9.1.7. ADVANCES FOR RESEARCH SUBJECTS AND SURVEY PARTICIPANTS
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires The University of Texas at Austin to report all cumulative payments of services in excess of $600 in a calendar year. The research subject and survey participant forms will assist the University in meeting IRS regulations and should be used according to the following guidelines.
United States Internal Revenue Service
The Office of the Vice President for Research is responsible for the administration of research ethics at The University of Texas at Austin. The Vice President for Research oversees the functioning of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Office of Research Support and Compliance (RSC). For more information regarding Human Subjects Research, please visit: https://research.utexas.edu/ors/human-subjects/welcome/
B. How to Request a Participant Study Cash Advance
Participant Study cash advance requests must be submitted to the Cash Advance Section in Payment Services at least seven business days prior to the date funds are needed but funds cannot be disbursed earlier than 30 calendar days before the cash advance start date.
To request a Participant Study cash advance, take the following steps:
- Complete the Participant Study Cash Advance Request Form*. Other departmental versions of this form are not allowed. Note: The requestor must provide the IRB Determination Letter and Initial Protocol Request to the Principal Investigator (PI) of the grant and, if applicable, to the additional optional CSU Reviewer in order to support their approval of the Cash Advance Request. This documentation does not need to be provided to Payment Services with the Cash Advance Request Form.
- Obtain signatures from the following:
- Required: The Principal Investigator (PI) of the grant.
- Required: Authorized Signer on the Account. Note: If the PI, or another authorized signer, is receiving the funds, a different authorized signer on the account must sign the request form. (see GBS screen of *DEFINE).
- Required: College, School, or Unit (CSU) Business Officer. CSU Business Officer Contacts: https://utdirect.utexas.edu/ohs/contacts/list-contacts/index.WBX
- Optional: Additional Reviewer at discretion of CSU.
- Send by campus mail or hand deliver the packet of original documents to the Cash Advance Section in Payment Services UTA Room 3.302, mail code D9600. Note: The Cash Advance Section can accept the document as a PDF via email to firstname.lastname@example.org but the original documents must still be sent to the Cash Advance Section Cash Advance Desk.
C. Payment Amounts and Documentation Requirements
The following standard forms must be used for participant studies. Departmental substitute forms are not allowed.
A cash advance period may not extend beyond a six-month time frame. If the study is planned to last longer than six months, multiple cash advances for different time periods may be issued accordingly so that researchers will not experience a lapse in coverage.
Research and study consent forms will acknowledge that the University may need to collect certain taxpayer information under compensation limits set forth below.
Research subjects and study participants must be asked whether or not the compensation received for the current research project in combination with all other compensation received from the University will equal or exceed $600 in the current calendar year.
Research subjects and study participants receiving $600 or more in a calendar year from all University of Texas at Austin compensation must provide IRS 1099 related information.
Participant Study Cash Advance Request Form*
D. Payments of $600 or Less During a Calendar Year
If a research subject or survey participant expects payments for all compensation received from the University to collectively total $600 or less for the calendar year, the following is required:
E. Payments in Excess of $600 During a Calendar Year
If a research subject or survey participant expects payments for all compensation received from the University to collectively total $600 or more for the calendar year, the following is required:
- Complete the Individual Receipt Form,* and the Summary Reconciliation Sheet* for reconciliation totals.
- Printed name of participant
- Participant must sign acknowledging receipt of funds
- Date the funds were received by participant
- Dollar amount of funds received by participant
- Social Security Number of participant for IRS purposes
- Mailing address of participant
- Individual disbursing funds must print name and initial
Specific information must be provided by the researcher if any of the above cannot be ascertained from the individual. These exceptions must be approved by the CSU Business Officer prior to payment.
F. Internet Studies
If a research subject or survey participant receives a small payment via an internet study for research and survey compensation, less documentation is required. The de minimis payment threshold for payments to participants in internet studies is $25 and all payments for these participant fees must be made using gift certificates; refer to 9.1.7.C. If payment is for $25 or less, the following documentation is required:
- Researcher-assigned identification number or printed name
- Email address of the participant acknowledging receipt of funds
- Date the funds were issued to the participant
- Dollar amount of funds issued to the participant
- Individual disbursing funds must print name and initial
Note: You may use either the Individual Receipt Form* or the Multiple Participant Receipt Form* for these payments. If you use either the Individual Receipt Form* or the Multiple Participant Receipt Form*, you must also use the Summary Reconciliation Sheet* for reconciliation totals.
