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Resources :: Guide :: Paying participants :: Special requirements for studies where payment is funded by U.Va. or state funds

Special Requirements for Studies Where Payment is Funded by U.Va. or State Funds (Including Grants)

If you are paying participants using funds from a U.Va. or State funds (including individual, outside grants administered by U.Va), the preferred method for paying participants is to issue a check using Oracle. In order for U.Va. to account for all payments made for tax purposes, U.Va.’s Procurement Services is charged with tracking payments. Tracking individual payments for the purpose of keeping accurate records for taxes is not generally a concern of the IRB-SBS.  For the Procurement Services office, it would be easier and cleaner if researchers would simply issue checks through Oracle for every payment made to participants. Procurement Services recognizes that this is not always possible and asked the IRB-SBS to review cases to determine if alternative payment methods are justifiable.  As a researcher using funds administered by U.Va., you are required to document payments made. We hope that by assisting researchers and Procurement Services with this issue, we will be able to allow researchers the flexibility they need to protect participants while providing the documentation that Procurement Services needs.
The following studies are not subject to this requirement:

  • Participant payment or other compensation will come directly from sponsor of research trial (i.e. funds for participant payments will not go through U.Va.’s grants and contracts office).
  • Researcher is using their own personal funds (funds not administered by U.Va.) to compensate participants.
  • The participants do not reside in the United States and they do not have a social security number and/or tax identification number.
  • Compensation to participant is limited to reimbursement for travel, lodging, or other study related expenses.
  • Compensation will come from a U.Va. Foundation not subject to U.Va's financial policies and procedures.

As mentioned above, Procurement Services recognizes that there may be instances in which using Oracle may not be appropriate for various study situations and populations.  For example, to process a payment in Oracle, you must provide the participant’s social security number. The participant’s name is also linked in the Oracle system with the participant’s study name. For studies where the loss of confidentiality may be a risk to the participant, it may not be appropriate to issue a check to a participant through Oracle.  For other studies, the payment offered to a participant may be too small to require attention from the IRS and the collection of personal information would hinder data collection.  For example, anonymous surveys often pay participants with a food item or petty cash. If you are not able to collect participant identification for processing Oracle payments, please keep the amount paid to an individual participant less than $50 over a twelve month period. For additional information, Procurement Services provided this document for your review.  

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