General Information

Reasonable expenses when interacting with external constituencies conducting the business of the Colleges are reimbursed (trustees, donors, alumni, parents, vendors, job candidates, professional guests, etc.). Interactions among faculty/staff/students are not generally reimbursed.

Use of Gift Cards or Gift Certificates

Due to required tax reporting by the IRS to the recipient of a gift card or gift certificate, the Colleges’ policy is that it is not appropriate to use gift cards or gift certificates for most activities including the following:

  • As a thank you
  • As a prize or award
  • As a congratulations
  • In lieu of compensation
  • As a motivational instrument
  • For a meal, movie (any non-tangible item)
  • For a raffle or prize
  • As a condolence
  • As a parting gift
  • As a programming incentive
  • As a rebate
  • Etc., Etc., Etc.

To comply with institutional and federal guidelines, a gift must be tangible personal property, i.e., merchandise whose value cannot exceed $75.00. Examples of gifts of tangible personal property include: flowers, books, candy, HWS memorabilia, food baskets, etc.

Any gift in excess of $75.00 will be considered taxable income and reported as such to the recipient.

The only exception to this policy is the use of Gift Cards or Gift Certificates for Human Subject Research Compensation:

Generally, payments of $75.00 or less can be made by cash or gift card and do not require collection of a participant’s SSN/ITIN. Payments greater than $75.00 must be paid by an accounts payable check with the participants completed form W-9.

If HWS pays $600 or more to a US tax resident during the calendar year, then HWS is required to report the payments to the IRS and issue the recipient a Form 1099. Payments to foreign nationals contact Sara Day in Human Resources for further information. Where reporting is required, HWS must collect a W-9 (the recipient’s full legal name, SSN/ITIN (or HUID), permanent address, mailing address if different. Contact BusinessOffice@hws.edu for further information.

In the event of an IRS or sponsored audit, it will be the responsibility of the Researcher to supply all required supporting documentation for human subject payments made from the researcher’s accounts.

Special Gestures

Individual and /or departmental gifts for parting, retirement, thank you, holidays, etc. are not reimbursed.  A reasonable gift may be authorized by the appropriate member of Senior Staff for the parting or retirement of an employee who has served the Colleges for longer than five years.  No reimbursement of this cost will be made without appropriate documentation of this approval and the verification of the parting employee’s years of service.

A reasonable gift for the non-faculty/staff host of a gathering is reimbursable.

Illness, Birth and Condolence Gestures
For employee inpatient hospital stays, department chairs/directors may send flowers, reimbursed up to $75.

For birth or adoption, department chairs/directors may send a congratulatory gift, reimbursed up to $75.

In the case of the death of an employee or member of an employee’s immediate family, department chairs/directors may send flowers or, if preferred, a memorial contribution of up to $75.

Further gestures made by individuals are not reimbursed.