Newsletter 2022-2023 Volume 2


Monthly Closing Deadlines

The August 2022 period in the general ledger has closed.  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, 2022 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 2021-2022 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, 2022. 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 25, 2022, 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 a revenue generating activity, and are unsure if reporting is required, please contact or call (305) 348-2655 for more information.

Please submit your UBI information no later than September 30, 2022.

Procurement Services Category Teams

Procurement Services mission is to be strategic procurement experts who deliver best in class, total cost reduction solutions while providing outstanding customer service and process efficiencies while complying with statutory and regulatory requirements.  To help achieve our mission and better service the FIU community Procurement Services has updated the category code buyer mapping.  We have four category teams dedicated to specific goods and services. At a high level, we’ve listed below the categories supported per team. For specific category codes, please refer to the spreadsheet linked here. Contact information can be found in the Office of the Controller About Us web page located at  


Supervisor: Yakov Zade, Procurement Agent 3

Buyer: Pam Johnson, Procurement Agent 2

Categories Supported:

Information Technology Supplies, IT Consulting Services, Computer Equipment and Supplies, Office Supplies, Educational Supplies, Courier Services, Athletics Categories, Athletic Equipment, Books, Audio Visual Equipment and Supplies, Library Supplies, Software Maintenance, Software Licenses, Communication Equipment, Printers, Copiers, Subscriptions, Memberships, Software, Communication Charges, Purchases for Resale, Rental of IT Equipment, Office Equipment.


Supervisor: Cheryl Cobb, Procurement Agent 3

Buyer: Donald Corbitt, Procurement Agent 2

Categories Supported:

Gift Cards, Participant Payments, Chemicals, Clothing & Uniforms, Lab Equipment and Supplies, Medical Equipment and Supplies, Pharmaceuticals, Subcontracts, Works of Art, Lab/Scientific Equipment Maintenance & Repair, Medical & Research Services, Fabricated Equipment, Moving Expenses.


Supervisor: Agatha Bober, Procurement Agent 3

Buyer: Perla Gonzalez, Procurement Agent 2

Categories Supported:

Janitorial Supplies, Building & Construction Supplies, Airconditioning Supplies, Maintenance Supplies, Electrical Supplies & Services, Utilities, Paint Supplies & Services, Plumbing Supplies, Construction Services, Repairs & Maintenance, Janitorial Supplies & Services, Furniture, Alarm Systems Equipment, Public Safety Equipment, Boats, Plant Equipment, Modular Trailers, Motor Vehicles.


Supervisor: Elsa Alfonso, Procurement Agent 3

Buyer: Tere Portuondo, Procurement Agent 2

Categories Supported:

Advertising, Marketing Services, Catering, Insurance, Registration Fees, Sponsorships, Printing Services, Travel Services, Signage, Legal Services, Document Shredding Services, Promotional Items, Captioned Services, Editorial Services, Graphic Arts Services, Mailing Services, Stage Hardware and Supplies, Video Production, Education and Training Services, HR Consulting, Transportation Services, Examination and Testing, Records Management Services, Artistic Services, Chartering Services, Interpreter Services, Workshop Facilitation, Student Activities Services, Instruction Services, Sign Language Services, Transcription Services, Translation Services, Theatrical Services, Writing Services, Amusement and Entertainment Services, Engraving Services, Event Planning Services, Accreditation Fees, Hotel Accommodations, Space Rental or Lease, Guard & Security Services.

International Travel Screening and Reporting and Foreign Influence Risk Travel

Screening and Reporting Requirements

Prior to departing abroad, all employee travelers, not their proxy, must complete, as part of the TAR workflow, a short questionnaire pertaining to foreign influence and other travel risks, as well as acknowledge their understanding of FIU foreign travel guidance. Contingent on the traveler’s responses and where the destination is a Foreign Country of Concern (FCC), which includes China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela, a compliance reviewer will promptly communicate any risk mitigation measures, if necessary, to the traveler. Once the compliance reviewer is satisfied that risks have been addressed, the TAR will follow the regular process towards approval by the supervisor. This process was already embedded in the TAR workflow since Summer 2021, and travelers have navigated it successfully.


Upon return from an international trip, all employee travelers must report any payments or honoraria made directly to the traveler or on behalf of the traveler (i.e., to cover some or all expenses) by an entity or person, including for travel, food, or lodging at any time related to the trip. Payments on the traveler’s behalf may include some or all expenses, or other complimentary items provided, that are not promotional items customarily given at conferences, such as pens, plaques, etc. Should one or more international destination(s) be an FCC, additional information will be required. It will be the proxy’s responsibility to obtain this information from the traveler and to enter it together with all other expense records in the ER. The traveler will be asked to certify the accuracy and completeness of the information by signing the ER. This post-trip process will be effective in PantherSoft as of July 1, 2022. Travelers who went abroad between January 1 and July 1, 2022, have already or will receive an email request to report this information via a Qualtrics survey.


Guidance on How to Navigate the New Processes

Detailed information on international travel, foreign influence, and compliance concerns is available on our Guidance for International Travel website.

Limiting Allowable Hotel Expenses Continues for FY-2023

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 2022-2023 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 on July 1, 2023.

As of August 1, 2022, 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 this law’s requirements are met when lodging for FIU employees attending FIU-sponsored events.

Car Rental Reservation Portal

Florida International University uses the State of Florida contract with Avis and Budget for renting vehicles. University employees in need of a rental car for official business will need to use the following website to make their reservations: STATE OF FLORIDA RESERVATION PORTAL.

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.

Card Security: Card Sharing

Each Cardholder is responsible for the security of the Card assigned to them. All precautions should be used to maintain confidentiality of all information relating to the card, such as the Cardholder account number and expiration date. University issued card or card number should always be protected and kept in a secure location.  The only person authorized to use university issued Card is the Cardholder whose name appears on the face of the card.  Under no circumstances will a card and/or card number be given or loaned out to another person or e-mailed in its entirety.

 Any Cardholder sharing their Card information or allowing another individual to use their Card for purchases may have their card privileges revoked.

Credit Card Reconciliation: Supporting Documentation

As a reminder, when reconciling Pcard transactions, scanning and attaching of receipts and supporting documentation is mandatory. Additionally, all transactions must have a clearly stated business purpose/justification included in the support.

While all charges must still be approved within 10 business days, Approvers will have thru the end of the calendar month to complete attaching all documentation. Examples of supporting documentation include:

  • Flyers
  • Print samples
  • Agendas
  • Quotes
  • Attendance Sheets

Reminders & Deadlines

Departmental Card Deadline

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, 2022) loaded into PantherSoft on September 2, 2022  and must be completely processed by the end of the business day, September 15, 2022.

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

Pending Travel Reports

Please approve Travel Authorizations, Cash Advances, and Expense reports in a timely manner. Documents that have not been completely finalized and are older than 90 days will be canceled or deleted by the Travel Department.  A list of pending documents is located here.  For information regarding report status abbreviations and how to close or cancel Travel Authorizations and/or Expense Reports, please click here.