Gifts

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Scope

Faculty, staff, and students


Purpose

The purpose of this policy is:

  1. To describe the circumstances under which gifts may be purchased using University funds;
  2. To identify the form such gifts can/cannot take; and
  3. To set up tax withholding or reporting requirements related to giving such gifts where required by law.


Definitions

Gift- The voluntary transfer of property to an individual without payment or expectation of any benefit in return.

De Minimis Gift -  any property or service you provide to an employee that has so little value (taking into account how frequently you provide similar benefits to your employees) that accounting for it would be unreasonable or administratively impracticable. Cash and cash equivalents no matter how small, are never treated as a de minimis gift.

Performance Based Payments to Employees- bonuses, length of service payments or awards for outstanding performance (e.g. Pride awards). These are not gifts and must be authorized by Human Resources and paid through Payroll.  No performance –based payments may be given to employees without authorization.


Policy

Except as specifically authorized by this Policy, gifts may not be purchased with University funds regardless of the source of funds. Gifts authorized by this Policy must be paid for from either unrestricted gift funds or funds gifted to the University for this purpose.

  • Retirement Gifts to University Employees.
  • Event Gifts to Employees
  • Gifts to Non-employees
  • Gifts to Students
  • Gifts to Student Athletes
  • Charitable Contributions
  • Additional Important Information
  • Unallowable Gifts

Retirement Gifts

 The following guidelines have been developed in accordance with current Internal Revenue Service regulations:

  1. Timing – A retirement gift may not be made to an employee with less than five years of service.
  2. Dollar Limit – The value or cost of the gift should not exceed $400, which is the current IRS threshold for taxability (see 26 C.F.R. 1.274-3). Retirement gifts with a value or cost over $400 will be taxable to the recipient to the extent the value or cost exceeds the dollar limit (e.g., if a gift with a value of $450 is given, the $50 value that is in excess of $400, is taxable to the employee).
  3. Form of Gift – Retirement gifts must be in the form of tangible personal property. If a retirement gift is given in the form of cash, check, or gift certificate, the entire value of the gift is additional wages subject to tax withholding regardless of the cost or value.
  4. Meaningful Presentation – gift must be presented as part of a special event or celebration that marks the occasion, such as a departmental meeting, party, or luncheon.

Event Recognition Gifts for Employees

Gifts, such as flowers, may be presented as an expression of celebration in the event of the birth or adoption of a child by the employee, an expression of concern in the event of a serious illness, hospitalization, or surgery of the employee, or an expression of sympathy in the event of the death of an employee or in the employee’s immediate family.

Under IRS Section 132(e) an employer may give gifts of nominal value on a tax free basis. The University has established its nominal value to be $100 or less.  Event Recognition Gifts in excess of $100 must be authorized by the divisional vice -president. The total value of all University gifts to a person in excess of $100 may be taxable income to the employee.  

Cash gifts are not permitted except as a charitable contribution.

Charitable Contribution – As an alternative to a tangible gift for celebration, concern, or sympathy, a cash contribution may be made to a registered charitable organization. Such contributions must be made by University check and be accompanied by a transmittal letter on official University letterhead, which states that the donation was made by the University in honor of the employee. Proof of an organization’s tax-exempt/charitable status must be provided when requested by Accounts Payable. Contributions may not exceed $100. Contributions may not be made to any non-charitable organization or to any political campaign, political party, committee or group engaged in any attempt to influence the general public with respect to legislative matters, elections or referendums.

Gifts to Non-employees

Gifts made on behalf of the University to non-employees or outside organizations are allowed when the gift has benefit to the University, is in furtherance of a University business purpose, or is clearly necessary to the University's fulfillment of its role as a good community citizen. The business reason for making the gift or the nature of the business benefit the University derives or expects to derive must be documented in writing. In most cases, the promotion of goodwill in the University community is an acceptable business purpose.

The cost of such gifts must be reasonable. To avoid any appearance of favoritism or a conflict of interest, no one may  purchase a gift  on behalf of the University if it appears that the gift is being offered because of the position held by the recipient or that some quid pro quo arrangement is anticipated. Other than a donation to a charitable organization in memory of or in support of an individual or cause, this policy does not permit cash gifts.

Gifts to non-employees (trustees, donors, business associates, visiting dignitaries, alumni, guests) are permitted as follows:

  1. Gifts of tangible personal property (ceremonial objects, regalia, Miami University clothing and accessories or other memorabilia, etc.) may be presented as an expression of recognition of an individual’s accomplishments or achievements at the University and/or in the community, or of life events (birth, death, etc.). Expenditures for gifts given to non-employees must be properly substantiated with appropriate documentation and reported to Accounts Payable.
  2. Charitable Contributions- Other than charitable contributions, gifts of cash or cash equivalents are not allowed (gift cards are not acceptable),
  3. Gifts in excess of $100 must be authorized by the divisional vice-president. The authorization must be documented and accompany the substantiation of the expense.
  4. In rare instances, gifts of this nature may be taxable and reportable by the University to the recipient and to the IRS to the extent they exceed IRS thresholds.

