How to tax noncash gifts, prizes & awards for employees

The fair-market value of noncash gifts must be included in employee wages subject to federal employment taxes. [1] 

The following gifts are nontaxable fringes if their value is nominal and are not frequently given:
Fruit baskets
Entertainment tickets (show or sporting event) 

Gift certificates (“cash in kind”) are to be included in employee wages and are subject to employment taxes even if the gift certificate is for a fringe item such as a ham.  A ham is nontaxable, but a gift certificate for a ham is taxable. [2] 

The cost of employee parties and picnics is completely deductible to the business and is nontaxable to the employees as a fringe.  These parties and picnics must be infrequent and given to promote the health, goodwill, contentment, or efficiency of the employees. [3]

[1] Rev. Rul. 57-18, CB 1957-1, 35
[2] 26 CFR 1.132-6(e); TAM 200437030
[3] Rev. Rul. 2004-109 and Rev. Rul. 2004-110