Student Organizations

Funding and Budget Management

Funding and Budget Management

Reimbursement forms are available in the Dean of Students Office.

*All Universal Expense Forms need to be signed by your student organizationís treasurer before they can be processed.

A wide variety of student organizations and activities are funded through the Dean of Students Office. Funding decisions are made by the Student Funding Board and the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office makes every effort to ensure that the limited funds are allocated in an equitable manner and that the organizations and activities funded will adequately represent the interests, needs, and concerns of the HLS community.

Funding is intended to promote students' efforts to further their legal education outside the classroom, to provide opportunities for intellectual discourse and social interaction among students with varied interests and perspectives, and to assist students in making satisfying career choices. Funding is also intended to enable students to share common cultural and life experiences and to provide opportunities for students to serve others within the HLS community or society at large. Funding is intended to benefit the HLS community.

Treasurer
Fiscal Year
Fundraising
Record Keeping
Budget Allocations
Accessing Funds
Co-Sponsorship
IRS Compliance
Bank Accounts and Taxes
Tax Identification Number

Treasurer

All student organizations must appoint or elect one person who is responsible for all financial matters. This person's name, address, phone number, and e-mail address must be registered with the Dean of Students Office each fall before the organization may access its budget. The treasurer must hold the position through June 30 due to the financial reporting schedule at Harvard University.

Each organization's treasurer is responsible for overseeing the budget and submitting budget requests to the Dean of Students Office. The treasurer is also responsible for assuring that the organization stays within budget. Therefore, all requests for reimbursements or payments must have the signed approval of the organization's treasurer. Treasurers are required to keep accurate records and should keep copies of all documents relating to financial affairs. All requests for payment must be processed by the Dean of Students Office. Any group that receives income from any source other than the Dean of Students Office (e.g., dues, admission fees, fundraising activities) must deposit these funds through the Dean of Students Office.

Fiscal Year

The fiscal year at Harvard University and HLS runs from July 1 to June 30. At the end of the fiscal year, all unexpended funds revert to the University, all outstanding bills are billed to the next year's budget, and all errors in billing or accounting are irrevocable. These policies are enforced by the University. The Dean of Students Office is not able to affect this process.

At the end of the academic year, treasurers are responsible for notifying the Dean of Students Office about any pending expenses or reimbursements that will affect their organizationís account. To avoid problems, every effort should be made to submit bills and reimbursements by the end of the Spring Exam Period. The end of the academic and fiscal year is a busy time in the University and payments will often lag several weeks after reimbursements are submitted.

Fundraising

Before beginning any fundraising effort, you must meet with the Dean of Students office. We will place you in contact with the Development Office and review the guidelines for reporting the funds. Funds raised through outside sources must be used for the specific event for which they were raised.

HLS and Harvard University limit solicitation of alumni for funds. Any request for funds from HLS or Harvard alumni, or from law firms requires the advance approval of the Law School Development Office. Please contact Dan Hart (dhart@law.harvard.edu) with questions.

Record Keeping

The treasurer must keep a record of all expenditures, broken down by expenditure category (e.g. airfare, meals, lodging, copying, etc.). This information will be crucial to completion of the required Midyear Activity Reports and the Funding Application.

Budget Allocations

In the spring, each student organization has the opportunity to request funding from the Student Funding Board.

Accessing Funds

Co-Sponsorship

Student organizations are strongly encouraged to work together to plan events. For any co-sponsored event, the treasurer from one of the participating student organizations should be responsible for accounting for all expenses relating to the event and providing this information to the Dean of Students Office. In addition, the treasurer from each of the participating organizations must confirm their contribution by sending an email to the Dean of Students Office.

As soon as possible after the event has taken place, all relevant receipts from the event and a completed Universal Expense Form should be submitted to the Dean of Students Office. All funding for internal expenses (e.g. Restaurant Associates, Media Services, HPPS, etc.) will be transferred electronically.

Please note that funding for all groups at Harvard, including many within HLS, comes from a wide array of sources. Due to IRS rules, the sources of each of these funds must be kept separate and accounted for independently.

IRS Compliance

Harvard University's financial system is designed to be compliant with the increasingly stringent regulatory environment in the United States. To this end, compliance with IRS regulations prohibits certain activities because of Harvard University's status as a non-profit institution. The University will not process reimbursement or payment for activities which are not allowable (see Reimbursement for Authorized Spending for information on allowable expenses).

In a practical sense, this means that the following student organization activities are either limited or not allowed:

Bank Accounts and Taxes

The Dean of Students Office does not encourage student organizations to keep their own bank accounts, and most organizations find no need for an outside bank account. Organizations with outside funding and an outside bank accounts are solely responsible for fulfilling IRS requirements, including obtaining a federal tax ID number from the IRS and filing income tax forms. Neither Harvardís tax ID number nor tax exempt number may be used for an organization's outside bank account. The treasurer or the organization itself (not Harvard University) is liable for noncompliance with IRS regulations.

If you have questions, please contact the Dean of Students Office. Organizations should also make sure that more than one person's name is on the account so the organization may access the account in case of an emergency or if the signatory has graduated, is on leave, or is otherwise unavailable. Please note that the organization is also responsible for filing any tax forms associated with to the account's activity.

Getting a Tax Identification Number

Student organizations with outside bank account(s) must obtain a federal tax ID number. You may not use Harvard's tax I.D. number or tax exempt number, and you should not use an individual's social security number since it will make that individual liable to pay taxes. The federal tax ID number is the equivalent of an individual's Social Security number and is used to identify bank accounts and for tax purposes. To obtain a federal tax ID number, contact the Internal Revenue Service directly. Student organization officers should make sure their organization's bank account and federal tax ID number is written down and transmitted to new officers; the Dean of Students Office does not have this information on file.