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California State University, Long BeachCalifornia State University, Long Beach

Acounts Payable and Travel — Frequently Asked Questions

Gifts

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General Information

Who is expected to follow the Gift Policies?

The policies apply to all award and non-cash gift expenses incurred by the University, the Foundation, The Forty Niner Shops and Associated Students Inc. The Auxiliaries and departments may choose to implement more restrictive policies.

Can my department buy a gift for an employee? Under what circumstances and how much money can be spent?

University policy and IRS rulings permit awards and non-cash gifts to employees for the recognition of length of service, work accomplishment or retirement, as well as an expression of sympathy or congratulations. Examples of such awards and gifts may be found in the Administrative Guidelines on Awards and Non-Cash Gifts to Employees.

Any gift or award made to an employee must not result in taxable income to the recipient or it is not an award or gift. In addition, the expenditure of funds for gifts and awards should be cost effective and in accordance with the best use of public funds.

When determining if a gift is appropriate, the occasion must, in the best judgment of the approving authority, be infrequent, based on objective criteria and serve a clear University business purpose. The approving authority must also evaluate the importance of the occasion in terms of the costs that will be incurred; the benefits to be derived from such an expense; the availability of funds; and any alternatives that would be equally effective in accomplishing the desired objectives.

Can my department buy a gift for a non-employee? Under what circumstances and how much money can be spent?

University policy and IRS rulings permit the presentation of gifts to non-employees when the gift or contribution will benefit the University or clearly helps the University meet its role as a good community citizen. Examples of such gifts and procedures for approving them are found in the Administrative Guidelines on Gifts Presented to Non-Employees.

Gifts are presented when tradition, commonly accepted institutional practice, or social custom dictates such an occasion. A gift of moderate expense may be presented to non-University individuals or organizations when the gifts are made on behalf of the University.

Any gift made to outside individuals or organizations must not result in taxable income to the recipient or it is not a gift. In addition, the expenditure of funds for gifts should be cost effective and in accordance with the best use of public funds.

When determining if a gift is appropriate, the occasion must, in the best judgment of the approving authority, be infrequent, based on objective criteria and serve a clear University business purpose. The approving authority must also evaluate the importance of the occasion in terms of the costs that will be incurred; the benefits to be derived from such an expense; the availability of funds; and any alternatives that would be equally effective in accomplishing the desired objectives.

What are the dollar limits for employee awards and non-cash gifts?
The maximum allowable amount for employee awards and non-cash gifts shall not exceed the following:
Occasion Maximum Amount Allowed* Maximum before July 1, 2007
Length of Service; Work Achievement;
Retirement Awards
$400.00 $250.00 No Exception
$250.01 - $400.0 with Exception
Parking Permits $195.00 $195.00
Transit Passes $100.00 $100.00
Promotional Gifts $50.00 $50.00
Congratulatory or Sympathy Gifts $90.00 $75.00

*Footnotes:

  1. Reimbursement or payment for amounts greater than those listed is not allowed except for congratulatory or sympathy gifts.
  2. Reimbursement or payment for congratulatory or sympathy gifts greater than $90.00 requires exceptional approval.
  3. These amounts include taxes but do no include incidental costs such as engraving, gift wrapping or mailing.
What are the dollar limits for non-employee gifts?
The maximum allowable amount for non-employee gifts shall not exceed the following:
Occasion Maximum Amount Allowed* Maximum before July 1, 2007
Appreciation or Recognition $400.00 $400.00
Promotional Gifts $50.00 $50.00
Congratulatory or Sympathy Gifts $90.00 $75.00

*Footnotes:

  1. Reimbursement or payment for amounts greater than those listed is not allowed except for congratulatory or sympathy gifts.
  2. Reimbursement or payment for congratulatory or sympathy gifts greater than $90.00 requires exceptional approval.
  3. These amounts include taxes but do no include incidental costs such as engraving, gift wrapping or mailing.
I want to pay for or get reimbursed for a gift. What should I do?

Determine if gift is to an employee or non-employee and complete the appropriate form: Request for Payment of Non-Cash Award to University Employee and Sympathy Gifts orRequest for Payment of Gifts Presented to Non-Employees on Behalf of the University.

Provide the following information:

  • Name & Title of University Official Presenting the Award (in this case, gift) – this must be a person
  • Name & Title of Employee or Person receiving the Award or Gift
  • Location and Date of Event
  • Description of item purchased
  • Chartfield information – GF001 or RA001 may not be used for these types of gifts
  • Total Cost (may not exceed $90.00 per department/office. This amount includes taxes but does not include incidental costs such as engraving, gift wrapping, mailing, or delivery charges.)
  • Itemized invoice showing all costs if payment is to be made directly to the vendor
  • Itemized receipt that demonstrates what was purchased and the form of payment if a reimbursement

Obtain appropriate level of approval.

  • Payment or reimbursement for gifts to non-employees may only be approved by the Vice President, Associate Vice President, College Dean, Executive Assistant to the President (or higher level), the Director of Athletics and the Auxiliaries Chief Executive Officers. This authority may not be re-delegated.
  • Approval for gifts to employees may be delegated to the Administrative Services Manager or Fiscal Officers. It may not be delegated any further.
I want to send a gift of sympathy or congratulations. What should I know?

Sympathy or congratulatory expressions may be made in the form of a tangible gift to employees and non-employees or to a member of their family or household.

  • The cost of such gifts is limited to $90.00 per department/office. This amount includes taxes but does not include incidental costs such as engraving, gift wrapping, mailing, or delivery charges.
  • Gifts that exceed this amount will require a written justification and exceptional approval.
  • Payment or reimbursement for gifts to non-employees may only be approved by the Vice President, Associate Vice President, College Dean, Executive Assistant to the President (or higher level), the Director of Athletics and the Auxiliaries Chief Executive Officers. This authority may not be re-delegated.
  • Approval for gifts to employees may be delegated to the Administrative Services Manager or Fiscal Officers. It may not be delegated any further.
  • The CSU Operating Fund or Federal funds may not be used to pay for or reimburse these types of gifts
  • Charges to Trust Funds, Auxiliary funds and Contract/Grant funds are only permitted if there are no restrictions within the fund.
I want purchase logo shirts for my staff. What should I know?

The University and Foundation Policy for Employee Awards and Non-Cash Gifts applies in this situation.Logo shirts are considered “promotional items” and may be given to an employee to promote the name, image and programs of the University; to provide information; to enhance the university morale or encourage good customer relations.

The value of promotional items may not exceed $50.00. That means each shirt may not cost more than $50.00 – no exceptions.

  • Payment or reimbursement for promotional items may be approved by the Vice President, Associate Vice President, College Dean, Executive Assistant to the President (or higher level), the Director of Athletics and the Auxiliaries Chief Executive Officers. This authority may be delegated to the Administrative Services Manager or Fiscal Officers. It may not be delegated any further.
  • The CSU Operating Fund or Federal funds may not be used to pay for or reimburse these types of gifts
  • Charges to Trust Funds, Auxiliary funds and Contract/Grant funds are only permitted if there are no restrictions within the fund.
I want to pay for or get reimbursed for the purchase of logo shirts. What should I do?

Complete the Request for Payment of Non-Cash Award to University Employee and Sympathy Gifts form.Provide the following information:

  • Name & Title of University Official Presenting the Award (in this case, a promotional gift) – this must be a person
  • Name & Title of Employee(s) receiving the shirts – a complete list of names is required
  • Location and Date of Event
  • Description of item purchased
  • Chartfield information – GF001 or RA001 may not be used for these types of gifts
  • Total Cost (may not exceed $50.00 per logo item per person)
  • Itemized invoice showing all costs if payment is to be made directly to the vendor
  • Itemized receipt that demonstrates what was purchased and the form of payment if a reimbursement

Obtain appropriate level of approval. Payment or reimbursement for promotional items may be approved by the Vice President, Associate Vice President, College Dean, Executive Assistant to the President (or higher level), the Director of Athletics and the Auxiliaries Chief Executive Officers. This authority may be delegated to the Administrative Services Manager or Fiscal Officers. It may not be delegated any further.

Who can approve awards or non-cash gifts to employees?

