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James Madison University Cell Phone and Internet Stipend Program

Because of business need, and in the course of carrying out job responsibilities, wireless phone and data services are becoming a preferred method for carrying out business communications.

Due to Federal tax regulations, the IRS requires detailed documentation of business use for payment of employee business expenses not otherwise allowed as non-taxable benefits.

The IRS considers cell phone and internet services a taxable fringe benefit unless business and personal use can be substantiated through detailed documentation.

The Stipend Program was created to alleviate the significant administrative burden, on both employees and the university, of providing the extensive substantiation required to fulfill IRS reporting requirements.

James Madison University will now offer a taxable stipend for employees whose duties and responsibilities require wireless phone access and/or internet access. Effective September 1, 2010, the university will NOT pay for additional services for Apple iPads™. (The only exception is if an individual does not have a cell phone stipend and they own an Apple iPad™. With Vice Presidential approval, a stipend may be granted).

The Stipend Program is designed to compensate for the business use portion of your service.

Pre-determined criteria and stipend amounts, including several levels of compensation, have been chosen. Departments should use this opportunity to evaluate current use and level of business need. 

A website has been created to help employees and supervisors understand and comply with the new JMU Cell Phone and Internet Stipend Program.