Compensation & Reimbursement: Frequently Asked Questions
Institutional guidance for stipends, prepayments, gift cards, and cash payments.
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With the exception of the research study participant payments and certain award payments and royalties, all payments for services by employees must be processed through Payroll rather than Accounts Payable. To request payment for these services, a memorandum must be sent to Payroll describing the services, dollars to be paid and account information.
Some business expenses paid to or on behalf of employees may be treated as wages, subject to Form W-2 and payroll tax reporting.
This includes indirect moving expenses, all Cash Gifts or cash equivalents such as gift certificates, gift cards, awards or gifts to employees, some Tangible Gifts and other payments which are considered a taxable benefit. Tangible gifts under $100.00 per occurrence are considered De minimis and will not be taxed. For additional limits or restrictions, refer to Policy BF.PA.043 Gifts. Prizes and Awards (network access required).
The IRS imposes certain requirements on MCW in order for an employee to receive reimbursement for a business expense. MCW has an Accountable Plan for reimbursement. The Plan requirements, which apply in every instance, are defined below:>
- The amount reimbursed to an employee must be for an expense incurred while performing a service as an employee of MCW. MCW requires a clear business purpose for all reimbursements.
- There must be adequate accounting within a reasonable timeframe. To comply with IRS regulations and facilitate timely Department review and authorization, MCW requires expenses be submitted for reimbursement within 60 days of the date incurred. Reimbursements submitted after 60 days will require written authorization from the Authorized Department Representative or Chairperson. Expenses submitted after six months will not be reimbursed.
- Any excess reimbursement or allowance must be returned within a reasonable period of time. The IRS defines a reasonable amount of time as 120 days.
Provided these three requirements are met, MCW will not consider the reimbursement as taxable income to the employee.
- $60.00 or Less - Individual gift card payments to research study participants for amounts of $60 or less are considered by MCW to be de minimis in nature and do not require a social security number to be collected from participants. The research study participant’s proper legal name, signature, date and amount received are required to be collected and stored by the research study site and submitted to Accounts Payable. This de minimis amount is not applicable to check payments.
- Greater than $60.00 – Individual gift card payments to research study participants greater than $60 require the collection of the participant’s proper legal name, home address, social security number and amount received. This information must be stored securely (e.g. in locked drawer if paper format, or an encrypted file if in electronic format; the key for which is kept by a limited number of people who have a need to know) at the research study site, and also submitted via secure means (e.g. encrypted file) to Accounts Payable.
- Gift Card Payments should not be used for additional reimbursable expenses for research study participants which are reimbursed separately.
- Any loss or theft of gift cards must be reported to Public Safety. Departments are responsible for replacing any gift cards that are not covered by institutional insurance.
*Regardless of participant payment amount and mechanism (i.e. check, gift card, MCW Participant Payments Compensation Card), study teams are required to provide legal name, home address and amount received to MCW Accounts Payable for every participant payment made. For additional information, please refer to MCW Corporate Policy BF.PA.010. If you have additional questions or comments please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
All Study Payments FAQs
Getting StartedMost frequently asked questions to start using Study Payments System.
Compensation and Reimbursement PoliciesInstitutional guidance for stipends, prepayments, gift cards, and cash payments.
Process and Financial FAQsInstitutional procedures regarding card use, distribution, and management.
Software FAQsHelp and troubleshooting for the Study Payments system.