Approval for all official University Employee Awards and Non-Cash Gift expenses must be obtained at the appropriate level. Individuals with delegated approval authority shall not approve requests for expenses of events for which they were the Official Presenter or of a person to whom they directly report. The approving authority is the next highest level of the Official Presenter.

Payment or reimbursement for official University Employee Awards and Non-Cash Gift expenses may be approved by the Vice President, Associate Vice President, College Dean, Executive Assistant to the President (or higher level), the Director of Athletics and the Auxiliaries Chief Executive Officers. This authority may be delegated to the Administrative Services Manager or Fiscal Officers. It may not be delegated any further.

Principal Investigators or Project Directors of the Foundation do not have authority to approve gift expenses. This is applicable for both discretionary accounts and grant accounts. A Dean may not delegate signature authority to a Principal Investigator or Project Director.

A Principal Investigator or Project Director, who is also a Dean, may approve project or grant expenditures other than their own. The next highest level of approval is required for expenses incurred by a Principal Investigator or Project Director that is also a Dean.

ASMs who are a Principal Investigator or Project Director may not approve expenses for their own project or grant. A Dean or higher approval is required.

Who can approve gifts to non-employees?

Approval for all official University gift expenses to non-employees must be obtained at the appropriate level. Individuals with delegated approval authority shall not approve requests for expenses of events for which they were the Official Presenter or of a person to whom they directly report. The approving authority is the next highest level of the Official Presenter.

Payment or reimbursement for gifts to non-employees may only be approved by the Vice President, Associate Vice President, College Dean, Executive Assistant to the President (or higher level), the Director of Athletics and the Auxiliaries Chief Executive Officers. This authority may not be re-delegated.

Principal Investigators or Project Directors of the Foundation do not have authority to approve gift expenses. This is applicable for both discretionary accounts and grant accounts. A Dean may not delegate signature authority to a Principal Investigator or Project Director.

A Principal Investigator or Project Director, who is also a Dean, may approve project or grant expenditures other than their own. The next highest level of approval is required for expenses incurred by a Principal Investigator or Project Director that is also a Dean.

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Funding

What are allowable funding sources for gifts?

Official gift expenses may be paid from various University funding sources. Eligible funding sources for use with gift expenses are Housing, Parking, Miscellaneous Trust, CCPE Trust funds and funds maintained by the Auxiliary organizations.

The CSU Operating Fund (GF001) and Reimbursed Activities Fund (RA001) may only be used for promotional gift expenses. These funds may not be used for any other type of gift expense.

If Federal funds are to be charged, directly or indirectly, campus procedures and controls must be in place to ensure that the requirements of OMB Circular A-21 Cost Principles for Educational Institutions are met.

In the event of a conflict between the terms of the fund (eg. funding source) and University policy, the stricter of the two policies shall apply.

What funding sources are not allowed for gifts?

Funds not listed as allowable funds are excluded from use with gift expenses.

The CSU Operating Fund (GF001) and Reimbursed Activities Fund (RA001) may only be used for promotional gift expenses. These funds may not be used for any other type of gift expense.

What are allowable gift expenses using the CSU Operating Fund – GF001?

The CSU Operating Fund (GF001) and Reimbursed Activities Fund (RA001) may only be used for promotional gift expenses. These funds may not be used for any other type of gift expense.

Promotional gifts are items having a non-material value (not exceeding $50) and

  • Bears the logo, icon or other information identifying the University
  • Is one of a number of identical items distributed by the University
  • Examples include, but are not limited to: pens, mugs, folders, calendars or clothing
What are allowable gift expenses using Enterprise Funds?

A gift or employee award is considered allowable when they are infrequent and serve a clear University business purpose. The gift or award must be within the limits of the gift guidelines and not otherwise restricted by the fund.

The gift or award must not result in taxable income to the recipient. Gifts should be cost effective and in accordance with the best use of public funds

Examples of occasions where gifts charged to Enterprise Funds are allowable: length of service, work achievement, retirement, congratulatory, sympathy, appreciation, or recognition. Promotional items may also be charged to Enterprise Funds.

What types of gift expenses are not allowable in any fund?

