How to Properly Recognize Gift Card Revenue

Accounting For Gift Cards

The accounting is straightforward; the company recognizes sales revenue and eliminates the liability. Using the same example, let’s assume customers redeemed $1,000 worth of gift cards in February. Financially speaking, a gift card is essentially an interest-free loan from the consumer to your company. From a revenue recognition perspective, the funds received from customers amount to deferred revenue . There is no doubt gift cards and certificates – in their paper, plastic and digital forms – are here to stay. And, based on recent trends, they will continue to gain even greater traction.

If an income treaty exception does not apply, 30% federal tax withholding will apply and the department will be responsible for the tax and tax gross up since tax cannot be withheld from the gift card/certificate. The gift card amount would be grossed up to $142.86; the department would be charged the additional $42.86 of tax so that after the 30% tax remittance, the student nets the $100 gift card amount. Please contactnra- if you are processing a gift card to a nonresident alien present on an F-1, J-1, H-1B or Visitor visa. Payment to participants of LUC research or survey projects may be compensated with a gift card; however such compensation may be taxable income to the recipient.

How can Baker Tilly help your restaurant?

If the promotion is paper, then the deal can be treated like a coupon. However, if a gift card is activated through the POS system, additional tracking and monitoring steps ensue. If your company issues lots of gift cards and it’s rapidly becoming unmanageable.

Then we’ll dive into how gift cards work, and things you should consider when building your strategy. If this all sounds like too many steps to handle manually, you’ll be happy to know that you can actually automate this entire process, and for free! If you’re using Shopify and either Xero or QuickBooks Online, you can use Amaka’s Shopify + Xero, Shopify + MYOB or Shopify + QuickBooks Online accounting integration to automatically sync this data on a daily basis. By reviewing the link above this will ensure that the proper accounts have been setup so that the accounting information reviewed in this document will make sense. Don’t get lost in the fog of legislative changes, developing tax issues, and newly evolving tax planning strategies. Tax Section membership will help you stay up to date and make your practice more efficient.

Definition of Gift Certificates

For those gift cards where redemption appears to be unlikely, income is recognized as breakage income. Companies typically use historical analysis and trends to estimate the breakage amount and recognize income. Over time, customers will Accounting For Gift Cards present their gift cards for selected merchandise. Assume that a person uses the first $50 card to buy goods which had originally cost the company only $32. Upon redemption, the liability is satisfied and the revenue can be recognized.

Accounting For Gift Cards

If you have other deductions and contributions, skip these by clicking “Show Advanced Options.” You may need to confirm whether retirement plan deductions still need to be taken on goodwill compensation. Dustin co-leads BDO’s Restaurant Practice, and serves as an advisor to restaurant companies across the U.S. His clients include many of the nation’s fastest growing and most well-respected brands.


When a retailer sells a gift card to a customer, the payment for a future purchase is received upfront, but transfer of merchandise is delayed at the consumer’s discretion. So, instead of recognizing actual revenue on the sale of gift cards, retailers record a deferred revenue liability on the balance sheet for the cash exchange until the gift card is redeemed. Accounts payable are created by the purchase of inventory or supplies.

  • Using this pattern, the company estimates the value of the new cards that are unlikely to be redeemed as these cards are sold.
  • Across the country, it’s estimated that about $1 billion of the value of gift cards sold every year is never used.
  • Moreover, a gift card may induce additional sales when the card is redeemed.
  • If you want a thorough introduction into how you can spend less than an hour on your Shopify accounting every month, you can download the Complete Guide to Shopify Accounting entirely for free, no email required.
  • Gift cards and gift certificates are not only popular gifts but can be a great source of income for your restaurant.
  • ProductsIntegrations Sync your data into your accounting system in a matter of minutes.

The new accounting standard provides greater transparency but requires wide-ranging data gathering. We provide third-party links as a convenience and for informational purposes only. Intuit does not endorse or approve these products and services, or the opinions of these corporations or organizations or individuals.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *