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Office of Finance Policies and Guidelines







Gifts to employees can be separated into three categories:

  • Small gifts
  • Large gifts
  • Cash or cash equivalent gifts (e.g. gift cards)

Whenever possible, we recommend gifts not be made using cash or cash equivalents. When making a gift to an employee, it is important to know in which category the gift falls.  If the gift is anything other than a small gift, it is generally taxable to the employee.


Small gifts

Small gifts are generally not taxable to employees who receive them.  In order to qualify as a small gift, it should have a low cost (less than $75) and be provided infrequently to an employee.  Small gifts may include, but are not necessarily limited to, tickets for entertainment events; holiday gifts; and flowers, fruit, books, etc., provided under special circumstances.

Whether an item qualifies as a small gift depends on all the facts and circumstances around the gift and the employee to whom it is presented.  If you are uncertain as to whether a particular type of gift would qualify, please consult with the Office of Finance at or ext. 4950.

If a gift provided to an employee is not a small gift, it is a large gift with special reporting requirements listed later, and is generally taxable to the employee.


Cash or cash equivalent gifts

As noted above, cash or cash equivalent gifts (which include gift cards, gift certificates, savings bonds, and other instruments that take a similar form as cash) provided by Fordham to an employee are almost always taxable to that employee.

A certificate that allows an employee to receive a specific item of personal property that is minimal in value, provided infrequently, may qualify as a small gift, depending on facts and circumstances.  In these situations, please consult with the Office of Finance if you are unsure as to whether the certificate would qualify.


Reporting these types of gifts

If the benefits provided qualify as small gifts, no reporting is necessary.

If the benefits provided qualify as large or cash equivalent gifts, a message must be sent to the Payroll Department ( indicating the employee name, amount of the gift, and date it was provided (multiple gifts may be included in the same message).  The gift will be taxable to the employee and reported on their year-end Form W-2.  However, as a courtesy to the employee, the University will pay the taxes associated with the gift[1], so that even after taxes, an employee who received a $100 gift card will receive the full value of that gift.

[1] If the gift amount is determined to be unreasonable or noncompliant with policies or regulations, the University may decline to pay some or any taxes associated with the gift.


Gifts to non-employees

Gift purchases, regardless of their size or nature, may be taxable to a non-employee.  For non-employees, if the cumulative value of gifts provided to a non-employee during any calendar year exceeds $600, the University may be required to report those gifts to the IRS and the non-employee as income on Form 1099-MISC.


Conflicts of Interest

We would also like to remind all Fordham employees of the University’s conflict of interest policy, which among other things, prohibits employees from accepting certain gifts from parties with which the employee or University may have a financial interest.  A copy of the policy is attached to this message.