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Accountable Professional Expense Accounts (APEAs)

Category: Employment
Number: EMP-060-005
Audience: All University employees
Issued: April 20, 1998
Revised: February 14, 2020
Owner(s): AVP (Finance)
Approved by: VP (Administration)
Contact: Financial Analyst - Fixed Assets/APEA - 306-337-3159

Introduction

This policy provides a coordinated approach for the distribution, use and management of Accountable Professional Expense Accounts (APEAs).

Policy

The University provides Accountable Professional Expense Accounts (APEAs) to individual employees based on their category of employment.

  • Employees who are members of the University of Regina Faculty Association (URFA) bargaining unit receive an APEA. The entitlements are awarded based on the employment agreements for each group of URFA employee: Administrative, Professional and Technical (APT) or Academic Staff. These agreements can be found on the Employment Agreements webpage (requires URSource login).
  • APT term positions of less than one year are not entitled to APEA funds.
  • CUPE employees are not entitled to APEA funds.
  • As stated in policy EMP-030-005 Compensation for Out-of-Scope Employees, APEA allocations will be provided to all out-of-scope positions. In the case of a temporary acting appointment to an out-of-scope position of six weeks or longer, the employee's APEA entitlement will be adjusted based on the entitlement for that out-of-scope position.
  • APEA entitlements shall be prorated for employees who are appointed to a position after the beginning of a fiscal year, whose appointments terminate during a fiscal year, who retire or resign during a fiscal year, or who are employed part-time.

APEA accounts should not go into a deficit position. Employees who overspend their APEA budget will be requested to move some of the costs to a different funding source or to personally repay the excess spending.

Special circumstances which either entitle employees to APEA amounts or disallow them from receiving an entitlement are as follows:

Employees on Leave

Employees on maternity leave, administrative leave, short-term disability, and sabbatical receive their entire APEA entitlement for the period that they are on leave. Employees on unpaid leave or long-term disability are not entitled to new APEA amounts while on leave, but keep the balance currently in their account.

University of Regina Employees on Secondment to Other Institutions

Employees seconded to another institution continue to receive benefits pursuant to the relevant employment agreement, including APEA entitlements.

Employees of Other Institutions on Secondment to the University of Regina

Individuals who have been seconded to the University from other institutions are not entitled to receive an APEA, as those individuals receive their compensation and benefit packages from their employer institutions.

Sessional Lecturers

Sessional lecturers are not entitled to an APEA. However, they are entitled to receive reimbursement of pre-approved work-related expenses from their academic unit in accordance with Appendix A, Article 15.1.1 of the URFA-Academic Staff collective agreement found on the Employment Agreements website (requires URSource login).

Regulations for the Use of APEA Funds

APEA funds are to be used for expenditures related to the pursuit of:

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Professional activities, or
  • General University activities

such as attending conferences and seminars, professional membership fees, consumables, entertainment, furniture, equipment, etc.

Expenses Allowed

  • membership fees in professional bodies where they clearly relate to the employee's teaching, research, professional or general University activities
  • books related to the employee's teaching, research or professional activities
    • the titles purchased must be listed or written on the receipt
    • the University retains ownership of all goods purchased with an APEA
    • they may be used at the employee’s discretion while in the employ of the University
  • secretarial and technical services (in the short term only, as APEAs are not meant to pay ongoing salaries). These must be processed through Human Resources
  • travel or travel related expenses (see EMP-050-005 Travel)
  • entertainment or employee morale-building events (see restrictions in policies EMP-050-005 (Travel), EMP-060-006 (Expenses-General), and OPS-100-005 (Food Services))
  • office furniture and equipment (including computer systems and smartphones as outlined below)
  • printers (and related consumables, repairs, maintenance, parts, accessories) for home use only. Printers purchased using an APEA may not be used on campus in accordance with the print optimization program (must complete the Declaration Regarding Use of University Property Off-Campus) (requires UR Source login)
  • communications charges (as outlined below)

Expenses not Allowed

Expenses that may result in a taxable benefit to the employee are not allowable, as they would jeopardize the APEA program at the University by violating Canada Revenue Agency regulations.

NOTE: These are not allowable from any University funds.

Some examples are:

  • tuition fees for personal interest courses
  • tuition fees for someone other than the employee - this could include undergraduate or graduate students as well as visiting scholars
  • books for personal interest courses or courses taken by family members
  • clothing for personal wear (excluding items required by Occupational Health & Safety)
  • parking on campus for yourself or for others visiting in a non-work-related capacity
  • transportation costs of getting to and from work (gas, bus, etc.)
  • printers (and related consumables, repairs, maintenance, parts, accessories) to be used on campus
  • tickets to a fundraising event held by a political party (See GOV-030-012 Political Donations and Sponsorships)
  • donations made to organizations outside the University
  • gift certificates for faculty or staff (see EMP-060-009 Gift Giving and Staff Functions), since such items are taxable benefits according to the rules of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as identified on the web at:

Communications Charges

  • Charges for services such as internet, wireless e-mail services, cell phones, etc. are allowable expenses to the extent that they were incurred for business purposes. Charges for personal use are not allowable.
  • Original receipts are attached to a reimbursement claim form and submitted to Financial Services for reimbursement.
  • Claims should not be submitted more frequently than four times per year.

