Cellular - Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: How do I upgrade my cellular phone or service?
A: If your cellular service is on Weber State's account:
- Contact Allison at extension 8510 to discuss your options.
- Discuss your desired change with your supervisor. Your supervisor must provide written authorization to Telecommunications for any upgrade to your cellular device or plan.
- Submit a cellular service request form with the details of your request.
If your supervisor has agreed to provide reimbursement for your new device, you will need to fill out the Employee Mobile Communication Services Agreement Form. This form should be kept in your records with the original receipt for your new device.
Reimbursement for the device can be acquired through a PAR. Cellular devices are included under "supplemental pay". Enter the date of the request under "start date" and enter the cost of the cellular device under "amount". Detail that the request is for a one time reimbursement for a cellular phone under the "remarks" section.
- Q: How do I cancel my current cellular service?
A: If your cellular service is on Weber State's account, submit a cellular service request form with the details of your request. If you have financial responsibility of your account, you must complete the cancellation process with your cellular vendor. Please be aware that personal accounts are often under a 2 year contract and the company may charge an early cancellation fee.
- Q: How do I order a new cellular service?
A: Work with the cellular vendor of your choice. For vendor details, click here.
- Q: Where can I find information about cellular plans and devices?
A: Our Cellular Plans page has information about plans and devices. Just click on the icon of the vendor you are interested in to begin your search.
- Q: How do I obtain accessories for my phone?
Cellular Policy - Details
- Q: What is WSU's new cellular phone policy?
A: You can read the full cellular policy here. If you have questions that were not covered by this FAQ, please call Allison at extension 8510.
- Q: Why has the policy changed?
A: The IRS requires that business and personal use of university owned cellular phones and other mobile devices be documented in a very detailed manner. While most departments require employees to account for and reimburse personal calls made on university cell phones, no departments are documenting and substantiating to the detail required by IRS rules. The IRS can declare that all undocumented use is personal and should be taxed, even if the calls were mostly business calls. Receiving taxable compensation for an individually owned mobile device removes this detailed documentation requirement.
- Q: What mobile communication devices are covered by the new policy?
A: The new policy and procedures apply to all cell phones, smartphones, and other devices that can be used for both university and personal business. The only mobile devices that are exempt are those that can be restricted – by nature and function – to university business only (such as a push-to-talk mobile-to-mobile communication device).
- Q: Does everyone get compensation for a personally owned mobile device?
- Q: The university provides me a cell phone with a plan that includes 600 minutes. I never exceed 600 minutes, including personal calls. Am I OK?
- Q: I only make personal cell phone calls during "free" calling periods, i.e., evenings and weekends, or by using "free" cellular to cellular calling. Because those calls are free, they don’t count, right?
A: No. You actually pay for "free" calls as a part of the base cellular service plan. So, unless you own the service, personal calls made during "free" calling times would have to be documented and reimbursed.
- Q: I have been paying for personal calls made on a university owned cell phone. Does this process meet IRS requirements?
A: Only if you are providing detailed documentation of personal use and business use and are paying a pro-rated share of your total cellular phone bill, including taxes and fees.
- Q: If I document my personal calls by marking them on my cell phone bill or statement, is that enough substantiation?
A: Under IRS rules it is not enough to mark personal calls and say that all the rest are business calls. IRS substantiation requirements include the "amount of each separate expenditure, the amount of business/investment use, the date of the expenditure or use, and the business or investment purpose."Furthermore, the IRS definition of "adequate" record keeping is that the cell phone user "shall maintain an account book, diary, statement of expense or similar record and documentary evidence which, in combination, are sufficient to establish each element of an expenditure." (See, Technical Advice Memorandum 200435022, 09/27/2004, IRC Sec(s) 4958).
- Q: Can I use a "university compensated" cell phone for personal calls?
Cellular Policy - Process
- Q: What process do I need to follow to comply with the policy?
A: A step-by-step procedure is provided below.
2. Speak with your supervisor to determine if your job requires that you carry a cellular phone. If it is decided that you do need cellular service, determine with your supervisor what level of cellular service you need.
3. If you currently have cellular service and are satisfied with your phone and your level of service, please move on to the next step. If not, you should discuss your situation with Allison Knowlton. She can inform you of your current plan details and the options available to you.
4. Complete the Employee Agreement Form. The original form will remain in your office. If you are unsure of how to fill out the agreement form, please see our example form. If you require further assistance, call Allison at extension 8510.
5. Submit a PAR for a monthly stipend and for any device reimbursements. The PAR will expire in a year and will need to be renewed. You may want to keep a copy of the PAR for your records. It is not necessary to mail a copy of the PAR to Telecommunications. Your department will be entirely responsible for the PAR renewal.
6. Submit a Cellular Service Request specifying that you would like to have your cellular account released to you. This should be done as soon as the PAR is submitted.
