Chancellor Dubois approved University Policy 125, Mobile Communication Devices, on September 8, 2009, effective September 23, 2009. This new policy was developed to address the use of mobile communication devices to conduct University business and the confusion surrounding various state and federal regulations regarding the use of such devices. This policy establishes guidelines for the use, documentation, and payment for these devices.
For the purpose of this Policy, Mobile Communication Devices (MCDs) are defined as cellular (“cell” or “mobile”) telephones (including cell phones with two-way communication capability), BlackBerries and other PDAs, pagers, wireless cards, and any other mobile communication devices.
The use of MCDs can be a useful resource for University employees to conduct University business when they are away from their work stations. In some cases, the University may issue University-owned MCDs to employees who must have cellular phone access 24/7 or during their work day due to the nature of their employment duties. In other cases, employees may use their personal MCDs to accomplish University business and may request reimbursement in accordance with procedures supplemental to this Policy.
The Internal Revenue Code provides that business use of employees’ personal MCDs may be paid by an employer. Tax law requires that in order for such reimbursement to be non-taxable, each employee must document every incoming and outgoing business call, including its business purpose. However, this kind of detailed recordkeeping is impractical.
Therefore, to avoid this level of record keeping, the University offers MCD options for employees, as described in procedures supplemental to this Policy. An employee’s supervisor will determine the need for an employee’s business use of an MCD and shall recommend the option that fits the employee’s expected MCD business use. Final authorization must be approved by the head of the employee’s department or unit. Approved authorizations will be reviewed and updated on an annual basis.
The Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs shall implement procedures supplemental to this Policy setting forth appropriate options for the issuance of University-owned MCDs or the use of personal MCDs for business purposes. Such procedures shall comply with existing law, IRS regulations, and guidance from the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) and The University of North Carolina. The Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs shall submit such procedures and any modifications thereof to the Chancellor for review and approval.