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An honorarium is considered a payment or reward where the primary interest is to confer distinction on or to symbolize respect, esteem, or admiration for the recipient. Honorariums must be for payments to professional persons for services rendered where custom or propriety forbids the setting of fees.

If the person requests that you pay for their travel expenses and/or their services than it is not an honorarium situation. They should be treated as an independent contractor and a contract is required. Regardless of whether it is an honorarium or a contract situation if the amount is going to exceed $5,000 a purchase order will need to be requested.

An honorarium is inclusive of the recipient’s time and travel. It is meant to cover a reasonable amount to assist with their expenses as well as a token of appreciation for their time.

  • The department determines the appropriate amount to pay an individual or guest that performs a service for your department.
  • The individual or guest does not invoice the department
  • The department can elect to pay just an honorarium to the non-employee and no travel expenses.
  • The honorarium expenses are processed on a small purchase voucher using account code 51950.
  • Use Special Category ID 99920 when processing an honorarium <$5,000.  Payments of $5,000 or above must be submitted on a purchase requisition.

Departments shall document invitations with a form letter and it shall include the amount of the honorarium offered. This will be used as the “invoice” when the payment is entered into the voucher system for processing.  Below is a “sample” honorarium letter.  If you need any further assistance please contact the DASA Finance Office.

Dear Name,

This letter is to confirm details on whatever the person is doing to be paid the honorarium.

In appreciation of your what they will be doing (speaking, presenting, etc) we will pay you an honorarium in the amount of $XXXX.   (If applicable) In addition to this honorarium we will also be making your travel arrangements to include airfare and hotel.  AND/OR we will reimbursement for the following costs (mileage, meals at per diem, etc) OR whatever expenses you are going to pay for.  (If you are going to be reimbursing anything other than meals (which are paid at per diem) you’ll also need to put that they will need to provide you with receipts.)

Please sign and date below to confirm you have received this information.

Thank you,

Department Head/Director

_______________________________________            _________________

Remember you’ll need to set the individual up as a vendor in the A/P system and for that they will need to complete a W-9 form. (REMINDER – a completed W-9 should NEVER be transmitted via email for security reasons.) If you want to be able to hand them the check while they are on campus you will need to get the vendor set up and the invoice entered at least two weeks prior to their visit. If payment is from state or federal funds, this amount shall cover all expenses, including travel expenses, incurred by the non-employee in lieu of a separate reimbursement.

Processing Honorariums Handout

Controller’s office Honorarium webpage