Newsletter 2021-2022 Volume 3


Monthly Closing Calendars

The August 2021 period in the general ledger has closed. When running your reports, please keep in mind that the reporting environment has a 24-hour delay in displaying data. The current and future month-end processing deadline schedules are located at Monthly Closing Deadlines.

Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) – IRS Form 990-T

Florida International University is required by Federal law to prepare an income tax return for net income from activities unrelated to the exempt mission of the University.  This tax return (Form 990-T) must be filed annually with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The IRS has provided the following criteria to identify activities that are unrelated to the mission of an exempt organization.  An activity is an unrelated business (and subject to unrelated business income tax “UBIT”) if it meets three requirements: (1) It is a “trade or business”; (2) It is “regularly carried on”; and (3) It is “not substantially related” to furthering FIU’s exempt purpose.  Since these terms are given a specific meaning within the rules set forth by the IRS and several important exceptions exist, guidelines for these criteria are available from the Tax Compliance office for your review.

The Tax Compliance office has begun gathering the data for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021 and cannot identify all activities that are unrelated and subject to Federal income tax from the accounting records alone. Therefore, we are asking that all Departments review their operations for the 2020-2021 fiscal-year and determine what activities, if any, are potentially unrelated business income.  Please keep in mind that Florida International University must account for and report all unrelated business income pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code.

Some departments may have received lost revenue reimbursements, from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF), for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021. Do not report this revenue as UBI even when the reimbursement was for lost revenue that would normally be treated as UBI. The lost revenue reimbursement is Federal Aid and not subject to UBI.

Please note that due to recent changes in the tax law, departments that conduct several unrelated activities, (rentals, advertising income, admission fee income, etc.) must complete a separate UBIT questionnaire and UBIT income statement for each activity. Do not combine multiple activities onto a single questionnaire and income statement.

A reminder email was sent on August 24, 2021, to those Department Heads & Finance Managers with UBIT activity in prior years, with links to the UBIT questionnaire and additional UBIT information. If you did not receive the email and have UBI to report or want additional guidance, the information is also available on the Controller’s website at the following link:

If your department does not generate Unrelated Business Income (UBI) and only conducts educational activities, you do not need to return the UBI Questionnaire.  If you have questions about unrelated business income or are conducting an activity/collecting revenue and are unsure if reporting is required, please contact or call (305) 348-2655.

Please submit your UBI information no later than September 27, 2021

Limiting Allowable Hotel Expenses Continues for FY-2021

We have received the following guidance from the Office of the General Counsel:

House Bill (HB) 5003 Section 104. In order to implement appropriations in the 2020-2021 General Appropriations Act for state employee travel and notwithstanding s. 112.061, Florida Statutes, costs for lodging associated with a meeting, conference, or convention organized or sponsored in whole or in part by a state agency or the judicial branch may not exceed $175 per day. An employee may expend his or her own funds for any lodging expenses in excess of $175 per day. This section expires July 1, 2022.

As of August 1, 2021, the cost for lodging for FIU employees associated with a meeting, conference, or convention organized or sponsored in whole or in part by FIU may not exceed $175.00 per day if paid with state funding (E & G). Amounts over $175.00 must be paid with personal funds. Please note that the lodging limitation of $175.00 applies only to lodging for a meeting, conference, or convention organized or sponsored in whole or in part by FIU. It does not apply to lodging for a meeting, conference, or convention organized or sponsored by other entities, including other state agencies.

Departments must ensure the requirements of this law are met when establishing lodging for FIU employees attending FIU sponsored events.

Auto Rental (Foreign Travel)

When traveling to a foreign country, car rental is restricted to a compact vehicle and Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) is the only insurance allowed. If the car rental company has mandatory fees, documentation of fees or written justification must be provided with the expense report. The traveler must provide written justification for renting a larger vehicle. If traveling with others, include a list of the other passengers with their respective Travel Authorization and /or Expense Report numbers. If traveling with equipment or extra baggage, provide a detailed list and explanation.

Reminders & Deadlines


Help us to expedite approving Travel Authorizations, Cash Advances, and Expense Reports. Documents that have not been completely finalized and are older than 90 days will be cancelled or deleted by the Travel Department. A list of pending documents is located here. Information regarding report status abbreviations and how to close or cancel Travel Authorizations and/or Expense Reports can be found here.

Departmental Card Deadlines

As a reminder, departmental card billing transactions regularly load the first business day of the month; program participants will have 10 days to process this activity in its entirety. This month’s billing statement (dated August 31, 2021) loaded into PantherSoft on September 1, 2021, and must be entirely processed by the end of the business day on September 15, 2021.

Any charges not processed by the closing deadline will be automatically charged to the cardholder’s default accounting on file and will not be eligible for a transfer. Cardholders with three unjustified non-approvals in the same fiscal year will have their card suspended until they complete a retraining session.