For several years, some employees have carried a cell phone as part of their position requirements. In most instances, the cost of the telephone and the monthly charges have been charged directly to the College or have been paid for by the employee and then reimbursed by the College. In only a few cases has the cost of carrying a cell phone been funded by increasing the salary of the employee involved to cover the cost of the phone with the employee then paying the charges. The more common approaches have become increasingly problematic. Cell phones and other similar telecommunications devices are considered “listed property” by the Internal Revenue Code and are subject to strict substantiation requirements that require all business and personal use be accounted for, with any personal use included in the wages of the employee (including a pro rata share of monthly fees). If the substantiation requirements are not met, all use is required to be included in the wages of the employee.
As a result, the College transitioned how cell phones and other telecommunications devices are compensated starting July 1, 2007 by adjusting the salary level to include such cost. Going forward, decisions about the need for a business-related cell phone/telecommunications device should be made at the time of hire and the individual’s initial salary should reflect this expectation, if appropriate. As of July 1, 2007, cell phones and telecommunications devices will no longer be reimbursed by the College. This applies to both the cost of the service and the device itself.