The year 2015 is coming to a close, and it is traditional to say thank you to customers and employees for their support during the year. This recognition may be an oral or a written thank you or a more tangible gift of nominal or substantial value. Consider:
Writing a personal note ....
Writing a personal note to employees, customers (and your family members, too) to tell them how much you appreciate what they have done for others and for you during the year. If you choose to purchase preprinted cards for this occasion, your card will be much more valuable to the recipient if you personalize it with a detailed message.
Giving food or wine as a gift. Traditionally, businesses have given customers and employees turkeys or ham. Of course, giving specific food item gifts may not be appreciated by all. For example, vegetarians would not welcome any animal food product. Individuals who keep kosher would not appreciate any animal product unless it was kosher. Then there are problems with delivery, refrigeration, etc. Joseph Shansky, a member of the Rhode Island Creative Magazine Team, has suggested giving a bottle of a nice wine with the company name on the label as an alternative gift.
Many would welcome this gift, but there may be individuals who have selected not to drink alcohol. You could substitute a gift certificate at a grocery store, but the certificate would probably be taxable income if it has a dollar value and it is given to an employee. It might not be taxable if given for a specific item such as a turkey. If giving an edible gift be sure to consider what each recipient would appreciate.
Gift a household item.
Host a holiday celebration.
Make something personal for your customers and employees. Possibly an artist could give a nice print which they have made. A musician could send a custom song. Whatever item you select, the gift will be appreciated more if it connects your gift recipients and you.
You may wish to give more substantial gifts, especially to employees. For example, you may know that your employee has a special anniversary coming up and might decide to buy the employee and spouse a weekend at a resort for the holidays. Alternatively, you may know the employee really enjoys golf, but would never buy themselves the golf clubs they want. Thus, you might buy golf clubs for the employee for the holidays. These gifts would be taxable to the employee, so if you decide to give this type of gift, be sure to give the employee additional money (probably equal to the value of the gift) to pay the taxes on the gift as well as the taxes on the taxes, etc. Similarly, if employers frequently give small gifts to employees, these may become taxable.
If you choose to give gifts to your business or government customers, check the policy of the potential gift recipient’s employer to be sure this is okay to do. Otherwise, you could end up with an awkward situation.
Likewise, be sure to check on the tax deductibility of gifts given for your business. Nominal gifts may be deductible, but more substantial ones would only be partially deductible.
Thank You! for reading Rhode Island Creative Magazine and Happy Holidays!!!
by Ronald Shapiro, Ph.D.
I would like to thank Joseph Shansky and Dr. Margarita Posada Cossuto for helpful comments.