unit logo
  1. Home
  2. Knowledge Base
  3. Disbursements
  4. Expenditures
  5. Gifts


Directive Statement

Gift cards or certificates must be reasonable and necessary to carry out the mission of the University and must comply with any funding source restrictions.  A gift card log must be kept for individuals acknowledging receipt of gift cards.  Gift cards cannot be purchased with a UF PCard.

To ensure tax compliance, it is the responsibility of the department to track if any individual receives $600 or more during the calendar year.  The department must provide the necessary information to Disbursements by January 1st of the following year so that a Form 1099 can be generated.  In addition, any gift card purchased with University funds and given to an employee will be considered taxable income to the employee.  Tax Services must be contacted.

Reason for Directive

To ensure adherence to all expenditure restrictions set by the State of Florida, as well as compliance with the University’s tax withholding and reporting obligations.

Who must comply?

All University Departments.


It is the responsibility of the department to maintain the same level of internal control over gift cards as they would maintain over a petty cash fund.  This includes:

  • Storing the gift cards in a secure place
  • Ensuring separation of duties so that the employee purchasing the gift cards is not the employee who holds or assigns the gift cards

Gift Cards for University Employees

Any gift card purchased with University funds and given to an employee will be considered taxable income to the employee.

  1. Tax Services must be contacted (unless provided as a research participant payment) to add the amount of the gift card to the employee’s Form W-2 for the calendar year in which the gift card is received.
  2. There is no minimum dollar amount for this treatment.  As such, gift cards to employees are discouraged
  3. Infrequent noncash awards of nominal value given to employees will not be reported as taxable compensation
  4. Permitted gifts, employee length of service awards or retirement gifts must be nonmonetary, infrequent, and de minimus having a value of $100.00 or less.  Generally, nonmonetary gifts to employees must have a value of $100 or less to be potentially nontaxable to the employee.  Cash and gift certificates are always considered taxable income and therefore may not be given

Gift Cards for Research Participant Payments (RPP)

The RPP program can be used to provide gift cards to participants of research or survey projects (including employee participants).  Cost Analysis is responsible for the RPP system and is the only campus method for requesting cash and prepaid or gift cards for RPP use.  RPP establishes a secure database to house payment and participant information, reducing or eliminating data that departments must store, and provides central review for compliance and tax reporting considerations.

Follow instructions in the Research Participant Payments Directives and Procedures when awarding gift cards to research participant payments.

These cash equivalent payments are considered taxable income and will result in issuance of a Form 1099-MISC if the individual receives $600.00 or more in a calendar year.


Research Participant Payments (RPP)

This is a myUFL module that enables researchers or their study team members to request payments for research participants —such as prepaid Visa cards, gift cards, cash—and provides a controlled method for handling those payments.

Last Reviewed

Last reviewed on 03/20/2024


UF HR Toolkit – Research Participant Payments


Disbursements: (352) 392-1241

Cost Analysis: (352)392-5778

Payroll Services: (352) 392-1231

Tax Services: (352) 392-1321

Still have a question?

View our FAQs