home > corporate and government ethics: accepting and giving gifts

Corporate and Government Ethics: Accepting and Giving Gifts

The act of giving gifts assists in establishing or enhancing all types of relationships. This is true for the corporate world and government agencies. It’s also a cost-effective way of recognizing talents and achievements. One of the challenging areas of logical reasoning involves gauging where to draw the line in the area of giving gifts. Is it right or wrong? In situations where certain actions are right and others are absolutely wrong, there are shady areas where it is difficult to reach an outright decision. Accepting and giving gifts is such an area which constantly puts corporate professionals and government officials in a dilemma about whether the gift being given will be perceived as a bribe or simply a gift. How do people recognize the difference between the two and lead a more professional life?

Accepting Gifts

Certain professional aspects and company policies should be kept in mind before accepting gifts from a colleague or boss. The first aspect to keep in mind is that expensive gifts such as cars should definitely be avoided, especially when a manager or supervisor offers it. Another consideration is that the acceptance of gifts can be misconstrued when offered by a member of the opposite sex, which can lead to unnecessary trouble. It is always a good idea to stick to the policies laid down by the company. Gifts can be refused politely by keeping a supervisor informed about it. Appropriateness, timing, and value in terms of money all play a part in whether gifts should be accepted or not.

  • Accepting Gifts: Frequently asked questions on accepting gifts consolidated by the Ethics Commission of San Diego Government.

Giving Gifts

Gifts should never be given during the process of bidding, in the waiting period for renewal of a contract, or at a time when negotiations are going on. Such timing results in the perception of a bribe. Gift should not be given to just one person, but rather to the whole team or division. Otherwise, other members of the team often feel that there is something more going on. Gifts can be given to employees, co-workers, clients, and prospective clients. The company should be confident about the reasons for offering gifts, such as thanking long-term customers, recognizing a dedicated employee, and so on. The basic intent should be to affirm relationships in the most professional manner.

Terms for Giving and Accepting Gifts

The Internal Revenue Service empowers businesses to deduct business gifts costing a maximum amount of $75. This enables the companies to put a decent limit on the money spent on gifts. As part of the tax rules, gifts costing more than $25 are considered as taxable income when offered to employees. In general, food items, food coupons, liquor and wine, and office related items such as pen sets are all safe bets, reflecting good taste and practicality. Even tickets to sporting and entertainment events make great gifts.

Accepting bribes is a punishable offence. In a corporate or government organization, it can be difficult to decipher between a gift and a bribe. Following guidelines is a good idea to avoid any misunderstandings. The culture of giving gifts should also be part of professional training.