Accounts Payable

Honorarium & Speaker Fees

Speakers and Conference Presenters

Departments frequently conduct programs which include individuals with expertise who present or participate in lectures, seminars, productions, or conferences. Prior to hiring a speaker or conference participant, the sponsoring department must decide whether the individual should be hired as an employee or as an independent contractor. For details on making this determination, see 60.01.




What is an Honorarium?

Payment of "usual academic activity or activities" with the intent of showing appreciation for the participation.  These activities include lecturing, teaching and sharing of knowledge or performance (when the audience is composed of non-paying students and/or is open to the general public free of charge).


What is a Speaker Fee?

A speaker fee is a payment awarded to an individual for speaking at an event.


Payment Methods for Individuals:

If the honorarium is less than $10,000 and includes reimbursable travel expenses:

Complete a Travel Authority including a description of the services performed to obtain approval to pay for services. See 95.25 for procedures on completing the Travel Authority and Travel Expense Voucher (TEV).  Include a description of the services performed on the TEV.

If the honorarium is less than $10,000 with no travel expenses:

Complete a State of Washington Invoice Voucher including a description of the services performed to request payment of the fee. See 95.25 for procedures.

If the honorarium is more than $10,000:

Complete a Departmental Requisition and forward it to Purchasing Services.  See 70.50 for complete procedures.

If a contract is desired or required by the speaker:

If a contract is desired or required for a speaker, regardless of the amount of the fee, the contract may only be processed and signed by a person with delegated contract signature authority per BPPM 10.10 (a full list of such individuals can be found here). 

If the department does not have a person with delegated signature authority who can process and sign the contract, it must be processed and signed by the Contracts Office or Purchasing ServicesPurchasing Services handles contracts for training given to WSU employees.  If the contract is for a training given to WSU employees, complete a Departmental Requisition and forward it to Purchasing Services.  The Contracts Office handles all other speaker and performer contracts.  When submitting a speaker or performer contract to the Contracts Office, include a fully completed Contract Review Sheet.  See BPPM 10.11 for more information.



Payment Methods for Companies:

If the honorarium or speaker fee is less than $10,000 whether or not travel is included:

Create a Department Order and send it to the vendor.  After the speaking engagement, the vendor sends an invoice to WSU for payment.  If the vendor is unable to create an invoice, a WSU Invoice Voucher referencing the Department Order number can be completed in its place.

If the honorarium or speaker fee is more than $10,000 whether or not travel is included:

Complete a Departmental Requisition and forward it to Purchasing Services.  See 70.50 for complete procedures.

If a contract is desired or required by the speaker:

If a contract is desired or required for a speaker, regardless of the amount of the fee, the contract may only be processed and signed by a person with delegated contract signature authority per BPPM 10.10 (a full list of such individuals can be found here). 

If the department does not have a person with delegated signature authority who can process and sign the contract, it must be processed and signed by the Contracts Office or Purchasing ServicesPurchasing Services handles contracts for training given to WSU employees.  If the contract is for a training given to WSU employees, complete a Departmental Requisition and forward it to Purchasing Services.  The Contracts Office handles all other speaker and performer contracts.  When submitting a speaker or performer contract to the Contracts Office, include a fully completed Contract Review Sheet.  See BPPM 10.11 for more information.



Taxpayer Identification

Regardless of the payment method, WSU is required to obtain the speaker's taxpayer identification number, i.e., social security number or tax identification number. Enter the number on the Travel Expense Voucher or Invoice Voucher. WSU uses this number to meet IRS reporting requirements.


Payments to Non-Resident Aliens

Honorarium or speaker fee payments to non-resident aliens requires additional documentation and tax withholding. 30% of the final payment will be withheld and directly remitted to the IRS and report-able on the 1042-S. For assistance in determining the recipients residency status visit Payroll's website by clicking here.

Accounts Payable , PO Box 641025, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-1025, 509-335-2060, Contact Us