Office Furniture and Equipment

  • Equipment or furniture purchased with APEA funds remains the property of the University, even if the employee contributed personal money towards the purchase. If used outside the University, must complete the Declaration Regarding Use of University Property Off-Campus (requires UR Source login).
  • It is strongly recommended that computer equipment be purchased in accordance with University purchasing regulations and that the purchase complies with OPS-080-015 Supported Hardware, Software and Mobile Devices. Items purchased which are not in compliance with that policy may not be supported or may only be supported at higher cost.

APEA Computer Purchase Program

Employees with APEAs are eligible to participate in the Computer Purchase Program if they hold a permanent position or a probationary appointment which would normally lead to a permanent position.

The University may sell the equipment to the employee at any time at a price equivalent to the greater of fair market value and the balance owing on the purchase. Fair market value of the equipment is determined by Supply Management Services. The revenue is first used to pay off any balance owing in the APEA, and the remainder, if any, is credited to the employee’s faculty or department.

Purchase by the employee will not result in the reinstatement of the current year's nor any prior year's portion of expired entitlement to APEA. Future years' entitlements which were assigned to the purchase of the equipment will be available as if never assigned.

Income Tax Implications

  • Expenses paid from an employee's APEA account are not allowable as a deduction on the employee's personal tax return.
  • It is the employee’s responsibility to ensure that all requirements of income tax legislation are met.
  • In signing a claim for reimbursement, the employee is agreeing that the University will not incur any tax liability and that the employee will pay any tax that may be assessed.

APEA Carryforward

APEA account holders may carry forward unspent funds to the extent that their annual budget plus carryforward budget does not exceed four years of APEA budget for members of APT or four years of APEA budget for all other APEA holders.

The University ensures the annual APEA carryforward amount is supported by a carryforward pool of money to eliminate the risk to the General Operating Fund financial position should large amounts of APEA carryforward be spent in one fiscal year.

Consequences for Noncompliance

If an APEA account is overspent, the account holder may be required to personally repay the University. Employees in noncompliance may be subject to disciplinary action.

Processes

Managing APEA Accounts

New Accounts

  1. As new employees are hired throughout the year, Human Resources provides copies of appointment letters to Financial Services.
  2. The Financial Analyst – Fixed Assets/APEA creates a new APEA Fund in Banner and enters a prorated entitlement budget in Banner/FAST.
  3. The Financial Analyst – Fixed Assets/APEA informs the new employee and their Faculty or Department Administrator of the fund code and the APEA policies. 

Continuing Accounts

  1. For continuing APEAs, soon after the beginning of each fiscal year, which starts on May 1, Financial Services enters annual APEA entitlement budgets in Banner/FAST.   
  2. Once Financial Services has closed the previous fiscal year (late May/early June), the Financial Analyst – Fixed Assets/APEA determines the final budgetary position for each APEA.
  3. The Financial Analyst will then ensure the carryforward budget amount is entered into each APEA fund in Banner/FAST.

Overspent Accounts

  1. Monthly, Financial Services monitors APEA accounts to ensure they are not overspent.
  2. If overspending occurs, the employee will be contacted to remedy the situation. This remedy may include the employee repaying the University.
  3. Minor overspent balances at year-end may be applied against the opening budget of the following fiscal year. 

Monitoring Accounts

Employees can monitor the use and budget availability of their APEAs using the University’s FAST for Finance system. See How to Use FAST with an APEA Fund (281 KB) pdf. For questions regarding an APEA account, contact Financial Services at 306-337-3159.

Purchases from APEA Funds

Purchase orders will not be issued where the charge is against an APEA except as follows:

  • computer or other equipment exceeding $5,000; or
  • goods ordered in the University’s name.

These exceptions can be requested from Supply Management Services, with written approval from the employee's direct supervisor.

Claiming Expenses

To obtain reimbursement, an employee must complete the University’s most recent Reimbursement Claim Form, have it signed by their supervisor, and send it to Financial Services, in compliance with the relevant policy:

In addition, the following guidelines apply to APEA funds:

  • An expenditure must occur before a claim can be made.
  • Expenditures must be made and submitted within the fiscal year which ends April 30, but are not to be submitted more than four times per year. Reimbursement Claims should be greater than $75 except for a final fiscal year-end claim made in April.
  • The lesser of actual and reasonable expenses may be claimed for meals. Where actual expenses are claimed, attach original itemized meal receipts showing GST paid. Where reasonable expenses as shown in EMP-050-005 Travel are claimed, this is considered a per diem and GST is calculated using a formula.
  • Entertainment and meal expenses must be supported by receipts and a statement of those entertained/fed and the reason.
  • Registration fees are to be supported by receipts or copy of registration forms and proof of payment. Registration fees which are tax deductible must not be used for personal tax purposes if reimbursed by the University.
  • Allowable costs are those for employees only; costs for non-employees are not permissible except as included in meals or entertainment resulting from a University meeting or event. Expenses for an employee’s spouse or other family members are not eligible.
  • Items of expenditure for which receipts are required but are missing must be described in detail or the amounts may be deducted from the claim.
  • Items originally purchased with APEA funds may be personally bought from the University by the APEA holder. See information below under "Leaving the University".

