Skip to main content

Search NYU Steinhardt


Purchasing Gift Cards

Expense Management

Gift cards are representations of cash, and as a non-for-profit institution. NYU is legally required by the federal government to report all gifts we distribute. Gifts over $600 are deemed taxable. NYU forbids the purchase of gift cards of any kind.

In order for NYU to know how much someone is receiving in a calendar year, we`re required to track all distributions. In order words, we have to track all individuals who receive gifts from NYU regardless of the dollar amount and a 1099 is required should we exceed the threshold.

Purchasing and using a gift card circumvents the tracking process because no one is tracking the individuals receiving the cards and collecting the necessary tax information. In order to avoid increase admin burden to track these kinds of expenses, NYU has forbid them entirely.

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 AP - 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
  • 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.