A "cash equivalent" is a gift card, gift certificate or similar item, redeemable with one or more merchants, and usually with a stated face value dollar amount. Cash equivalents given as compensation are always taxable to the recipient, regardless of amount (that is, the de minimis benefit rules can not apply to cash equivalents).
Cash equivalents do not include items of non-cash merchandise, if given infrequently (to that individual and in whole). While non-cash items given as compensation are also normally taxable, UC's Employee Reward, Recognition and Acknowledgement Policy dictates that employees and independent contractors may receive such infrequent non-cash items valued at $100 or less per calendar year on a non-taxable basis, as a de minimis benefit.
A gift certificate or coupon redeemable for a specific item at only one merchant (for example, a ham from HoneyBaked Ham) will not be considered a cash equivalent.
The Internal Revenue Service announced new standard mileage reimbursement rates effective January 1, 2013. The University has chosen to implement those same rates.
The reimbursement rate for University business travel by automobile is 56.5 (previously 55.5) cents per mile.
Also effective January 1, 2013, the reimbursement rate for non-taxable moving expenses is 24 (previously 23) cents per mile. Please consult the university's Relocation Expenses policy for guidance.
Please share this information with your business administrators and others who travel or process travel reimbursements. Please direct any questions about reimbursement procedures to the Accounts Payable office at (513) 556-6746.