Gifts to Students

A student is any person currently enrolled on a temporary, part-time, full-time, undergraduate and/or graduate status who is not a student athlete (as defined below in section 5).

  1. Gifts of tangible personal property may be given to students for academic or other University achievement/recognition/competition, or as part of student-life events. Expenditures for gifts given to students must be properly substantiated with appropriate documentation and reported to Accounts Payable. The value of gifts of this nature may be taxable to the recipient and reportable by the University to the recipient and to the IRS to the extent they exceed IRS thresholds.
  2. Gifts of cash or cash equivalents are not allowed (gift cards are not permitted).
  3. Gifts, in excess of $75, must be authorized by the Provost. The authorization must be documented and accompany the substantiation of the expense.
  4. Gifts made to students may impact the student’s financial aid package.

Gifts to Student Athletes

A student athlete is any student whose enrollment was solicited by a member of the ICA staff or other representative of the ICA department with a view toward the student’s ultimate participation in the intercollegiate athletics program. This includes prospective students not yet enrolled. Any other student becomes a student-athlete only when the student reports for an intercollegiate squad that is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

  1. Any and all gifts to a student athlete must receive the prior written approval by the Director of Compliance in Intercollegiate Athletics to ensure that they comply with NCAA rules.
  2. Gifts of tangible personal property may be given to student athletes for academic or other University achievement/recognition/competition, or as part of student-life events. Expenditures for gifts given to student athletes must be properly substantiated with appropriate documentation and reported to Accounts Payable. The value of gifts of this nature may be taxable to the recipient and reportable by the University to the recipient and to the IRS to the extent they exceed IRS thresholds.
  3. Gifts of cash or cash equivalents are not allowed (gift cards are not acceptable).
  4. Gifts in excess of $75 must be authorized by the divisional vice president. The authorization must be documented and accompany the substantiation of the expense.
  5. Gifts made to students may impact the student’s financial aid package.

Charitable Contributions

Gifts to charitable organizations (other than Event Recognition Gifts described in #2 above) must be authorized by one of the following:  President, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services, Provost, Senior Vice President for University Advancement, the General Counsel or the Secretary to the Board of Trustees. The authorization must be documented and accompany the request for the contribution.

Contributions must be made by University check and be accompanied by a transmittal letter on official University letterhead, which states that the donation was made on behalf of the University. Proof of the recipient organization’s tax-exempt/charitable status must be provided when requested by Accounts Payable.

Contributions may not be made to any non-charitable organization or to any political campaign, political party, committee, or group engaged in any attempt to influence the general public with respect to legislative matters, elections, or referendums.

Impermissible Gifts

  1. Except as set forth in Section 2 above, gifts for celebratory events and/or to honor employees for personal, non-work related achievements or events (e.g., birthdays, holidays, Administrative Professional’s Day, termination of employment other than retirement, weddings, baby showers, house-warming, etc.).
  2. Gifts to individuals or entities unrelated to Miami University (e.g., the UPS/FedEx delivery person).
  3. Contributions to any non-charitable organization or to any political campaign, political party, committee or group engaged in any attempt to influence the general public with respect to legislative matters, elections or referendums.
  4. As the University is a registered lobbying organization, state and federal laws regulate the giving of gifts to local, state, and federal officials by any employee. The University does not allow the giving of gifts to elected officials or government employees. Also not allowed are tokens of appreciation or recognition, or providing travel or meals related to official University events or business, without first contacting the Office of General Counsel.

Additional Important Information

  1. Gifts allowable under this policy cannot be purchased or reimbursed with E&G funds, restricted gift funds or funds not gifted for that purpose.
  2. Under no circumstances will employees or non-employees be reimbursed for gifts of cash or personal check given to employees, students, guests or others.
  3. Gifts to foreign nationals who are not permanent residents are subject to tax withholding and reporting. For more information on taxation of foreign nationals, contact the Payroll Office.
  4. Gifts of uniforms/ University provided clothing  must conform to the University- Provided Clothing and Uniforms Policy
  5. The University discourages employees from giving gifts to their supervisors and others who exercise authority over them.

Related Forms

Not Applicable.


Additional Resources and Procedures

Not applicable.


FAQ

Not applicable.


Policy Administration

Next Review Date

7/1/2025

Responsible Officers

  • Sr. Vice President of Finance and Business Services
  • Office of General Counsel

Legal Reference

Not applicable.

Compliance Policy

No

Recent Revision History

 New November 2021

Reference ID(s)

 

Reviewers

  • General Counsel
  • Sr. Vice President of Finance and Business Services