If payment for internet studies is more than $25, you must follow the policy in the above sections D and E and obtain either physical or electronic signatures. Electronic signatures may be obtained through DocuSign only. DocuSign is the university electronic signature service provider.
G. Extension or Change to an existing Cash Advance
If an extension of the dates for an existing cash advance is required, or a change to an account number is necessary, then re-approval by all approvers is required. The approved request must be forwarded to the Cash Advance Section in Payment Services for review and approval before an extension is granted. Cash Advance periods cannot extend past 6 months. If an extension is needed beyond 6 months, then the current cash advance request must be closed and reconciled and any unused cash returned. NOTE: Extension of a cash advance is not an extension of the IRB approval period or study.
H. Reconciliation of Cash Advances
Administrative personnel for the department conducting the research or study must reconcile the research payments, verify that all appropriate information has been collected, and must ensure that the dates of the receipts are within the date range of the cash advance participant study. If the dates of receipts are not within the date range of the cash advance participant study, then the receipt cannot be used on the cash advance reconciliation. Instead, cash for the unusable receipt must be returned with the reconciliation of the cash advance and the receipt used as documentation for a *DEFINE VP2 payable to the researcher.
Review and approval of the payment reconciliation information must be given by the Principal Investigator and the CSU business officer using the Summary Reconciliation Sheet*. Reconciliations and return of any unused cash must be completed and turned into Payment Services 30 days after the end of the cash advance date.
I. Returning Unused Funds
When turning in a reconciliation that includes unused funds, send an e-mail to the Cash Advance Desk at email@example.com to set up an appointment between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to hand deliver the funds to the Cash Advance Section in Payment Services. The Cash Advance Desk will reply to confirm the appointment. The e-mail should include:
- The approximate time the funds and cash advance reconciliation documentation will be brought to the Cash Advance Section in Payment Services
- An attachment of the original cash advance request memo
Note: If the original cash advance memo is not available, the e-mail should include the following information:
- cash advance payment voucher document ID, if known
- recipient’s name
- title and dates of the study
- amount of the cash advance
At the appointment, the front desk personnel in the Cash Advance Section in Payment Services will issue a receipt of payment to document the return of funds.
Do not send documentation, checks, or cash via campus mail. The Cash Advance Section in Payment Services is not responsible for documents, checks, or cash placed in campus mail.
J. Use of Procard
The Procard may be used to purchase gift cards or gift certificates for research subjects and survey participants if preferred. Departments must follow the same procedure that is required when gift certificates are purchased by cash advance. This includes asking participants if they will be receiving $600 or more in total compensation from UT Austin during the calendar year, using the same receipt and reconciliation forms, and performing the same reconciliation. The VP7 document ID number must be included in the reconciliation. Departments must send the reconciliation with required tax information to the Cash Advance Section in Payment Services, Cash Advance Desk—mail code D9600, for any participant who answered "yes" to the $600 question. Payment Services will randomly audit transactions coded as 1340 on VP7 Procard payment vouchers for required documentation. If required documentation is not imaged, the department will be required to correct by submitting required documentation to the Cash Advance Desk in Payment Services to ensure the required documentation is imaged.
K. Voucher Coding
Research subject and survey participant payments should be coded 1340, the object code for Participant Fees.
L. Survey Confidentiality
Survey information, including payment information, is confidential. Payment information may be used to process federal income tax documentation.
M. Reimbursement for Research Subjects and Survey Participants Expenses
A researcher can be reimbursed for research subjects and survey participants expenses without requesting a cash advance on a *DEFINE VP2 payment document but must follow sections C-G above using one of these two forms: Individual Receipt Form* or the Multiple Participant Receipt Form* for these payments. If you use either of these two forms, you must also complete the Summary Reconciliation Sheet* for reconciliation totals.
N. Contact Information
If you have any questions regarding payments to survey and study participants, please contact the Cash Advance Desk in Payment Services.
* Note: PDFs are best viewed with Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 or later. Earlier versions may result in incomplete rendering of information. A free update of Adobe Acrobat Reader may be obtained from Adobe.
Part 9. Expenditure Procedures - Table of Contents