Establishing an ACM Sponsored or Co-sponsored Event

Please Note:  the information below is for events legally and financially sponsored and co-sponsored by ACM.  If you are requesting in-cooperation status for an event, please see the guidelines here.  

Use of the ACM Name with Conferences

Before submitting the conference for approval, it is important to note that for all sponsored and co-sponsored conferences,  ACM must be part of the meeting title.  Here are some examples of good use of the ACM name in conferences:

  • 20xx ACM SIGMOD/PODS Conference
  • 22nd ACM KDD Conference on Knowledge, Discovery and Data Mining
  • ACM SIGCOMM 20xx

Submitting the Preliminary Approval Form (PAF)

Please Note: First time conferences are not eligible to use the PAF, and must submit the entire TMRF.  Please contact [email protected] if you are a first time conference looking for the TMRF. The "TMRF Guidelines" are available to assist you.  Reoccuring conferences may submit a PAF here.

The first step to secure approval for an ACM event is to complete and submit the PAF.   It provides the SIG Leadership the preliminary information necessary to evaluate the event.  The endorsed PAF will allow the SIG Services Staff to help conference leaders get started on site selection and hotel contracting.  The PAF also provides information on the submission review systems available through ACM at no cost to the conference.   Once endorsed by SIG Leadership, it also allows the committee to distribute the Call for Papers, and will automatically list the event in the ACM online conference calendar, as well as the calendar section of the Communications of the ACM (CACM) magazine.  Having this information also helps to avoid overlapping with similarly sponsored ACM conferences.  

This form should be completed by the General Chair or Treasurer, and requires an active membership number. Please be aware that in submitting the Preliminary Approval Form, you are attesting that the individuals listed as the Conference Chair and Program Chair will be serving in those roles. The PAF is a simple on-line form that can be completed quickly,  it requires basic information about the conference:  dates, location, proceedings plans, the Call for Papers deadline, and the conference URL, if available.  A link to complete the PAF is here.  

Requirements for the Preliminary Approval Form (PAF):

  • Must be a previously sponsored/co-sponsored ACM/SIG event.  
  • Conference banking information must be provided.  Prior to submitting, please review the section of this guide on "Conference Finances." 
  • General Chair and Treasurer must have a valid ACM membership.  ACM membership can be requested by emailing acm help.   

Why is it a requirement for the Conference Chair and Treasurer to be members?

The Chair and Treasurer must be ACM members because these positions take on fiduciary responsibilities for the conference and organization.  It is the responsibility of the individual to purchase their own membership if they are not already a member, as ACM does not pay for or reimburse membership fees.     

I entered my member number in the PAF, but it does not appear to be working.  What should I do?

Please contact [email protected] to have your membership number checked. 

How far in advance should the PAF be submitted?

ACM recommends submitting the form 18-24 months prior to the proposed conference date. 

What happens after the PAF is submitted? 

The organizer will receive a confirmation email upon successful submission.  The PAF will be forwarded to the appropriate volunteer leadership for their review and endorsement.  It can take up to two weeks for the PAF to be endorsed, depending on the completeness of the information submitted, and the availability of the volunteer leadership responsible for review and approval. Updates can be requested by contacting [email protected]. Once the PAF has been endorsed, the committee will receive a link to complete the TMRF and submit their budget.  

What happens if the conference dates or location changes after the PAF is endorsed?

You will need to update your PAF. It will be resubmitted to the sponsoring SIG(s) for endorsement.  

Once the PAF is endorsed, is it okay to submit non-hotel contracts to ACM for review and payment?

The TMRF and budget must be submitted and approved before spending funds or executing non-hotel contracts.  

Our event will be sponsored by a Local Chapter.  What do we do in this case?

Events sponsored by Chapters are subject to a different approval process.  Information and forms to submit for Chapter events can be found here.  Questions on Chapter events should go to [email protected].   

Does ACM require authors to register and partipate in the conference?

It is up to the conference committee to decide (and the sponsoring SIGS to approve), author registration requirements.  These requirements should be clearly publicized in the Call for Papers.

Submitting the Technical Meeting Request Form (TMRF) and Budget

After the PAF is endorsed, the conference organizers will be sent a link to complete the TMRF.   This form allows the responsible SIG Leadership to evaluate both the technical merit and financial aspects of the event.  

The TMRF is a guide for the organizers to use throughout the planning process.  It includes general information, the conference budget and planning assumptions.   This document should be considered when choosing vendors and making purchases.   Once the TMRF is approved, the committee is able to publish registration fees, distribute the advance program, execute non-hotel contracts, and make payments and deposits.  

