Gift cards are great for incentivizing participation at programming events, as giveaways for students, and occasionally for faculty and staff. However, due to recent audit changes, the purchase, storing and execution of delivering gift cards now requires additional steps for the department.
Things to Consider Before Purchase
Allowable Reasons For Purchasing Gift Cards
- Employee of the month
- General programming
- Giveaways for study participants
Non-Permitted Reasons/Uses For Purchasing Gift Cards
- Employee compensation (in-lieu of hourly/salary/overtime pay, bonus or additional pay)
- Personal usage
- Retirement gifts
- Using gift cards to purchase goods in lieu of approved procurement methods (i.e. SmartCART, purchase orders, etc)
Gift Cards For Employees
Gift cards are considered taxable income by the IRS. Each time you give an employee a gift card, you must fill out the Gifts to Employees Reporting Form and return it to payroll. The employee will have tax taken out of their paycheck immediately. When non-employees have been given $600 or more in gift cards by the University within one calendar year, they will receive a FORM-1099 for tax purposes.
Also, as a reminder, paying for "services rendered" is not a recognized use of University funds. Please review the policy on Employee Recognition, Gifts and Awards for more information.
Purchasing Gift Cards
Gift cards cannot be purchased on a Payment Request, a PCard, DCard, CDEP Card, or reimbursed on a T&E expense report. Gift cards should be ordered in SmartCART under the vendor National Gift Cards. If a store is not listed it may be possible to be purchased through a requisition within PeopleSoft, made out directly to the vendor (i.e. Giant Eagle, Best Buy, etc).
- Complete the Gift Card Justification Form.
- If the gift cards will be distributed to employees, complete the Gifts to Employees Reporting Form and email it firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Create your requisition in SmartCART.
- Select Gift Card option(s).
- Attach the Gift Card Justification Form to your PO Requisition.
- Include the names of individual recipients if you know them beforehand.
Storing and Distributing Gift Cards
Once purchased, the control and safekeeping of the gift cards is the responsibility of the issuing department. Logs of their issuance (i.e. who was given a gift card) are required to meet any future auditing or grant related inquiries.
- Download and print the Gift Card Audit Worksheet (GCAW).
- Complete the form/collect recipient signatures as the gift cards are distributed.
- After the final gift card is distributed, save your list in a secure place and email a scanned copy with all signatures to email@example.com.