Wireless Telecommunication Equipment Allowance Policy

Section: IV. ADVS – 423
Approved By: Dr. Pamela J. Transue, 11/29/11
Last Review: 11/23/11
Last Revision: 11/23/11
Prior Revisions: None
Initial Adoption: 06/15/11


The President or appropriate Vice President may authorize compensation in the form of an allowance for employees who use their personal TCE for College business. 

  • The allowance is not based on a particular title, position or seniority, nor is it considered an entitlement of employment. 
  • Simple convenience is not a criterion for such an allowance and it may be changed and / or withdrawn at any time. 
  • The policy assumes that for most employees the TCE will be used for both personal and business use. 

An allowance may be authorized if at least one of the following two criteria is met:

  • The job function of the employee requires considerable time outside of their assigned office or work area and it is important to the College that they are accessible during those times.
  • The job function of the employee requires them to be accessible outside of the scheduled or normal working hours.

Exceptions - There may be rare circumstances where the allowance level must be adjusted due to extenuating conditions.  The President, upon recommendation from a Vice-President will approve exceptions. 

College owned TCE’s and data plans may be provided by the College.


Tacoma Community College offers a non-taxable allowance for wireless telecommunication equipment service to employees whose duties and responsibilities require them to use such devices for College business, as allowed by IRS regulations. This policy applies to both personally owned and College owned telecommunication equipment.

To Whom Does This Policy Apply

This policy applies to all employees of the College.


Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, Section 2043 - effective taxable year beginning after 12/31/09.  Revision of IRS Code of 1986, subparagraph (A) of section 280F(d)(4);

IR-2011-93, September 14, 2011 - Notice 2011-72;

IRS Memo for all Field Examination Operations, September 14, 2011 Control #SBSE-04-0911-083.


Wireless telecommunication equipment (TCE): applies to cell phones and wireless devices used for voice, data, text and/or e-mail communications.   This includes but is not limited to cell phones, cell phones with data plans, tablet PC’s (I-pads), wireless modems. 

Personally owned TCE: those devices that the employee owns, and additionally are used for business purposes. 

College owned TCE: are those owned by the College and used by employees and / or departments for business purposes.


Approval of Allowance

Employees whose duties and responsibilities require them to carry telecommunication equipment are eligible for an allowance.  A TCE allowance may be requested using the Wireless Telecommunication Equipment (TCE) Allowance Agreement form located on the portal under Forms/Publications either at Campus Financial Services or Human Resources.   The wireless TCE Allowance Agreement Form must be completed, and with a copy of a current service bill attached, forwarded to the President or appropriate Vice President for approval/signature.  Allowances expire at the end of the fiscal year, June 30, and must be renewed annually using agreement form. 

Allowance Amount

The recommended dollar allowance is based on individual job requirements. The allowance may not be in excess of the employee’s service plan.  The approved service options are displayed on the Wireless TCE Allowance Agreement form located on the portal under Forms/Publications either at Campus Financial Services or Human Resources.

Departmental policy regarding issuing allowances may be more (but not less) restrictive than College policy.  For example, management may set lower maximum dollar amounts to reflect reduced budget resources. 

 The President or appropriate Vice-President may approve other amounts.

The employee is responsible for the purchase of the telecommunication equipment to be used, the selection of and the enrollment in an appropriate service plan, termination clauses and payment terms and penalties.  Costs for cosmetic or technical extras that have no business purpose and additional expenses incurred under the employee’s service plan such as long distance fees, roaming fees and over-minutes usage are the personal responsibility of the employee.

Any TCE purchased by the College is College property. 


The TCE allowance is paid through Payroll and is included in the employee’s check/direct deposit.  The allowance shows as a separate line item on the employee’s Earnings & Leave payment information available on the portal.

This allowance does not increase the employee’s base salary, and is considered a non-taxable benefit. 

Using the Telecommunication Equipment Service

If the TCE is personally owned by the employee this policy assumes it will be used for both personal and business purposes.  An employee with a TCE allowance must maintain an active contract for the life of the allowance.   Misuse of the equipment – using it in ways inconsistent with College policy or with local, state or federal laws or vendor policies – will result in immediate cancellation of the allowance.  

 Business and Review Requirements

The employee’s supervisor is responsible for an annual review of the business need for a TCE allowance to determine if allowances should be changed or discontinued.

For audit purposes, the College reserves the right to request, at any time during the fiscal year, a current communication carrier service bill to assure compliance with the signed allowance agreement. 

If an employee is terminated, resigns, transfers or is no longer eligible for a College TCE allowance, the employee’s supervisor should promptly notify HR to discontinue the allowance payment by submitting a revised TCE Allowance Request Form noting “Discontinue Allowance as of xx/xx/xx” in the business justification section of the form.

Any TCE used for business purposes may be “searchable” in the event of legal action or public disclosure requests.  The employee must abide by the College Data Confidentiality and Security Policy and review the Data Security guide.

 College Owned Telecommunication Equipment

There are some circumstances where wireless telecommunication equipment and service may be provided by the College.

  • Service and cell phone/wireless modem procurement – Cell phones and service providers may be arranged directly with the desired vendor when approved by the appropriate Vice President and charged to the department P-card..    A list of carriers and vendor contacts is available from Information Systems.
  • Tablet PC’s, including I-pads, are to be purchased through using departments.   Equipment purchases and data plans must be approved by the appropriate Vice President Data plans are arranged with the desired vendor and charged to the department P-card.  A list of carriers and vendor contacts is available from Information Systems. Usage tracking and review - It is the responsibility of the department to review monthly vendor provided invoices for appropriate useage and request detailed invoices if expenses appear non-routine.