The TMRF can be submitted online via the link provided to the organizers or by emailing it to [email protected] 

The TMRF contains three sections: 

Section I – Event Information (overall topics to be covered, paper selection process, proceedings, etc)

Section II - Budget Spreadsheet

Section III – Statement of Understanding and the Budget Rationale (Revenue / Expense Assumptions).  The Statement of Understanding outlines ACM’s expectations both legally and financially.  It is signed by the conference leaders.  The budget rationale is for describing what the budget was based on as well as to point out any inconsistencies with previous events.  

Organizers may choose between two spreadsheets depending on the type of their event:

The Standard Budget 

This budget is used for events that meet the following criteria:

  • Sponsored ACM/SIGs and/or Co-Sponsored by ACM
  • Events with tutorials or workshops


The Simplified Budget Spreadsheet

This budget is used for events that meet the following criteria:

  • Events that are 100% sponsored by ACM/SIG
  • Events that do not have Tutorials or Workshops


The Workshop Budget Spreadsheet

This budget is used for events that meet the following criteria:

  • Events that are sponsored by ACM/SIGs and are co-locating with an ACM sponsored conference that chooses not to incorporate the workshop budget into the conference budget. As a result a separate TMRF and budget spreadsheet need to be submitted. 

Our event will be co-sponsored with another organization.  Is there anything we should know?

Please review the section "Events Co-Sponsored With Other Societies," at the end of this page before proceeding.  

Which currency should the budget be submitted in?

You may submit a budget in any currency.    

How do we secure approval for a workshop being held with the conference?

If the workshop was submitted and accepted as part of the conference technical program, the workshop budget should be included in the conference budget and no additional approval is required.  If the workshop is a co-located event and not included in the conference budget, a separate workshop TMRF must be submitted. 

What does the ACM overhead fee in the budget cover?

Overhead is not a fee for service, it is the cost of doing business as part of a large organization. Each SIG is assessed a fee based on their total annual expenses including conferences. The SIGs pass the fee onto their sponsored and co-sponsored events through the overhead fee line item in the budget in order to cover their annual assessment.   

Why are we asked to budget for contingency?

There is always an uncertainty as to what the actual expenses of a conference will be.  The contingency is meant to cover “unknown” expenses that could occur.  ACM asks organizers to budget a contingency based on total expenses.  The rule of thumb is 15%.  

Who is responsible for the loss if the conference goes over budget?

If the conference closes with a negative balance, the amount due will be taken from the fund balance of the sponsoring SIG(s).  

If a change is made to the budget after the TMRF has been approved, does it need to be submitted for reapproval?

Only if the budget changes the bottom line by more than 15%, or the registration fees change.  

Can I look at a past TMRF to help me to prepare one?

The budget coordinator can provide you with prior TMRF’s to use as a guide.

How long does it take for a conference to be approved?

It can take 4-6 weeks depending on the availability of the SIG leadership to review the documents.   

How will we know when the conference has been approved?

The Chair will receive email notification as well as a formal hard copy approval letter via surface mail.  

US Tax and Your Budget

Conferences are required to pay tax on goods and services in the US unless ACM has an established exemption with the state.  ACM is exempt from some taxes in several states.  The type of taxes we are exempt from varies from state to state. 

States We're Exempt from Paying Sales Tax In
Colorado Florida
Indiana Kentucky
Massachusetts Missouri
New Jersey New Mexico
New York Ohio
Tennessee Texas
Utah Wisconsin
*North Carolina  *pay sales tax and receive reimbursement
States with No Sales Tax
Alaska Delaware
New Hampshire
*Oregon   *No exemption from Portland Lodging Tax
States We're Not Exempt In
Alabama Arizona
California District of Columbia
Minnesota Georgia
Illinois Louisiana
Maryland Rhode Island
Mississippi Washington
Nevada Pennsylvania
South Carolina Virginia

How does a committee member request that tax be removed from an invoice?

ACM holds a tax exempt certificate for each state we are tax exempt in.  Most vendors require a copy of this certificate in order for the tax to be removed.  Please contact your Conference Operations Liaison for a copy of the tax exempt certificate required.   

VAT (Value Added Tax) and Your Budget

What is VAT?

VAT, also called differing names in some countries, stands for Value Added Tax. It is a tax levied by a country on goods and services purchased within that country. This is generally a percentage charged on the total price and can range up to 25% depending on the country.

Examples of other tax names
Consumption Tax

Do I need to consider VAT for my conference?

If the conference will be taking place outside the US, you should take the local VAT into account when planning the conference.

Why? I thought ACM was tax-exempt as a non-profit organization.

