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Cell Phone/PDA Use

Policy Number BUS-001
Effective Date July 01, 2007
Responsible Office/Person Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance
Related Policies
Additional History
Additional References

  1. Policy
    All eligible employees who are provided University owned cell phones and/or Personal Data Assistants (PDAs) will be reported on and taxed appropriately in accordance with University policy and IRS Guidelines.
  2. Purpose
    This policy allows the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to meet IRS regulations (Section 280F of the Code) and its fiduciary responsibilities to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by providing guidelines for the use of cell phones and PDAs for business purposes.  In accordance with IRS code, when an employer provides an employee with a cellular phone, the expense incurred by the employer will be considered taxable income to the individual and therefore subject to taxation when the cell phone/PDA is also used for personal communication.  All personal use of a University owned cell phone/PDA is considered a taxable event.
  3. Definitions
    PDAs are known best by their product names, including Blackberry and Treo.
  4. Procedures
    University owned cell phones/PDAs may be issued to an employee for business use when, in the judgment of the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance or his/her designee, one of the following criteria is demonstrated:
    1. Required frequent travel on University business, specifically not including travel between on-campus or inter-campus locations.
    2. A need for others to be in constant communication with the individual.
    3. A need for the individual to communicate constantly with other University personnel while traveling.
    4. Personal safety concerns for individuals while working, particularly in isolated or high crime areas.
    5. A need to contact an employee after normal business hours on a constant basis.
    6. Issuance of PDAs will be further limited to those employees who travel off campus extensively, specifically not including inter-campus travel, attendance at conferences, meetings, etc.

    Cell phones/PDAs will not be issued to employees in lieu of land lines or pagers when such alternatives will provide adequate or less costly service to the University.

    Employees may apply for a University owned cell phone/PDA with the approval of their immediate supervisor and with the confirming approval of the area Vice Chancellor, who may then recommend approval to the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance.  As a part of this application process the individual will sign an affidavit indicating that the device will be used only for business purposes.

    Employees issued cell phones or PDAs will have an amount, determined annually, added to taxable (W-2) wages equivalent to the cost to the University for the Convenience of not maintaining detailed records of business and personal use and to cover any incidental personal use.  By characterizing this cost as income, the University can avoid requiring each employee to monitor and report itemized minutes of personal cell phone/PDA use.  Periodic, random audits of cell phone/PDA usage will be conducted by the Internal Audit department to assure the devices are being used at least 90% of the time for business purposes.

    On occasion the University may issue a cell phone to a department for daily or short term issuance to an employee where the phone is not otherwise in the employee’s possession.  In such a circumstance an income adjustment will not be necessary but the Department Head is responsible for monitoring use consistent with this policy.

    For those employees not issued University owned devices, their incremental cost of documented business use of personal cell phones/PDAs will be reimbursed consistent with current policy.
  5. Responsibility
    The EMPLOYEE is responsible for compliance with the Cell Phone/PDA policy, including the provision for business use only of the devices.  The DEPARTMENT HEAD is responsible for recommending cell phones or PDAs only for those who meet the criteria for issuance.  HUMAN RESOURCES is responsible for posting wage adjustments and withholding taxes on affected employees W-2’s.  ADMINISTRATIVE AND AUXILIARY SERVICES is responsible for providing the annual cost information to HR for the W-2 adjustments.
  6. Attachments
    The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth “Cellular Telephone and PDA Affidavit.”
  7. Approved: _____________________________  Date: _______________

                            Chancellor

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