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Honorarium Payment Guide

This guide provides information on how to obtain an honorarium payment for an individual in recognition of an academic activity.

For complicated situations, please contact the FAST/AP Help line at 459-4488 with questions, or locate your representative directly.​​​​

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  • Before you start

    An honorarium is a payment to an individual in recognition of a special or distinguished service for which propriety precludes setting a fixed price. Activities include a lecture, concert, participation in a workshop or seminar, speaking engagement, or appraisal of a manuscript for professional publication. Both employees and non-employees are eligible to receive honorarium payments, however, UC employees must be paid through the payroll system.

    Special Conditions
    Be aware of the following special conditions applying to this type of transaction. Payment as an honorarium may not be made for the following services:

    • Speaking performances sponsored by UCSC Arts & Lectures or other nonacademic units are paid as a Performance payments. Refer to the Performance Payment Guide for more information
    • Independent consultant services
    • Independent contractor services
    • Faculty consulting services
    • Teaching summer session or University Extension courses
    • Performing extramurally-funded research

    Tax information
    Payments may only be made to recipients with a Social Security Number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Use IRS Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, to apply for an ITIN number.

    Payment Form
    If this is the first time the recipient will be receiving a UCSC non-payroll payment, complete a Payee Setup 204 form.
    Foreign nationals may find it helpful to refer to the following checklist to assist in ensuring that all needed documents are submitted with the request for payment: Foreign National Personal Services.

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  • Eligibility

    Individuals of scholarly or professional standing invited for the following UCSC academic activities are eligible to receive an honorarium:

    • A speaking engagement
    • A special lecture, short series special lectures, or a concert, or other creative activity
    • Seminar or workshop participation, as a guest speaker or panelist, on a short-term basis
    • Appraisal of a manuscript for the Univeristy Press or an article submitted to a professional publication

    Foreign National (Nonresident)
    Visa classifications that permit a foreign national/nonresident to receive an honorarium include B-1, B-2, WB/WT, and J-1. Refer to each specific visa type for documentation requirements.

    UC Employees
    Employees of the University of California must be paid through the Payroll Office and non-employees must be paid through Accounts Payable by Direct Payment Form. Faculty may be paid up to $2,500 per event. This limit may be increased up to $5,000 by an exception to policy, however, total annual compensation for lectures or similar services as described in APM - 666-8 a and b may not exceed 10% of the faculty member's base salary. Non-employees do not have an Honorarium limit but the amount must be reasonable.

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  • Ways to pay

    Request a payment to be made by reviewing criteria below.

    • The Campus Purchasing Card cannot be used to procure this service.
    • Out-of-pocket payment for this type of expense will not be reimbursed.

    Non-UC Employees:

    • If this is the first time the recipient will be receiving a UCSC non-payroll payment, complete a Payee Setup 204 form.
    • If the recipient is a foreign visitor see above for documentation requirements in addition to the Direct Payment form and Worksheet.
    • Complete a Direct Payment form and obtain approval from an authorized expense approver.
      • Include the last 4 digits of the recipient’s social security or individual taxpayer identification number on the form.
    • Submit a completed Direct Payment form to the divisional or departmental business office for review and approval.
    • The divisional or departmental business office will submit the form and supporting documentation to the Financial Administrative Services and Transactions/Accounts Payable Office (FAST/AP) for processing.

    UC Employee from Another Location

    UCSC Employee

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  • Authorization and approval

    • Only an individual with written delegated authority provided on the Signature Authorization Approval Form may approve the payment.
    • An employee having delegated authority may not approve his or her own reimbursement or payment request.

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  • Tax withholding and reporting

    Important things to know:

    • Refer to the appendices for foreign visitor tax information.
    • Refer to the appendices for general tax withholding and reporting information.

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  • Payment assignment or transfer to a third-party

    An individual who assigns or transfers compensation for personal services to another individual or entity is not relieved of Federal income tax liability.

    • An honoraria earned by an individual is reportable as additional income even if the actual payment is made to a charity or other third party
      • Requests declining the honorarium must be declared in writing prior to the event
      • For payment requests to be donated to a specific charity:
        • The individuals honorarium will not be treated as receiving taxable income
        • Individuals should be informed that the University will consider their request, but retains the discretion and control of how declined funds by the individual are to be used
    • Note: Under no circumstances may a declined honorarium be paid into an employee’s research account or other fund controlled by the employee.

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  • Funding sources

    Generally, Honorarium payments are not allowed to be made with federal funds unless a contract or grant specifically authorizes such payments. State funds may be used to pay Honoraria to individuals not employed by the University (e.g. outside speakers).

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  • Common oversights

    Speed up the payment process by avoiding these common oversights:

    • Forgetting to provide the recipient’s social security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number on the Direct Payment form.
    • Forgetting to obtain the appropriate approvals on the Direct Payment form.
    • Forgetting to attach required supporting documentation to the Direct Payment form.
    • Forgetting to submit all the pertinent visa and/or immigration documentation associated with payments made to non-resident aliens.
    • Forgetting to submit a Payee Setup 204 for a first-time reimbursement or payment recipient.
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  • Policy references

    This policy applies to this campus business process.
    Accounting Manual Section D-371-35 Disbursements: Honorarium Payments

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  • Where to get help

    Assistance is available on the following topics:

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  • Relevent Appendices

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