WHILE OTHER DOLLAR THRESHOLDS HAVE INCREASED, GIFT RULES REMAIN THE SAME
Over the course of the last several years the government has increased the Simplified Acquisition Threshold dollar level, the Micro-Purchase Threshold dollar level, and the dollar threshold at which someone can qualify as an 8(a) company owner. These increased levels reflect inflation and other market forces. Despite government flexibility elsewhere, however, the dollar limit on gifts to federal employees remains the same. Contractors need to remember that there is generally a per-occasion limit of $20 per federal employee and a $50 annual limit on what one federal employ can receive from any single source. A company is considered a single source. It is also advisable to check with federal workers you or your team might want to present with a gift before doing so. Some agencies have specialized rules that prohibit such people as political appointees from taking any gifts. No contractor wants the intent of a gift to backfire and create an awkward situation. Both contractors and federal employees can get in trouble if they give and accept gifts that are over prescribed dollar limits. It is useful to remember, also, that the eyes of competitors and other feds may be watching in larger group situations. Cups of coffee, donuts, and even promotional pens are usually all acceptable so long as they don’t add up to more than $20 in aggregate on one occasion. Lunch or dinner at the Palm is likely to be off limits, unless everyone agrees to pay their own way. Straight cash gifts of up to $20 are also prohibited. If it’s been a while since your company has had training on gift giving and ethics rules now is a good time to re-start it as people meet in person more and more. Remember, too, that Allen Federal loves the Palm and that it is unincumbered by federal gift giving rules.