Financial Services

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Grants & Contracts

Participant Incentive Gift Cards

General

Participant incentive gift cards should be used solely for the payment of incentives or reimbursement of costs to participants at the Health Sciences Center.  The procedures below provide a uniform and systematic method for the maintenance of participant incentive gift cards administered through all funds.

Request for Participant Incentive Gift Cards

An email request from the Principal Investigator, Faculty Member or Department Administrator for the purchase of incentive gift cards must be submitted for prior approval to the PROCARD ADMINISTRATION (HSC) mailbox.  Each purchase requires a new approval.  The request for the gift cards must contain the following information:

  1. The chartfield to be used as the source of funding including project if sponsored.
  2. IRB number if required (this will be verified with the IRB Office).
  3. Justification or reason(s) for the gift cards.
  4. The number of cards requested, the denomination of cards requested, and the methodology used in determining the amount requested.
  5. Name of the responsible party (custodian) for maintaining the gift cards.
  6. A copy of the IRB approved Patient Consent Form must also be submitted with the first request and with any modifications to the protocol patient reimbursement amount if IRB approval is required.

In addition, all gift card holders must have a copy of their departmental policies and procedures on file with Internal Audit.  These can be submitted as an attachment when the gift card request is sent to Procard Administration.  All requests for incentive gift card purchases will be approved by Grants and Contracts Accounting prior to being allowed.

Restrictions/Limitations

  1. Incentive gift card purchases will not exceed $1500 at any one time.  Exceptions may be approved by the Controller on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Incentive gift cards must be secured within the department or at the site the research/work is being conducted.
  3. Distribution of incentive gift cards is restricted to the payment of incentives or reimbursement of costs to participants. 
  4. Participant incentive gift cards should not be co-mingled with gift cards purchased for other projects.
  5. Employees may only receive gift cards when participating in a study outside of their home department.
  6. Resident Aliens and Non-Resident Aliens cannot be paid by gift card.
  7. Any remaining gift cards at the end of the project period must be credited back to the award, if the award is sponsored (SPNSR chartfield).

Purchase of Incentive Gift Cards

Walmart gift cards must be purchased using a University Pcard.  All other gift cards may be purchased using the Pcard after receiving the proper approvals.  The exception number received from the Pcard Admin team should be documented in the comment box during the monthly reconciliation.  The GL code for gift card purchases is 921200 – Participants.  Note:  Visa gift card purchases may have additional fees per card and decrease in value after one year of inactivity. 

Maintenance of Incentive Gift Cards

Initiation of gift card maintenance will begin with the receipt of the gift cards. Gift cards received should be kept in a secure location.  Evidence of disbursements should be retained and kept with the gift cards.  A participant list should be maintained and contain the following information. 

Participant Name    Tax ID#      Gift Card #    Gift Card Amount     Participant Sign.    Date Received

Note:  The participant must sign either the participant log or participant payment request form that they have received the gift card.  If obtaining a direct signature is not possible, then you must discuss compensating controls with Internal Audit.

Remaining Gift Cards at End of the Budget Year or Project Period (SPNSR Only)

At the end of the award year, Grants and Contracts personnel will contact the Principal Investigator and/or contact for the award to start the final report preparation.  During this preparation the GCA Accountant will need to verify that no research incentive gift cards remain in inventory.  If there is a continuing year of the award, then the gift cards can be moved to the next year of the award by entering a cost transfer.  If there is no continuing year, then all cards left in inventory must be credited back to the award. 

 

Example:  If your award ends on June 30, then all gift cards must be distributed (not purchased) by that date.

 

IRS Reporting Requirements

 

Participants receiving incentive payments totaling over $600 per calendar year must receive a 1099 from the University for tax reporting purposes.  To ensure compliance, individual payments of $50 (or more) or cumulative payments expected to exceed more than $500 for the calendar year must be reported. Please see the participant payment policy for further information.  Failure or refusal to collect the required IRS reporting information may lead to the department being ineligible for use of gift cards or petty cash funds for participant payments.

 

Compliance Reviews

 

Gift card inventories and reconciliations are subject to audit by Internal Audit and Financial Services.  Financial Services will be periodically requesting supporting documentation to ensure compliance with University policy.