subject to the documentation and approval requirements in this section.

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Meals for UT Employees

Generally, meals should not be provided at meetings attended solely by University employees, except on formal occasions such as banquets, retreats, and service award recognitions or at group meetings for which travel is involved like statewide staff meetings. Generally, employees should pay for their own meals at routine meetings; however, box lunches, refreshments, or similar inexpensive meals may be provided for pre-planned group working meetings.

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Alcoholic Beverages

Departments may not purchase alcoholic beverages with state funds. When such purchases are appropriate, all related expenses (including taxes and tips) must be charged to a WBS element that permits alcohol purchases. The costs must be identifiable on an itemized vendor receipt or invoice.

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Tennessee Sales Tax

Tennessee sales tax should not be included on invoices for entertainment expenses. The University is exempt from paying this tax. The exemption certificate can be found in University Policy FI0405 or on the Controller’s website at http://controller.tennessee.edu.

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Managing Entertainment Expenses

Entertainment expenses may be billed directly to the University or paid by the employee who hosts the function. The employee may be reimbursed from the business office of the campus or institute, from petty cash funds, or through usual disbursement procedures.

The University will pay for certain entertainment expenses provided the following conditions are met:

  • The entertainment is appropriate in conducting University business.
  • Expenses per person are prudent and reasonable.
  • The location or facility does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, religion, or disability.
  • Appropriate documentation is obtained to support the expenses (see “Required Documentation” below).
  • The group or individuals involved are identified and the number attending and purpose of the event are indicated on the invoice or other documentation.
  • The entertainment is approved by the department head or campus or institute chief business officer according to the dollar limits noted in this section.

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Required Documentation for Entertainment Expenses

At least one of the following types of documentation is required for reimbursement of entertainment expenses:

  • Petty Cash Reimbursement Request (Form T-44). If available, departments are highly encouraged to process petty cash reimbursements directly in IRIS instead of using a Form T-44. The custodian should enter the required petty cash items in IRIS via the transaction ZAP_ENTRY. A line item must be entered for each receipt that is being submitted. Receipts should be scanned in the order they are entered in the document and attached to the document as one entry. The purpose and date of the function, number of people being entertained, average price per person (including beverages), and total amount due should appear on the receipt, charge slip, or an attachment. (See Appendix)
  • If in travel status, a Travel Expense Report submitted via Concur. Reimbursement requests must be supported by an official itemized receipt or statement issued by the vendor. The purpose and date of the function, number of people being entertained, average price per person (including beverages), and total amount due should appear on the receipt, charge slip, or an attachment.
  • A vendor invoice indicating the date of the function, price per person, number of individuals being entertained, and total amount due. The group or individuals involved and purpose of the function must be written on the invoice or an attachment. The cost center or WBS element and general ledger account to be charged (446200) should also appear on the invoice.


Lesson Learned 

Lavish entertainment plus failure to maintain adequate receipts by a former UT president brought a great deal of negative attention to the University. The president and the institution were publicly criticized and investigated by several state agencies.

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Your Role in Managing Entertainment

You are responsible for the following activities.

  1. Ensure that any entertainment meets the requirements in Policy FI0715.
  2. Review and approve the vendor invoice, Petty Cash Reimbursement Form (Form T-44), or Travel Expense Report to request reimbursement of expenses.
  3. Approve entertainment expenses under $1,000 per function or obtain the advance approval of your campus or institute chief business officer for expenses of $1,000 or more per function or if cost per person exceeds $100.

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