7. Telecommunications will contact you when your number has been released. You will be given a number to call to take responsibility for the account. You will have to provide the vendor with credit information during this call.
- Q: Where can I get a copy of the employee agreement form?
A: The form is provided here.
- Q: What kind of information should I include on the agreement form? A: Please view our example form. If you still have questions, call Allison at extension 8510.
- Q: Will I have to pass a credit check when I take financial responsibility for my cellular account?
Cellular Policy - Compensation
- Q: How will I receive compensation for my cellular plan?
A: After you complete the agreement form, work with your supervisor or department head to submit a PAR for your cellular stipend. Once your PAR is approved, you will automatically receive the monthly stipend amount in your paycheck.
- Q: How will my compensation amount be determined?
A: Department managers are responsible for determining and approving the appropriate compensation amount for an employee based on the responsibilities of the employee’s position. The determination should include the appropriate number of plan minutes, long distance calling options, data plans, and other plan features that are required for the performance of the employee’s job responsibilities.
- Q: How do I know I’m getting fair compensation?
- Q: Will I have to show my cellular telephone bills to my supervisor?
A: Only when requested to demonstrate that the level of compensation for business use is appropriate. (Personal calls can be marked out to ensure privacy.) If your job responsibilities require the use of a cellular phone or other mobile communication device – regardless of level of use – you should not have to show anyone your bill more than once a year (at the time you renew your annual agreement).
- Q: Is the compensation I receive for my university cellular phone taxable?
A: Yes. The compensation amount is taxable income. Otherwise you would still be required to provide detailed documentation of your business and personal calls. Many departments are providing their employees with an additional $20 a month to cover tax costs.
- Q: Why is the amount given for taxes so high?
A: At first glance, $20 may seem like an unnecessarily high amount, but it is important to keep in mind that there are several monthly taxes related with this process. The tax allowance will cover the stipend tax, a poison control surcharge, 911 tax, state tax, and federal tax.
- Q: Do I get retirement contributions or other benefits if I receive taxable compensation for my mobile device?
Cellular Policy - Service Plans
- Q: What if my actual business usage exceeds the amount of compensation that I receive?
A: The monthly compensation amount can be adjusted based on actual business usage – or – if your business use spikes one month, you may request an expense reimbursement for non-compensated business calls.
- Q: How do I know what cellular telephone or monthly plan to choose?
A: The device and plan you select will be based on several factors. You should consider both business and personal service coverage. Your job may not require a camera phone, but you may find a camera phone to be a good option for you personally. You should consider your calling patterns. Is unlimited long distance necessary? Would free mobile to mobile minutes be a plus? What are the chances that you may exceed your base plan minutes and be required to pay expensive overage minutes? We recommend that you consult with Telecommunications staff and shop around before making a decision.
- Q: What if the plan I want is more expensive than the plan I am approved for?
A: Once you assume financial responsibility of your cellular account, you are free to pick any plan as long as it is at least as expensive as your approved plan amount. If you choose a plan that is more expensive than your approved amount, you will pay the difference.
- Q:What if I am on a plan that does not have a flat monthly rate?
A: Pay-per-use plans will stay on Weber State's account and must be restricted to business calls only. The user must make a log of all incoming and outgoing calls with documentation of the business reason for each call.
Cellular Policy -Devices
- Q:Will I be able to keep my current phone number and my current phone?
- Q: Will I be reimbursed if I need a new phone?
A: Because cellular phones might be damaged, lost, or malfunction, the university is allowing for "reasonable use" replacements of phones. It is left to your supervisor's discretion whether you will be reimbursed for a new device and how much you will be reimbursed.
- Q: What about Smartphones – PDA/Phone combinations?
A: If your job requires that you have access to email, calendaring or other PDA functions, your supervisor may approve the purchase of a smartphone, PC card or other device that is required to perform your job. If you want a smartphone, but your job doesn’t require it, you will pay the difference between the compensation amount and the actual cost of a smartphone or other more expensive device.
Cellular Policy -Contracts
- Q:Will I be able to switch cellular carriers?
A: Yes. You may port your number over to another cellular carrier, or you may get a new service under the cellular vendor of your preference. Weber State currently has a working relationship with T-Mobile, Cingular, Verizon, and Sprint/Nextel. If you would like to have service with a carrier outside of these, you may do so on your own.
- Q:Will I be put on a contract?
- Q: What if my employment at Weber State is terminated before my contract is over?
A: Depending on the situation, Weber State might reimburse you for any early cancellation fees. This will be determined by your supervisor.
- Q: What is Weber State's policy on the use of cellular phones while driving?
A: The WSU cellular agreement specifically prohibits the use of a mobile communication device to conduct Weber State University business while operating a motor vehicle.