Non-Cash Awards and Gift Certificates

Revised April 2018

Recognition gifts are tangible property awarded to an employee in recognition of his or her noteworthy work-related accomplishments. Recognition awards are meant to be occasional and therefore must be presented to an employee on an infrequent basis.

Occasionally, departments will hold raffles for door prizes and other gifts to entice employee participation in an event. In addition, departments may provide gift cards and other tangible personal property to employees as an incentive to complete a survey or questionnaire. Please see UC Business and Finance Bulletin No. G - 41 for more information regarding the regulation of employee gifts and awards for recognition and other events.

Limits on Award or Gift Type

Departments will limit the value of such prizes and gifts purchase with University funds to the per-person limit specified in G-41, section III A for employee recognition awards.

Employee Recognition (including Spot):

  • Per Person Limit: $75
    • If the cost (or value) of the award or gift exceeds $75, the entire amount is taxable.

Prizes and Other Gifts

  • Per Person Limit: $75
    • If the cost (or value) of the award or gift exceeds $75, the entire amount is taxable.

Unallowable Awards and Gifts

Examples of unallowable awards and gifts include the following:

  • Gifts of cash, except donations to a charity as an expression of sympathy,
  • Negotiable gift certificates and cards (redeemable for cash),
  • Gift certificates and cards for services (must be tangible property only),
  • Recreation memberships,
  • Season tickets to sporting or cultural events, and
  • Gifts provided to employees in connection with birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, holidays, farewells, graduations and other occasions of a personal nature.

Payment or Reimbursement Procedures for Employee Awards

Please refer to Sec. 700-13: Guidelines for Reimbursement of Gift Purchases for more information regarding requests for payments or reimbursements of employee non-cash award expenditures.

The preferred method of payment is a Corporate Card. UCI’s financial systems can apply your reimbursement directly to the card account.  

    1. You must have a TEM profile in KFS:
        • If you have been previously reimbursed for travel, you should already have a TEM profile.
        • If you don’t have a TEM profile it is easy to set up a profile.
    2. Click here to apply for a Corporate Card. Please specify in the description field that the card will be used to purchase gift cards for research participants.
  • Requests for personal funds reimbursement of employee non-cash award expenditures must be processed on a disbursement voucher, reason code U.  All expenses must be supported by original receipts or by acceptable electronic receipts.
  • Gift certificates may not be purchased with a PAL card.

Departments should use KFS for tracking gift certificates and their recipients:

  • Gift certificate # (or vendor name) – ex: Amazon
  • Recipient information (Employee name,  Employee ID)
  • Reason
  • Amount
  • Date presented to Employee

Need an expert? Please contact the KFS Support Desk, (949) 824-7001 or Margaret Carreras, (949) 824-6355.

For tax-related questions, please contact Ashley Penny at (949) 824-2870.

Notice: University policies, procedures and applicable collective bargaining agreements shall supersede information in this document or elsewhere on this site.