Petty Cash Funds for Research Subject Participants

Contact: General Accounting, (205) 934-9330


Research subjects are considered independent contractors. When incentives are used to pay research subjects such as checks, cash, or non-cash incentives (merchandise, gifts certificates/cards, Visa participant incentive debit cards, etc.), the department must maintain records to adequately account for the distribution of the incentives. The following guidelines must be followed to adequately account for incentives provided to research subjects.

  1. Research subject incentives are a form of compensation. The department must be reasonably assured that the research subject is not a nonresident alien; or a U.S. Citizen, Permanent Resident, or Resident Alien who will receive compensation valued at $600.00 or more during a calendar year from all independent contractor activities resulting in payment from UAB. If an individual is a nonresident alien or receives $600.00 or more from UAB during a calendar year, UAB will be required to file IRS form 1042-S or 1099, respectively.
  2. If it is likely that UAB will be required to file IRS form 1099 or 1042-S, the individual should not be given a check or cash from a petty cash fund, a debit certificate/card or other non-cash incentives. The department must issue payment in the form of a check produced through the UAB Accounts Payable Department, or UAB Payroll Services if the individual is a nonresident alien. The individual's federal tax identification number must be used (i.e. social security number of individual taxpayer identification number). IRS Form W-9 will be required.