Prizes, Awards, and Gifts

Guidelines

What is an award/gift?

  • An award/gift recognizes terms of service, exceptional performance, special achievement, etc.

What is a prize?

  • A prize recognizes performance as part of a judged competition or winnings from a raffle or drawing.

What is considered a gift or reward?

  • Appropriate gifts or rewards may include, but are not limited to flowers, books, plaques, trophies, gift and apparel, movie tickets, food, etc.  Cash or cash equivalent gifts cards/certificates are strongly discouraged.

Is an employee gift considered taxable income?

  • Gifts and awards, of any amount made by cash, check, gift cards and gift certificates are always considered taxable income under IRS guidelines.  Please see the Gift and Award Policy for additional information.

If I want to give a prize or award/gift, what do I do?

What if I purchase gift cards personally?

  • Gift cards you purchase using personal funds are not taxable to the recipient because you are not the employer.  However, you may not request reimbursement for the purchase.  If the College reimburses you, the College has then purchased the gift cards and they become taxable income to the employee recipients.

Does the Gift/Award policy apply to non-employees?

  • Prizes are always taxable, regardless of the amount and regardless of whether the recipient is an employee.  Prizes with an accumulated value in excess of $600 in a given year, will be reported to the IRS at year-end via Form 1099-Misc.
  • Awards/Gifts to students in excess of tuition, fees, books and equipment are taxable, regardless of whether the recipient is an employee.