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Should your business give gifts during the holidays?

Amid all the bustle of holiday gift-giving, you might not realize that there are possible legal implications if your business decides to give gifts this season. That doesn't mean you shouldn't show your clients, customers or business partners some sort of appreciation via token gifts, but it does mean you should consider gift selections carefully and understand all business and legal requirements.

Probably the biggest legal concern about gifts is that you can't give gifts in such a way that it looks like you are engaging in a kickback process. This is especially true in industries that are heavily regulated such as health care or finance. Usually, companies in such industries have limits about gifts, and employees aren't allowed to receive gifts valued at over a certain amount.

If you give your best client an expensive gift or pepper expensive gifts among potential high-value customers, it can look like you are trying to bribe them or "buy" business. If you give everyone on your loyal customer's list a small box of candy or a flashlight with your company logo on it, no one is going to think you're trying to bribe them. If you have questions about your gift ideas, talk to a business lawyer to make sure they're all kosher.

After legal concerns, consider social implications when gift giving. Avoid overtly religious gifts of one type or another unless that's your business type and you know your customer base. Choosing something fun or helpful for a general audience is often the best option.

Finally, don't break your budget on holiday gift giving. If things are tight financially but you want to show customers you're thinking of them, send cards instead.

Source: Small Biz Trends, "Business Gift Giving Etiquette and Mistakes to Avoid," Annie Pilon, accessed Dec. 16, 2016

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