Tax Levy Restrictions

State funds are to be used only for the actual, ordinary and necessary expenditures that occur in the best interest of CUNY’s business operation. Unallowable Tax levy expenditures include, but are not limited to:
- donations/contributions
- third party reimbursements
- local taxi service
- entertainment (including parties, receptions, welcome, retirement & award ceremony)
- fines/penalties
- fundraising
- lobbying
- goods/services for personal use
- wine/liquor
- gifts/gift cards
- New York State taxes
- valet parking (NEW)
- travel insurance (NEW)
- attorney fees (NEW)
- software (NEW)
- and any other expenses that are deemed unacceptable.


Accounts Payable

The Accounts Payable Department

In compliance with the Federal, State and local policies that govern CUNY colleges, the Accounts Payable department is responsible for the processing of payments from the Graduate Center’s OTPS tax levy budget.  Purchase orders, invoices, receiving reports, packing slips and NYS vouchers are reviewed for completeness and accuracy before the expenditures are recorded in CUNYfirst and charged against the user department’s allocations.  The transactions are then bulkloaded to the Statewide Financial System (SFS) where they are audited and payments are generated by the Office of the State Comptroller.

The Accounts Payable department is also responsible for processing travel and non-travel reimbursements, honoraria, student stipends, creating and managing vendor requests, CUNYfirst access as well as the Travel and Expense profiles for all expense users.  All of those business processes are performed in CUNYfirst, where they are grouped under three different modules: the Procurement module, the Travel and Expense (T&E) module, and the Procurement-Other (P-Card) module.

The Accounts Payable Office is located in room 8105 and can be reached at 212-817-7620 or Please feel free to email your feedback and suggestions.

Business Procedures for the Procurement Module

All college acquisitions, with the exceptions of a valid credit card purchase and a pre-approved emergency purchase, require a requisition in CUNYfirst. Please refer to the following manuals for assistance:

Honoraria:  An honorarium is a payment to an individual for services for which fees are not traditionally required, such as a guest lecturer or speaker, and is given as a gesture of good will and appreciation.  There is no contractual agreement and both the honorarium payment and the amount are discretionary; it is not a fee charged by the speaker.  In this case, continue to use the honoraria procedural guidelines and forms.

An Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA) is a contract used for all other services that are outside the scope of an honorarium.  For example, the ICA is used for a speaker when the amount paid is not discretionary or when the agreement has other negotiated terms such as travel expenses or if the event suggests that the speaker will be giving multiple presentations, or the individual is a professional speaker, etc.  The ICA must be reviewed and signed by the Director of Purchasing and Contract.

To create a honorarium payment request (review the Honorarium Payment Procedures):

1.  For a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident who is NOT a CUNY employee: Verify that the payee is already setup in the CUNY Vendor File (Set ID: STAPR). If s/he is not, complete the CUNY Vendor Registration Form / Substitute W-9 and submit to the Vendor Management Unit.
     - Create a Purchase Requisition in CUNYfirst
     - Complete the NYS Standard Voucher
     - Complete the GD-5
     - A CV or short biography from the payee for all payments over
     - Attach the supporting documents showing the business purpose of the request (original receipts, flyers, etc.) and send package to Accounts Payable.

2.  For a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident who is currently a CUNY senior college employee: verify that the payee is already setup in the CUNY Vendor file (Set ID: EMPPS). If s/he is not, complete the Employee Data Update Sheet and submit to Accounts Payable along with the following forms:
     - The NYS Standard Voucher
     - The GD-5
     - The Employee Determination Worksheet
     - A CV or short biography from the payee for all payments over
     - The supporting documents showing the business purpose of the request.
Note that if the individual is employed by a CUNY senior college the honorarium payment will be processed through Payroll.

For a CUNY community college employee, the request will be forwarded to the Budget Office for a budget transfer to the ‘home’ community college where the payment will be processed.

