Procedure: Paying Research Participants at Pacific University
Research projects require the use of many research subjects, and what works best is the ability to pay such people in cash, and with as little administrative burden as possible. On the other hand, the university has a legitimate right to expect key information on these participants, and must follow certain guidelines to meet statutory requirements.
In order to meet both sets of expectations, we propose the following procedure to pay research participants.
1. The Principal Investigator should devise a plan for the amounts of money required to pay for the participant pool, and the dates by which the money needs to be available. Then the PI should ask their financial specialist for a ‘Cash Advance’ through the Business Office.
* Advances need to be satisfied with documentation within 8 weeks of receiving funds unless other arrangements have been made with Accounts Payable.
* If in late June an advance is still outstanding, the PI will need to satisfy the advance with receipts and/or return of funds to Accounts Payable. The PI can then request an advance in July to continue the project.
2. Participants can be paid after providing documentation to the PI.
* A participant will need to complete the designated paperwork provided by Accounts Payable before the participant is paid. The paper work will include an abbreviated W-9 that provides their full name, ID number (if student), social security number, address of participant, and the participant must sign the form. This paperwork will be used to substantiate the advance and will need to be submitted when satisfying the advance.
3. The PI will be responsible for keeping a list of information on an Excel spreadsheet, and ensuring that all required fields on the spreadsheet are filled in as needed. As an example, the following pieces of information will be some of the fields that will be required:
- ID Number (for students)
- SSNO (only last 4 digits.)
- Amount Received
- Date Amount Received
4. All payment information to participants will be collected for purposes of reporting to the IRS, if required. The University will issue a 1099MISC for a particular tax year if the participant’s total amount received is $600 or more from all non-employee payment sources received from the University.
5. The PI or other University official must set up a process to ensure that all participant information is kept confidential and secured. Any breach must be reported immediately to his/her supervisor and then directly to the Vice President for Finance and Administration. In addition, all cash held by the PI to pay participants must be kept in a secured place. It is the responsibility of the person who holds the cash to ensure that funds are secured.
6. There remains a problem with Canadian citizens taking part. Monica Marvin and Tami Grotte will investigate treaty issues further to try to clarify this difficulty.