Any gift that is taxable is not allowable. Expenses for such awards and gifts cannot be reimbursed from any funding source or approved as an exception to this policy. Unallowable awards and gifts include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Gifts or awards of cash
  • Gifts of bottled alcoholic beverages or tobacco products
  • Negotiable gift certificates (those that can be exchanged for cash)
  • Parking permit in excess of $195
  • Transit passes in excess of $100
  • Length of service or retirement awards in excess of $400
  • Season tickets to sporting or cultural events
  • Holiday, Birthday, Shower, etc. gifts
  • Gifts in excess of policy limits
  • Lavish or extravagant expenses
  • Expenses not substantiated with appropriate supporting documentation

Gifts may not be presented:

  1. To any individual or organization associated either directly or indirectly with a political party, campaign, candidate, or a group engaged in an attempt to influence legislation, elections, referendums, or the like.
  2. When any conflict of interest exists. For example, a personal or social relationship exists between presenter and/or approving authority and recipient.
  3. When the business reason for making the gift or the nature of the business benefit the University derived or expects to derive is not documented in writing.
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Definitions

What is an Award?

An award is a non-cash item of tangible personal property meant to be occasional and presented on an infrequent and non-discriminatory basis to an employee.

What is a Business Expense?

A business expense is an expense that has an appropriate business purpose and one where a clear University-related objective is demonstrated instead of a personal or social one.

What is an Exception?

An exception is an award or non-cash gift that is not in accordance with the gift policies. Examples include but are not limited to expenses that exceed the maximum rates specified; missing appropriate documentation, and any other type of award or non-cash gift expense that is not specifically included in either policy.

What is considered Gift?

A gift is a non-cash item of tangible personal property given directly or indirectly to a person. A gift given to a company that is intended for the eventual personal benefit of a particular person is considered an indirect gift to that person. A gift given to a person's family is generally considered to be a gift to that person.

What is an Incidental Cost?

An incidental cost is one that does not add substantial value to the gift. Examples are engraving, packaging, insuring, mailing and gift-wrapping.

What does Non-Negotiable mean?

Non-negotiable confers only the right to receive tangible personal property, not cash or cash for the difference between the purchase price and the value of the gift purchase.

What are Promotional Items?

Promotional gifts are items having a non-material value (not exceeding $50) and

  • Bears the logo, icon or other information identifying the University
  • Is one of a number of identical items distributed by the University
  • Examples include, but are not limited to: pens, mugs, folders, calendars or clothing The CSU Operating Fund (GF001) and Reimbursed Activities Fund (RA001) may be used for promotional gift expenses.
Who can be an Official Presenter?

The Official Presenter is an employee representing the University or Foundation who presents the gift or award to the recipient.

Who can be a Recipient?

The Administrative Guidelines on Employee Awards and Non Cash Gifts requires the recipient to be an employee of the University or Foundation.

The Administrative Guidelines on Gifts to Non-University Employees defines recipient as someone not employed by the University or Foundation. Individuals or organizations eligible to receive gifts include, but is not limited to, donors or potential donors; visiting dignitaries and/or scholars; volunteers (including students); clientele; independent consultants; and members of the local community.

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Exceptions

The gift did not comply with policy. What should I do?

Determine if the gift is to an employee or non-employee and complete the appropriate formRequest for Payment of Non-Cash Award to University Employee and Sympathy Gifts orRequest for Payment of Gifts Presented to Non-Employees on Behalf of the University.

The Authorization for Exceptions to the Policy section must also be completed and approved.

  • State the nature of the exception (amount exceeded, no itemized receipt, etc)
  • Provide a reason/justification as to why it was necessary to deviate from the policy.

Obtain appropriate level of approval.

  • Exceptions may only be approved by the Vice Presidents, the Director of Athletics and the Auxiliaries Chief Executive Officers. This authority may not be re-delegated.
Who can approve exceptions to the gift policies?

The President must authorize any exception to the policies for employee and non-employee gifts/awards. The President has delegated the authority to approve exceptions to this policy to the Vice Presidents, the Director of Athletics and the Auxiliaries Chief Executive Officer/General Manager. This authority may not be delegated any further.

This delegation does not extend to the following:

  • Payment or reimbursement of expenses that are not allowed by University policy
  • Expenses that are lavish or extravagant under the circumstances
  • Expenses that are not in compliance with IRS regulations
  • Expenses that constitute taxable income to the recipient.