As the holiday season approaches, gift-giving poses an ethical dilemma for professionals. Whether you're the one giving the gift or receiving it, think about the specific customer and the relationship the two of them have. Every customer is different and some situations will require more deliberation than others. Here's what to ask yourself before accepting or giving a gift.
Policies usually place a limit on the dollar amount. Gifts that exceed a certain threshold should be reported to Human Resources. Or, they could prohibit giving gifts to people. In those cases, you are allowed to send a box of chocolates, but it must be addressed and intended for the entire team.
Before you take out your credit card to ask a customer for a gift, pick up the phone and call your customer. And in most cases, giving or receiving gifts or free content has also been associated with compliance, as well as creating long-term bonds between the donor and the recipient. However, today, entertainment no longer qualifies for a gift deduction, so they're not the most tax-savvy gifts you can give. Of course, you wouldn't have to factor in contractor donations when handling payroll taxes, as they only apply to your W-2 employees.
Whether you're dealing with people in your own organization, with a customer, or a supplier, there are rules about what you can and can't do, both financially and ethically, and it's important to have an appropriate policy in place to ensure that any gift or hospitality for employees or customers is appropriate and legal. While it's usually considered that the best time to send a free gift or content to your customer or a supplier is before the start of a holiday or holiday season, it's always the right time to send them a token of appreciation. While sending a gift to your customers seems like a great idea morally, it also has other benefits. It can be an important issue to consider when thinking about sending a bottle of wine to your customers for Christmas, which is generally harmless, but there comes a point where even a simple gift could be seen as a bribe.
It varies depending on the gifts and benefits offered (you can see the full list here), but below we'll go over some of the most common ones. If you decide that any of these items are best for your customer's progress, you can usually give them as a gift. Even if you explain that you don't accept gifts from anyone, your client may feel hurt or betrayed, which can damage your relationship and the work you're doing together. But there is a difference between considering your organization and giving a gift that is clearly intended to influence.
The IRS defines them as a gift where “whose value is so small in relation to the frequency with which it is provided, that its accounting is unreasonable or administratively impracticable.