Office of the TreasurerUniversity of CincinnatiDivision of Administration and FinanceOffice of the Treasurer

Office of the Treasurer

Policies and Procedures

Cash Equivalents (Gift Cards, etc.)

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.


Mileage Reimbursement Policy for UC Employees

The Internal Revenue Service announced new standard mileage reimbursement rates for business travel, which the university is implementing for travel occurring on or after January 1, 2021

The reimbursement rate for university business travel by automobile is increased to 56 cents (previously 57.5 cents) per mile. 

Moving expense reimbursements are now fully taxable to recipients, and the separate standard mileage rate that has previously applied to moving expense reimbursements no longer applies, effective January 1, 2018, under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.   

Please share this information with your business administrators and others who travel or process travel reimbursements.  In addition, please direct questions about reimbursement procedures to the Accounts Payable office at (513) 556-6746.