Gifts for Employees and Non-employees

Recognition Awards and Gifts to Employees

Campus departments wishing to provide an employee with a recognition award or gift must conform to the guidelines as outlined in the relevant policy below. Situations that may warrant a gift include recognition for a noteworthy work-related accomplishment, length of service, retirement, or sympathy.

Employee recognition awards are meant to be occasional. An employee should not receive more than three (3) such awards in a calendar year.

Sympathy gifts may be presented in the event of the death or major illness of an employee or a member of the employee’s family or household.

Please visit the Controller’s Office webpage on policy and allowable gifts for UC employees and email prior to purchasing gift cards or if you have questions regarding policy.


Limits and Tax Treatment by Type of Award

Employee Recognition, Prizes and Incentives

  • $75 annual per-person limit
  • Nontaxable if the cost or value is $75 or less
  • If cost or value is more than $75, the entire amount is taxable and exceptional approval is required
  • May be given as a nonnegotiable gift card or certificate

These awards include Spot awards, door prizes, gifts associated with event participation, incentives to complete a survey or questionnaire or other modest employee recognition award. These awards do not pertain to employee recognition under the Staff Appreciation and Recognition (STAR) Program(link is external).


Gifts Presented to Non-Employees and Students on Behalf of the University

Donations, Gifts, and Contributions applies to non-cash gifts of moderate expense to non-university individuals or organizations when the gifts are made on behalf of the university. Also, non-cash awards of minimal value to employees for a recognition, length of service, retirement purpose, or gifts as an expression of sympathy. Please email before purchasing gift cards or if you have questions regarding policy.

Policy G-42, Gifts Presented to Non-Employees on Behalf of the University

However, please contact the Financial Aid Office regarding donations or monetary contributions to students,