Participant payments

It's common to pay participants in both sponsored and non-sponsored research projects under protocols approved by KU's Human Research Protection Program. Incentive payments for research must comply with federal and Kansas tax laws and KU/KU Center for Research policies and procedures, as applicable. Strict adherence to the HRPP-approved protocol is also required. 

KUCR encourages paying research subject incentives through the Greenphire “ClinCard” System whenever possible to increase confidentiality of participant information and to streamline the payment and reporting process for compliance with government, KU and KUCR requirements.

Please refer to the Participant Payment Policy for a complete overview and requirements

Payment methods

KUCR has engaged the services of the Greenphire ClinCard system to increase data security, reduce risk to the university, manage payments more efficiently. Greenphire ClinCard is the preferred method for participant payments.

Distribution of cash must be strictly monitored and controlled by at least two KU employees and requires signed receipts from each participant in addition to collection of participant’s social security number.

Retail prepaid gift cards may be used only as an exception and only after approval by KUCR.

Debit cards are provided by KUCR and may be used only as an exception and only after approved by KUCR. 

Direct payments to research participants via check or direct deposit through KU’s financial system may be made after a current IRS form W-9, ITIN, or W-8BEN (foreign individuals) is received by the participant and the participant is set up as a vendor/supplier. Participant payments made through direct payment are time-consuming and expensive to process. Therefore, the ClinCard system is preferred by KUCR.

Participants are required to provide their social security number. Records should be maintained by the researcher to indicate, at a minimum, the research participant’s name and address.

Tax forms, calculator and pen

IRS regulations

The IRS treats human subjects payments, whether cash, check, gift/debit card or other non-monetary items as taxable income to the recipient.  The means the recipient is expected to report all payments when the recipient files their personal tax return at the end of the year.  As the payer, KUCR must follow IRS regulations.  The tax treatment of human subject payments depends on the total annual amount paid, recipients tax status, and whether the study takes place outside of the U.S.  If KUCR issues payments totaling $600 or more to a U.S. tax resident during the calendar year, then KUCR is required by law to report the payments to the IRS and issue the recipient an IRS Form 1099.

Tax reporting

KUCR requires researchers to always request social security numbers (SSN) from all research participants who receive a payment.  For IRS compliance, KUCR requires names, addresses, and social security numbers (SSN) to be collected.