Gift Card & Prize Purchases using PCard

Gift Card/Prize Guidelines and Process when PCard is Utilized

The State of Arkansas has granted the University of Arkansas an exemption that allows the PCard to be utilized to purchase Gift Cards, if approved by the eProcurement Office.   Currently the following types of gift cards are allowable when the PCard has been PRE-APPROVED for use:

  • Walmart
  • Sam's Club
  • Amazon

You are not allowed to purchase another merchant's gift card while purchasing from one of these locations.  Our exemption to allow the use of the PCard, is only for gift cards branded by one of these merchants.

Gift Cards are considered cash equivalents, and therefore it is important that organizational units handle and account for these cards appropriately.   The purpose of these guidelines is to set forth the requirements for use, approval, purchase, accounting, tax reporting, and safeguarding of gift cards.

The main use for the disbursement of gift cards fall under one of the categories below:

  • Research Incentive
  • Student award (example:  placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, in Poetry contest)
  • Drawing at an Athletic Event (Example:  drawing of a seat number)

A gift card purchased for use as a 'gift' is NOT ALLOWABLE.  In most instances employees will not qualify for a gift card, unless the employee has been picked as part of a research incentive or random drawing event such as an Athletic event.  If that is the case, the employee will be taxed on the gift card value through Payroll.

Employees who qualify for a gift card will be taxed through Payroll regardless of the dollar amount, other recipients will receive a 1099-MISC form IF the total amount of payments for the individual reach a dollar amount of $600.  If the total dollar amount a non-employee receives is less than $600, it is the responsibility of the individual to report these earnings.

Please note:  If you have a winner of a prize or award that is not a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident, the award or prize must be made through Payroll or Accounts Payable in order to withhold the appropriate amount of federal tax.  You will work with the team in Human Resources that works with Nonresident Aliens for U.S. Tax Purposes.  Presently, that would be Shelly Gahagans, Grace Tjoclinton, or Amber Duncan.  You cannot give a gift card for a prize or award to a foreign national because of the required federal tax withholding. 

Contact Information:

Shelly Gahagans:

Grace Tjoclinton:

Amber Duncan:

Phone:  575-2158

Be aware that you cannot always use an international student or scholar as a research subject.  This needs to be approved BEFORE you allow a foreign national to participate as a research subject.  Again, you need to check with Shelly, Grace, or Amber.  There could be severe consequences if you use a foreign national as a research subject that should not have been used.

For students who qualify for a gift card, if the amount of the gift card is $200 or greater, this amount will  be provided to Financial Aid and will be entered as part of the student's scholarship package.

Gift cards, once purchased, must be kept in a secure campus location (example: locked drawer or safe) until distributed. 

Steps for Pre-Approval and Purchase

  1. A Gift Card/Prize Request Form  must be completely filled out, signed, and emailed to the eProcurement office at (exception is Food Science Testing Lab, where a process is already in place due to the extensive number of gift card incentives purchased).
  2. If request is approved, the Gift Card/Prize Request Form will be emailed back to the requester with an approved signature from the eProcurement Office. 
  3. Gift Cards are then purchased making every effort to ONLY purchase the quantity of cards that you know will be distributed for the specific event.  In other words, do not guess at how many cards are needed.  In most instances, you should know exactly the number of cards that will be distributed as defined on the Gift Card/Prize Request Form.
  4. When gift cards are distributed,  each recipient is to sign the Gift Card/Prize Disbursement Log.   All information must be filled out on this form including: last 4 digits of card number,  dollar value of card, Employee or Student ID (if applicable), US Citizen status, printed name, and signature of recipient.  
  5. All documentation MUST be in the eProcurement office after each cutoff date for which the gift cards/prizes were purchased.  The following documentation must be included:
    • Signed Gift Card/Prize Request Form
    • Signed Gift Card/Prize Disbursement Log
    • Receipts from vendor where Gift Cards/Prizes were purchased
    • If your study will be confidential and anonymous for IRB purposes a letter from the PI will be required stating such. The number of cards and dollar amounts of all cards given out will still be required by the eProcurement Office. The researcher will need to keep all confidential files for their own records. 
  6. All documentation will be forwarded to the Tax Compliance Office for review and submission to Payroll, or W9 reporting, if applicable.

In the rare event that all cards purchased were not able to be disbursed, the number of cards, last four digits of card numbers, and an explanation of where the cards are being stored must be provided with your documentation.  

Failure to comply with any of these steps will result in immediate suspension of the card holder's PCard. 

Please Note:  If it is found in the PCard audit where gift cards were purchased, without the signed pre-approval, the card holder's PCard will be suspended immediately and further use of the PCard by the cardholder will not be allowed until the eProcurement Office deems appropriate.