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Presenting Gift Cards to Foreign Nationals

Gift Cards

Gift Cards or certificates are commonly used for door prizes and certain awards. They are taxable the same as a check or direct deposit payment, regardless of the amount on the card.

Whenever possible, do not present a gift card to a foreign national nonresident alien. It is best to issue a check by submitting an award or prize payment using the Foreign National Payment e-Form (FNPe-Form).

If you must present a gift card:

Ask the recipient to provide identification for tax purposes. All gift cards must be reported.

If the person is a nonresident alien and you can’t issue a check, you must submit the awarded amount of the card to University Payroll & Benefits on a FNPe-Form for tax reporting purposes.

  • Verify the visa holder is eligible for the payment.
  • Collect the required documents, especially the W-8BEN.
  • Submit the FNPe-Form. Indicate that a gift card was presented and identify the amount of the gift card.
  • The value of the card will be grossed-up and taxes charged to the unit.

Never do these things:

Gift cards or certificates are taxable income. It is important to track them for tax purposes. Avoid practices that make tracking and reporting income to non-resident aliens difficult or impossible.

Never issue an electronic gift card or certificate using an e-code that is emailed to the recipient. This is not allowed.

Never present a card to anyone without reporting the taxable income.

Additional Information:

If you need help, contact the Foreign National Service Center at

Keywords:Presenting Gift Cards to Foreign Nationals   Doc ID:119887
Owner:Erik O.Group:University of Illinois Training and Development Resources
Created:2022-07-25 10:10 CDTUpdated:2022-07-25 10:15 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois Training and Development Resources
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