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Cell Phone Policy
Wellesley College recognizes that the performance of certain job responsibilities may be enhanced by or may require the use of a cellular (cell) phone or a smartphone. The IRS considers these devices to be "listed property." As such, IRS regulations (IRS Section 274(d)4) require detailed record keeping including (a) the amount of the expense, (b) the time and place of the call, and (c) the business purpose for the call. The IRS can declare that all undocumented use of a cell phone is personal and should be taxed as wages, even if the majority of the calls are for business purposes.
In order to comply with IRS rules regarding the taxable nature of cell phone usage by employees, as of 1 July 2009 the College will no longer provide cell phone service to individual employees. Instead, the College will begin issuing a cell phone allowance for those employees who hold positions where the duties of that position require the use of a cell phone. The benefits of such an approach include: 1) a call log is not required; 2) monthly reporting is not required; 3) a single phone may be used for both personal and business purposes. The stipend will be considered taxable income to the employee.
Employees who hold positions that include the need for a cell phone (see criteria below) may receive a cell phone allowance to compensate for business-related costs incurred when using their individually owned cell phones. Employees who incur business-related cell phone charges on an occasional basis may submit a record of these expenses for reimbursement.
A. Criteria for Eligibility for Cell Phone Allowance
The following criteria are provided in order to determine a position’s eligibility for a cell phone allowance because of the nature of and expectations for job performance.
Need for mobility : Position’s primary responsibilities include work in the field or at job sites where access to a telephone is not readily available.
Emergency response: Position’s primary responsibilities include emergency response and requirement to be available during non-business hours.
B. Oversight Responsibility
Department heads are responsible for identifying employees who hold positions that include the need for a cell phone. The department head is responsible for overseeing employee cell phone needs, for monitoring business-related cell phone usage and for assessing the continued need of each position that requires use of a cell phone for business purposes.
C. Allowance Plan: Business Use of Cell Phones
Establishment and Payment of Allowance
If a College employee's position responsibilities include the need for a cell phone based on the above criteria, then the employee is eligible for an allowance to compensate for business-related cell phone expenses. A cell phone allowance may be authorized at any time by the department head using the Allowance Request Form. The Allowance Request Form must be approved by the Senior Staff member and then forwarded to the Associate VP for Finance for processing. Cell phone allowances will be paid as part of the department’s payroll. Because the allowance is considered taxable income, the employee will be taxed according to the regulations of the IRS code.
An employee is eligible for a single cell phone allowance. Recipients of a cell phone allowance must notify Wellesley of the cell phone number and must continue to maintain the cell phone while in receipt of the allowance.
This allowance does not constitute an increase to base pay, and will not be included in the calculation of percentage increases to base pay due to annual raises, job upgrades, bonuses, benefits based on a percentage of salary, etc.
Determination of Dollar Amount of Allowance
The dollar amount of the cell phone allowance is the estimated amount for expenses associated with the presumed business use. The department head is responsible for authorizing the level of allowance based on anticipated use, as outlined by the guidelines set by the Associate VP for Finance.
Wellesley will pay only the agreed upon cell phone allowance even if monthly costs exceed the allowance.
Monthly Stipend Amount (for service plus equipment):
- $55 Basic Use (voice only service)
- $115 Mandatory Use (full voice + data service)
The cell phone contract is in the name of the employee who is solely responsible for all payments to the service provider. The employee purchases cellular phone service and equipment; determines plan choices, service levels, calling areas, service and phone features; and accepts termination clauses and payment terms.
Because the cell phone is owned personally by the employee and the allowance provided is taxable income, the employee may use the phone for both business and personal purposes, as needed. The employee may, at his or her own expense, add extra services or equipment features, as desired. If there are problems with service, the staff member is expected to work directly with the carrier for resolution.
Wellesley does not accept any liability for claims, charges or disputes between the service provider and the employee. Use of the phone in any manner contrary to local, state, or federal laws will constitute misuse, and will result in immediate termination of the cell phone allowance.
D. Reimbursement for Business Calls on Personal Cell Phone
If a College employee's position responsibilities do not include the need for a cell phone as defined by the above criteria, employees may request reimbursement for the actual expenses of business-related cell phone calls. Reimbursement for perminute "air time" charges is limited to the total overage charge shown on the invoice; expenses for minutes included in the plan will not be reimbursed. The individual should make personal payment to the provider, and then should submit a request for reimbursement, identifying the business purpose.
If personal use typically exceeds business use on a wireless phone, the employee should provide his/her own phone and submit reimbursement requests for business calls. A copy of the wireless phone bill, detailing the individual calls to be reimbursed, needs to accompany the reimbursement request. Although most wireless carriers do not include detailed phone records in their monthly statements, the information is readily available online from most major providers. Reimbursement documentation should identify the business purpose.
Wellesley College Employee Carrier Discounts
- at&t/Cingular 15%
- Sprint 23%
- Nextel 13%
- Verizon Wireless 18%
at&t/Cingular, Sprint/Nextel and Verizon Wireless offer discounted programs for faculty and staff at Wellesley College. The program provides a single point of contact for activation, equipment, maintenance and billing. All cellular phone purchases and monthly charges are the responsibility of the Wellesley College employee.
To learn more about the program, call our representative Chad Diskin at 607 768-6900. Ask for the Wellesley College Associate program. You can also contact Chad by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
To learn more about the program, call our representative Brian LaBree at 617 839-1068. You can also contact Brian by email at email@example.com .
To learn more about the program, call our representative Paul Medeiros at 617 512-0006. You can also contact Paul by email at Paul.Medeiros@verizonwireless.com .