Request Petty Cash

Petty cash funds are established to provide units with a ready small amount of cash for payment of various expenditures such as research subject fees or utilized as a change fund for cash registers. Section 20330 of the Commonwealth Accounting Policies and Procedures (CAPP) Manual provides authority for the university to establish petty cash funds.

  1. Petty cash funds may not be established to circumvent the state purchasing guidelines.
  2. Petty cash funds must adhere to Commonwealth of Virginia policies and procedures.
  3. It is unlawful to misuse or abuse state funds.
  4. The university strongly encourages departments to consider obtaining the P-Card for small purchases of goods and services.

Please refer to the Departmental Petty Cash Fund Manual.

Unallowable Expenses

Petty cash funds may not be used for expenses that are prohibited by state rules. Commonwealth Accounting Policies and Procedures section 20310 lists the following as unallowable expenses:

  • Subscriptions, except for bona fide business purposes, and not to exceed one year
  • Cash advances
  • Gifts or flowers
  • Bottled water
  • Coffee service, machines or supplies
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Framing of award certificates
  • Picture framing (unless the item remains the property of George Mason University)
  • Books for classes (unless they remain the property of George Mason University)
  • Snacks for employees
  • Retirement parties or employee going-away parties
  • Group luncheons for employees
  • Holiday cards or decorations
  • Non-business related newspapers or magazines
  • Charitable contributions
  • Replacement of stolen or lost employee personal articles
  • Personal items for employees
  • Employee clothing (non-uniform)

Note: This listing provides general guidelines only.

Petty Cash funds may not be used to purchase food and beverages. Refer to the Food & Beverage Overview webpage for purchasing procedures.

State Sales Tax Exemption

The university is exempt from paying Virginia sales tax on all purchases of goods and services except lodging, car rental and some prepared food. Individuals purchasing goods or receiving services on behalf of the university should supply vendors with a copy of the Sales and Use Tax Certificate of Exemption form.

The Petty Cash Officer cannot reimburse departments for unauthorized state sales tax paid from Petty Cash funds. The university’s tax-exempt status does not apply to other taxes.

Establish a Petty Cash Fund

Departments who wish to establish a Petty Cash fund should contact the Petty Cash Officer at ext. 3-2580 to discuss the need for Petty Cash. If appropriate, complete the Petty Cash Request Form found here.

Once the request has been approved, the Petty Cash Officer will request a disbursement check made payable to the person listed as the Custodian on the request form. When the check is ready, the check will be mailed directly to the Custodian. The Custodian may then cash the check and hold the funds in a secure location, such as a drawer in a locked filing cabinet within the department. The department/unit is responsible for safeguarding the funds and replacing any missing funds, including stolen funds.

Replenish Expenditure Funds

Replenishment for expenditure funds may be requested as needed. The custodian must complete the Petty Cash Reimbursement Request form found here.  Please allow five business days to process reimbursement requests.

Close a Petty Cash Fund

Petty Cash Expenditure funds must be closed no later than 30 days after the date the funds are scheduled to be returned. Petty Cash Change funds must be closed when the fund is no longer needed. A Petty Cash Expenditure/Gift Card fund, related to a sponsored research project, must be closed no later than two weeks after the project is complete. Failure to close a Petty Cash fund in a timely manner may result in a deduction of the outstanding amount from the Custodian’s paycheck.

Steps to Close a Petty Cash Fund

  • Complete the Petty Cash Request Form. Select, “What are you wanting to do?” and choose “Close Fund”. This will populate section C at the bottom of the page to Close Your Account.
  • Deposit any unused cash to the Cashier’s Office using a Cash Receipt form. Deposits must be posted to Bank No. 5, Org:18213, Account 13136 with Description: Petty Cash Close – “Custodian Name”
  • Total disbursement is the amount of the fund expended at the last submission.
  • The Cash Receipt total plus the total disbursement(s) must equal the original Petty Cash fund amount.
  • Attach a copy of the Cash Receipt, log of expenditures, and other supporting documents to the Petty Cash Request Form. 

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