Participating in the APEA Computer Purchase Program (includes smartphones)

  1. To initiate the Computer Purchase Program, the purchase price of the computer system must meet or exceed $500.  
  2. Supply Management Services is authorized to provide guidance and direction in the selection of a computer system, in collaboration with the employee, with the understanding that equipment to be purchased be selected based on the list of supported equipment in OPS-080-015 Supported Hardware, Software and Mobile Devices. Maintenance and support of non-supported equipment shall be the responsibility of the employee.
  3. The employee should request peripherals at the same time as the computer system, to reduce administrative costs.
  4. The employee may contribute additional personal funds towards the purchase of the computer system. Such contributions do not constitute a charitable donation, and the asset will remain property of the University regardless of the amount personally contributed.
  5. After a computer system is purchased, the employee may execute a Computer Purchase Agreement to allocate the total purchase cost to the current plus three years' future APEA entitlement, in equal annual amounts. This allocation requires the University to advance the funds for the purchase, and such funds bear interest at a rate equal to prime plus 1%. This interest and principal is deducted annually in May as a first charge against each new year's APEA budget entitlement.
  6. Arrangements to set up a Computer Purchase Agreement can be made by contacting the Financial Services Financial Analyst - Fixed Assets/APEA.
  7. The employee ensures that the computer system has been entered on the University Fixed Asset Inventory and barcoded, in compliance with OPS-010-045 Management of Assets.
  8. If the equipment is to be located off campus, a Declaration Regarding Use of University Property Off Campus form must be completed and sent to Financial Services.
  9. The employee maintains and repairs the computer system at his/her expense. Such costs may be claimed for reimbursement on the APEA if sufficient funds are available in that year.
  10. Should an employee be granted a leave without pay during the term of this agreement, the University will recalculate the interest based on the period of leave and may allow an extension of the term over the period of leave.

Leaving the University

APEA budgets are pro-rated based on retirement, resignation, or termination date. When an individual leaves the University, the remaining (prorated) APEA balance is returned to a central pool of funds for APEA budgets unless Financial Services is otherwise directed. Prior to leaving the University, an employee may request that the remaining APEA balance be transferred to another fund or charitable cause at the University. Donation receipts are not issued for APEA amounts donated to another fund.

If the prorated APEA balance is negative at the time of termination, the individual must repay the balance to the University.

The title to all physical items purchased from APEA funds rests with the University, including research equipment, furniture, computer equipment and peripherals, books, etc. This is the case even if the individual has used some personal funds to purchase the asset. All such items are to remain in the faculty or department in which the individual resided. If these APEA purchased assets are located in the employee’s home, they must be returned to the faculty or department. If the returned asset was purchased under the Computer Purchase Program, and if there are still amounts owing, the faculty or department will be responsible to pay any remaining outstanding balance owing on the APEA related to that asset.

With approval of the Dean or Director, an individual may personally purchase assets which were originally purchased with APEA funds. The cost to purchase would be the greater of: (a) any amount owing under the Computer Purchase Program; or (b) fair market value, less the amount the individual paid personally when the asset was originally purchased. The Dean or Director should not unreasonably deny such request but may deny the request if the item(s) are needed in the faculty or unit. The individual arranges to have the asset appraised for fair market value through Supply Management Services. The employee must ensure that any electronic devices that have data storage capability are properly decommissioned before being purchased from the University (see Salvage/Surplus Procedure). Supply Management Services notifies Financial Services of the assets disposed and provides the proceeds to Financial Services to be deposited to the credit of the faculty or department after any amounts owing have been paid off.

The fair market value of computer systems and peripheral equipment purchased with APEA funds is deemed to decrease 3% per month after the original purchase date and have a fair market value of nil after 34 months. For cellular and smart phones, the fair market value is deemed to decrease 4% per month after the original purchase date and have a fair market value of nil after 25 months. The fair market value at date of purchase is the original purchase cost, or in the case of no-cost cell phone plans, the cost of the item if the cell phone was purchased outright.

An individual who is appointed as Professor Emeritus may continue to use the equipment for University related purposes. However, title to the equipment remains with the University. Once a Professor Emeritus is no longer performing University related duties, the equipment must be returned to the University or purchased as outlined above.

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