Gift Card Policy

Gift Card Policy
Type of Policy
abruneau3 Wed, 11/13/2013 - 11:17
Policy No
Effective Date
Last Revised
Review Date
Policy Owner
Business Services
Contact Name
Laura Jamison
Contact Title
Director of Accounts Payable & Travel
Contact Email
Reason for Policy

This policy addresses gift card usage, as a form of payment to employees and students, for the purpose of incentives, awards, door prizes, gifts for personal accomplishments, and compensation. This policy ensures compliance with IRS tax reporting requirements for employee ‘cash equivalent’ payments and codifies the Institute practice that prohibits distribution of gift cards to employees.

Policy Statement

Gift card usage, as a form of payment to employees and students is prohibited for the following purposes:

  • Incentives
  • Awards
  • Door prizes
  • Gifts for personal accomplishments, including retirements
  • Holiday or graduation gifts
  • Compensation

This policy applies to both direct payment for gift cards and reimbursement for the purchase of gift cards, using all funding sources through Georgia Institute of Technology. This policy does not apply to gift cards provided using personal funds. This policy applies to payments made through the Georgia Tech Foundation on behalf of the Institute. Employees that receive allowable extra compensation can be compensated through Payroll through either the Awards and Prizes Form payment process (Policy 10.12) or payment request where appropriate. For further information on this please contact the Office of Human Resources.

Gift card usage is allowable for the following purposes:

  • Research participants that participate in sponsored research activities
  • Students that participate in student surveys or activities

In all cases, use of an appropriate funding source is required. Gift cards cannot be purchased with state funds. The use of sponsored funds (if specified in grant), Georgia Tech Professional Education, Georgia Tech Foundation and GTRC funds are allowable for the purchase of gift cards for the above purposes only. The selection of gift cards, as a method of payment, should be used only when the gift card is the most economical and efficient payment method.


This policy applies to all Georgia Tech staff, faculty, students and researchers.

Policy Terms
Gift CardA preloaded debit card or certificate that allows the cardholder to use it for the purchase of goods or services at either a specific retailer or anywhere that accepts major credit cards.
5.1 Gift Card Purchase

Payment of Gift Cards


Where allowed by the Institute’s Procurement Policy, gift cards can be purchased using an established supplier that accepts a Georgia Tech purchase order. The Georgia Tech PCard cannot be used for the purchase of gift cards.

Reimbursement for Purchase of Gift Cards


Where allowed by the policy, an employee may purchase gift cards and seek reimbursement through the Institute’s Financial Management System. IRB approval and protocol number along with a detailed description of the research study is to be provided as supporting documentation. The reimbursement will be processed via Accounts Payable.

Tax reporting for Georgia Tech employees


Employee payments related to research or participation are not classified as employee compensation and will be reported through the Accounts Payable 1099-misc form reporting process if the employee receives $600 or more in any calendar year.

Tax Reporting for non-Georgia Tech Employees


Payments to recipients is to be reported through the Accounts Payable 1099-misc form reporting process if the payee receives $600 or more in any calendar year.

The recipients of gift cards are ultimately responsible for determining his/her tax liability and filing his/her individual income tax return with the IRS.

Department is responsible for keeping track of when recipients of gift cards reach the $600 threshold within a calendar year, and reporting this to Accounts Payable for 1099 Misc. tax purposes.


To report suspected instances of ethical violations, please visit Georgia Tech’s Ethics Hotline, a secure and confidential reporting system, at:

Policy History
Revision DateAuthorDescription
12-2020Accounts PayableUpdated to align with Workday
09-2018Accounts PayableGeneral updates
03-2014Business ServicesNew policy