Petty Cash Funds for Research Subject Incentives
Learn the Basics >>
Faculty and staff should follow the guidelines for using a Petty Cash fund to pay one-time research subject incentives in a research project.
Petty Cash Payment Amount
The payments are generally small amounts. If payments to a single individual may total more than $600, additional information will be required (See Maintain the Petty Cash Fund).
If payment is made to a foreign participant, please contact the International Tax Office.
Petty Cash & Independent Contractor Payments
Funds obtained for research subject incentives cannot be used for the payment of personal services that would be considered independent contractor payments.
Establish the Petty Cash Fund >>
- The Principal Investigator (PI) should:
- Complete and sign the Petty Cash Request form.
- Include and attach the following to the Petty Cash Request form:
- Frequency of fund use.
- A copy of the written approval from the Office of Research Integrity & Assurance.
- Amount needed to conduct research in a two week period.
- Approve the requested amount.
- Provide the end date of the project/grant.
- Forward the approved request to Accounts Payable for approval.
- Check disbursement if the expenditures will be charged to a sponsored project.
- Issue the petty cash in the form of a check payable to the custodian, who is the person responsible for managing the fund.
- Contact the custodian when the check is ready for pick up.
- Present a university photo ID at Purchasing and Accounts Payable, University Hall, Suite 4200 and pick up the check in person.
- Sign a Petty Cash Receipt of Funds and Certification of Responsibility upon receipt of the check.
- The custodian may then cash the check and hold the funds in a secure location at Mason.
Maintain the Fund >>
The custodian and the PI are responsible for maintaining the petty cash fund.
- The custodian MUST:
- Store the petty cash in a secure location such as a locked drawer or cabinet.
- Keep the key to the drawer or cabinet in his/her possession at all times.
- Use the Petty Cash Log of Disbursement to record all disbursements to research subjects.
- For each disbursement the log should include:
- The date of disbursement.
- Code number of the recipient.
- Method of payment (cash, gift card, etc.)
- The amount paid to the recipient.
- The description of the expenditure (parking fee, subject payment, etc.)
- Keep a separate key with subject names and code numbers.
- Maintain the key that cross references to the code for ten years.
- Insure that the total of funds disbursed as recorded in the completed log plus cash on hand equal the total amount of the Petty Cash fund at all times.
Petty Cash for $600 or More
If an individual receives $600 or more in a calendar year, the PI must:
- Obtain the Social Security Number and address of the recipient.
- Notify Accounts Payable and Mason will issue a 1099-Misc to the recipient at the end of the calendar year.
Petty Cash Theft
Request Fund Replenishment >>
When the petty cash custodian determines that cash on hand is low, the fund may be replenished.
- The custodian must:
- Complete the Petty Cash Reimbursement Request form, sign and date.
- Attach all receipts/or log of payments to the request.
- Submit the form to the Petty Cash Officer, Accounts Payable, MSN 3C1.
- Allow five business days for the reimbursement request to be processed.
- charge the replenishment check to the grant/fund as processed.
Petty Cash Account with No Activity
If a petty cash account has no activity for 90 days or more, the petty cash account should be reconciled, verified and closed.
Request to Extend the Petty Cash Fund >>
- If an extension is needed for a sponsored project fund:
- Complete Section B in the Petty Cash Request form with a new date.
- Send the completed form to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) for approval.
- OSP will forward the form to Accounts Payable.
Request to Increase/Decrease the Fund Amount >>
- Complete Section B in the Petty Cash Request form noting increase or decrease (if decrease please fill out cash receipt and deposit cash in the Cash office using account code 18213-13136, Bank 5).
- Send the completed form with cash receipt (if decreasing) to Accounts Payable for review and approval.
Request to Change Custodian or Fund/Org Number >>
If there will be a custodian change or change in the Fund or Org Number:
- Complete Section B in the Petty Cash Request form with the applicable information.
- Send the completed form to Accounts Payable.
Close the Fund/Project Completed >>
When the project is complete the PI must:
- Close the Petty Cash fund by completing Section C (Closing Fund) on the Petty Cash Request form.
- The fund should be closed no later than two weeks after the project is complete.
- Obtain appropriate approval.
- Attach all receipts and/or the log of payments.
If some cash has not been disbursed:
- The PI must:
- Complete a Petty Cash Receipt form with the following information:
- Bank code: 5
- Fund 18213, account 13136.
- Description: Custodian’s name.
- Charge the total disbursement to the grant/fund.