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Understanding the Purpose and Use of Gift Cards
Carefully consider how you will use gift cards due to their “taxable” implications because the IRS considers them as cash equivalents. For employee or student awards, it is preferred that you present a non-cash gift award (e.g., coffee mugs, t-shirts, plaques, flowers, fruit baskets, etc.) rather than cash equivalents in the form of gift cards. Visit the Gifts page for additional information.
Furthermore, if a third-party vendor presents a cash or cash equivalent to a university employee, the payment is handled in the same fashion as it would have been given by UTSA.
Processing Gift Cards for Research Study Projects
Gift cards are allowed as cash equivalents in research projects to pay participants or human research subjects. Gift cards need to be properly tracked, distributed within project dates and accounted for by principal investigators. Visit the Participant Advances page for more information.