While ACM is a non-profit entity within the US, this status does not transfer to other countries. This means that ACM must collect and pay the local tax like any other company doing business within the country.

Is there any way for ACM to get tax exempt status in XXXX country?

Exemption in Europe is difficult to obtain. ACM continually works with various VAT consulting firms to evaluate and assess the possibility of VAT exemptions. Even if an exemption cannot be recognized, a conference may be able to secure a refund for some of the VAT paid, based on the host country’s laws. More on this is discussed below.

Conferences I’ve worked on in the past didn't have to pay this, why am I being told to charge this now?

Comparing conferences, year to year within the same country, can sometimes be very difficult. There are many variables that can change ACM’s VAT obligations. They include:

  • Location
  • Change in tax law
  • Conference size; both attendance and income
  • Associated organizations
  • Frequency of total ACM events within the country

What does this mean for my conference?

VAT will need to be collected on the income and paid on expenses according to the laws of the country the conference will be taking place.  

Will the registration rates be VAT Inclusive or VAT Exclusive?

When completing the budget you will need to decide if the registration rates will be inclusive or exclusive of VAT.  While either of these options is acceptable, this can affect your budget.

Let’s look at the example below of a conference that wants to charge €500 to attendees in a country with a 20% VAT rate:

VAT Inclusive*
VAT Exclusive
Registration Rate
VAT Rate
VAT Collected from Attendee
Amount Charged to Attendee
Net Conference Income
VAT returned to host country by ACM
*VAT inclusive rates are calculated by net income + VAT collected = registration rate

As seen in the example when the registrations are VAT inclusive, the budget will need to break out the VAT. The collected VAT will be sent to the tax authorities and not be available as net conference income. The budget coordinator can supply you with a budget template that can automatically break out the VAT.

If the registration rates will be VAT exclusive, you can submit the budget and note that VAT will be charged on top of the rates listed. When creating the registration site, you will need to make sure to charge the VAT on top of the registrations.

If we’re collecting VAT on the registrations and paying VAT on expenses, doesn’t this mean the conference is being ‘double charged’?

Some countries allow the conference to recover VAT paid on expenses so they are not being charged VAT on the expenses while also collecting VAT on the income. The recovery takes place after the conference is over. We leverage the VAT paid on expenses against VAT collected on the revenue and send the difference to the tax authorities as our VAT obligation.

For example:

€500 in VAT collected on income

€200 in VAT paid on expenses

€300 would be sent to tax authorities with the appropriate documentation to show the €200 VAT already paid on expenses

To be eligible for recovery requires extra diligence when invoices are paid. Most countries require ACM’s name, address and VAT number to be listed directly on the invoice to be able to recover VAT.

When including the VAT recovery on the budget, we utilize the maximum recovery.

What if we are dealing in multiple currencies? How do we account for the potential currency fluctuations?

This can be covered by the contingency included within the budget.

Are there any other charges?

ACM makes use of several VAT advisory companies to give advice on VAT obligations and complete all the VAT paperwork including filing after the conference has taken place. The conference will be responsible for covering their fee. The fee should be included within the budget as a line item.

For conferences with 500 attendees and under, you can include an estimated management fee of $5000 or request a quote.

For conferences with over 500 attendees, you will need to request a quote.

Actual costs vary from conference to conference due to the following factors:

  • Conference Size
  • Conference Revenue
  • Frequency of VAT returns to file in specific country

VAT Filing Management fees cover the following services:

  • Registration of VAT in the country
  • Production of VAT returns
  • Advisory
  • Producing vatable registration receipts for attendees (required by local country for tax compliance) 

What should I do?

Once your conference has chosen a location, you can email the budget coordinator to initiate an inquiry with the VAT advisor for specific details regarding your own event.

Events Co-Sponsored With Other Societies

When more than one society is involved in the sponsorship of an ACM event, a contract called a Memo of Understanding (MOU) must be put into place.  This document outlines the financial and legal responsibilities, as well as asset ownership.  
The following should be considered when co-sponsoring:

  • The organization must be incorporated and non-profit/tax exempt
  • The organization should be made aware that when they enter into a co-sponsorship agreement with ACM, they will share the legal and financial liabilities of the event, including a share in any profit, as well as be responsible for any financial loss.  
  • There should be representatives from each society/organization on the conference planning and steering committee
  • The copyrights will alternate between the societies year to year, with distribution and reprint rights granted freely to the other sponsors.
  • Any changes to the joint sponsorship terms will be in writing and will be approved by all sponsors.  

Once the committee has established that the organization fits ACM criteria, and is aware of the risks involved with co-sponsoring an event, the conference's Program Coordinator can assist you with putting an MOU into place.