3.  For Nonresident persons (vendor registration not required): complete the following forms, attach the required supporting documentation listed below and submit package to Accounts Payable:
     - The NYS Standard Voucher
     - The GD-5
     - The Tax Compliance Notification Sheet
     - The NRA Visitor - Honorarium Payment Form
     - The Payroll Transmittal Form for NRA
     - A CV or short biography from the payee for all payments over
     - The Sprintax Tax Summary Report (Sprintax is CUNY's online tax compliance system for nonresident persons)

The following additional supporting documents are required as per the tax compliance system:
     - Proof of visa type: copy of visa sticker/stamp in passport
     - Proof of admission into the U.S.: I-94, I-94(W) or ESTA form
     - Certificate of Eligibility, such as Form DS-2019 for J-1 visa

Business Procedures for the Travel and Expense Module

This module is designed only for CUNY employees who will be claiming travel and personal reimbursements.  Please refer to the following guidelines.

  • To request access to the Travel and Expenses module in CUNYfirst:

1. As an Expense User:
   - Complete the T&E Access Request Form (right click on the hyperlink and select "Download Linked File" to download the form).
   - Complete the CUNYfirst Employee Data Update Form
   - Return both forms in person or by interoffice mail to the Business Office, attention Belinda Desrosiers in Room 8105.05

2. As a Proxy or a Supervisor/Delegate Approver:
   - Complete the T&E Access Request Form (right click on the hyperlink and select "Download Linked File" to download the form).
   - Return the form to the Business Office, attention Belinda Desrosiers.

Business Procedures for the Procurement-Other (P-Card) Module

This module handles the reconciliation of P-Card and NET-Card transactions in CUNYfirst. Please review the Corporate Credit Card Guidelines and refer to the following:

All signed hardcopies must be submitted to Accounts Payable for auditing and approving payments.

The reconciliation of travel card transactions (T-Card) is now being done in the Travel and Expense module through My Wallet.

          It is not allowed to use a P-Card to purchase any type of hardware or software products.  Similarly, out of pocket expenses for the purchase of hardware and software products will not be reimbursed.  A Microsoft Office Productivity Suite, along with a few other software products, are available to all active CUNY faculty and staff at the CUNY eMall free of charge.  For all hardware and other software not available through the CUNY eMall, please contact the Purchasing Department at

Other Business Process

The following business processes do not require any CUNYfirst entry from the requesting department. Please bring hardcopies to Accounts Payable.

  • Request Student Stipend/Scholarship/Fellowship:

   - Complete the Scholarship / Fellowship Award Form
   - Complete the NYS Standard Voucher
   - Complete the Determination of Residency Status Form
   - Attach the required additional documents as specified at the bottom of the form and submit package to Accounts Payable.

Note: It is very important to make sure the student's mailing address is accurate.  Student stipend checks that were issued in a previous fiscal year but were not delivered due to bad mailing address cannot be reissued.  A new voucher must be created and it will be charged against the department's current fiscal year budget allocation.  Also, student stipends for services cannot be processed via tax levy funds under any circumstances.

  • Request Travel Reimbursement for Non-CUNY Visitors:

   - Complete the NYS Standard Voucher
   - Complete the GD-11 (NEW)
   - Complete the Statement of Automobile Travel if personal vehicle was used
   - Attach all original receipts and flyer of the event, and submit to Accounts Payable.

NYS Vendor Self Service

Vendors that receive New York State Vendor IDs will be responsible for ensuring the accuracy of their data on the Vendor File, which includes legal name, address, and contact information.  It is important that all information is correct for payment processing.  When changes are necessary, the vendor must take the appropriate steps to update the data on the Vendor File.

The NYS Vendor Self Service is the online application a vendor can use to maintain addresses and contact information, and check the status of a purchase order, invoice or payment.  This online application is the preferred method to perform maintenance to a vendor’s account information on the NYS Vendor File.

Upon registration to the NYS Vendor File an email is sent to each vendor with instructions on how to enroll in the online Vendor Self Service application.  If you have not received the email with instructions, you should contact the SFS Help Desk at (855) 233-8363, (518) 457-7717 or

Important Documents, Forms and Links

Angella Bowley

Director of Accounts Payable
Graduate Center
Room 8105.04

Phone 212-817-7668