Gift Card Policy

Type of Policy: 
Effective Date: 
March 2014
Last Revised: 
March 2014
Review Date: 
July 2020
Policy Owner: 
Business Services
Contact Name: 
Abbie Coker
Contact Title: 
Director of Accounts Payable and Travel
Contact Email:
Reason for Policy: 

This policy addresses gift card usage, as a form of payment to employees, 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, 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 Special Payment Request Form process, where appropriate.

Gift card usage is allowable for the following purposes:

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

In all cases, use of an appropriate funding source is required and selection of gift card, 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, and researchers. Use of gift cards for non-employee research participants, survey respondents, and advisory board members are not within the scope of this policy.

Policy Terms: 

Gift Card
A 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.


Payment of Gift Cards

Where allowed by the policy, gift cards can be purchased using established Institute procurement policies from a vendor 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 Employee Payment Request Form process.

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


Responsible Party
Accounts Payable will make payments associated with allowable gift card purchases and will report taxable payments to the IRS.


To report suspected instances of noncompliance with this policy, please visit Georgia Tech’s EthicsPoint, a secure and confidential reporting system, at:

Policy History: 
Revision DateAuthorDescription
03-2014Business ServicesNew policy
Map of Georgia Tech

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