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Purchasing Gift Cards

Expense Management

As a non-profit institution, NYU is legally required by the federal government to report all cash gifts we distribute. In order to comply with federal regulation, NYU must track all cash gifts distributed in a calendar year, regardless of the dollar amount. If a gift recipient receives $600 or more in a year, NYU is required to distribute a 1099 to the gift recipient as cash gifts in the amounts of $600 or greater is deemed taxable by the federal government. 

The federal government considers gift cards to be cash equivalents. Therefore, requiring the distributions of gift cards to be tracked. In an effort to avoid increased administrative burden to track gift card distributions, NYU has forbidden them entirely outside of the below indicated circumstances. 

Gift Cards for Research

NYU does provide an option for prepaid gift cards via the prepaid card program. These cards are Bank of America debit cards pre-loaded with amounts indicated by the program requestor. These cards are reconciled on a quarterly basis and do not adhere to the same federal reporting standards. For internal audit and compliance purposes the issuance of these cards are tracked. Below are permitted gift options for payments to human subjects:

New York based research – Prepaid card program

Non-NYC based research –Amazon Business

Gift Cards for Faculty/Staff

Cash payments or cash equivalents (i.e. Gift cards) paid to NYU Staff (Admin & Faculty) are considered additional compensation and per University policy must be processed via payroll and taxed appropriately. NYU employees cannot and should not be receiving additional cash or cash equivalents outside of the payroll or AP process. Below are some permitted gift options:

  • Physical Gift – Purchase of a gift via i-BUY or the bookstore.
  • Gift Card via Accounts Payable - Fill out and submit the ADV3000 form (gift amount should not exceed $100 per person) along with gift card recipients social security and address to for signature as approver and processing.

Gift Cards for Students

Gifts to students should be processed via the Student Awards & Prizes form (EXP3000S). This way our accounts payable division is accurately tracking and reporting gift payments. Below are some permitted gift options:

  • Physical Gift – Purchase of a gift via i-BUY or the bookstore
  • Movie tickets via NYU Box Office
  • Student Award & Prizes Form (Taxable) – Fill out the EXP3000s form, have the department`s DA sign and send the form with support to for processing. This process takes 1-2 weeks, depending on if the student has received a check from AP before. A check will be sent to the student`s address on the form.
  • Gift Card – Gift cards to students are not allowed due to tax implications.