Curiousity: Mileage Reimbursement vs Gas Reimbursement

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coloradotechie-p40
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Curiousity: Mileage Reimbursement vs Gas Reimbursement

Postby coloradotechie-p40 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:12 am

Short Summary:

For church trip purposes (scout camp, girls camp, etc), are we supposed to reimburse members based and the miles driven or should we do it based on fuel receipts?

If there isn't a policy on it, no problem, we'll probably do what we've always done and reimburse based on receipts unless the bishop wants to change it.


Long Story:

So, at work I just submitted my first "trip reimbursement". The documentation at work references the IRS mileage reimbursement limits:

http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=216048,00.html

So for business purposes, I was reimbursed 50 cents per mile. They did NOT reimburse me for gas because I believe that the 50 cents per mile takes into account the cost of the trip: gas, wear and tear, etc.

Here's where my question comes in: for church purposes, are we encouraged to reimburse based on the IRS mileage rate and the miles driven by a member or is it receipt driven (e.g. based on how much fuel they purchased based on the receipt from the gas station)?

Real world example: over the summer various trips are taken by various groups: youth conference, girls camp, high adventure, boy scout camp. In the past we usually get a bunch of receipts for this sort of thing. Among those receipts are receipts for fuel.

We've always reimbursed the amounts on the receipts, I'm just wondering if we've been doing it wrong... does the church reimbursement follow the standard IRS mileage reimbursement rate of 14 cents per mile or do we just go off the receipts that people submit?

Furthermore, if a member doesn't submit any receipts, are they allowed to deduct the "cost" based on the IRS standard mileage rate from their taxes, assuming they itemize deductions?

Anyhow, this is more of a curiosity question unless of course everyone tells me that we've been doing it wrong :-)

Thanks~!

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:28 am

coloradotechie wrote:Here's where my question comes in: for church purposes, are we encouraged to reimburse based on the IRS mileage rate and the miles driven by a member or is it receipt driven (e.g. based on how much fuel they purchased based on the receipt from the gas station)?


I don't know of any policy on that detail. The Handbook does say that members are not to provide long-distance travel at their own expense, so reimbursing those costs is appropriate. However, local leaders would decide how to calculate those costs.

I would note, however, that your reference to "the IRS mileage rate" is ambiguous. For 2010, the rate is 50 cents per mile for business use, but only 14 cents per mile "driven in service of charitable organizations."

coloradotechie wrote:Furthermore, if a member doesn't submit any receipts, are they allowed to deduct the "cost" based on the IRS standard mileage rate from their taxes, assuming they itemize deductions?


That is a question for them to discuss with their tax adviser -- I know that there are options beyond the flat rate, but what they can legally claim is a matter beyond the scope of this forum.

As regards Church policy as to whether they should submit receipts for such expenses, I would recommend that leaders review page 159 of the Handbook.
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coloradotechie-p40
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Postby coloradotechie-p40 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:52 am

Alan_Brown wrote:I would note, however, that your reference to "the IRS mileage rate" is ambiguous. For 2010, the rate is 50 cents per mile for business use, but only 14 cents per mile "driven in service of charitable organizations."


Sorry about the ambiguity... I guess I put the link to the IRS rates to show two things: 1) I never realized that the IRS had rates so I thought a link would be helpful and 2) The IRS reimbursement rate for miles "driven in service of charitable organizations" is 14 cents per mile (as you've already pointed out). I wouldn't expect anyone to request being reimbursed at the 50 cents per mile rate for church related travel :)

For now it sounds like what we're doing is okay, and if people have questions I can direct them to the bishop (or ask on their behalf). Furthermore, guidance can be found on page 159 of the handbook.

THANK YOU for your input!

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Postby jdlessley » Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:13 am

The Church does have mileage rates for specific situations. At the local level (stake/district or ward/branch) the only reimbursement using a mileage rate I have heard of is when the Priesthood Leader Telephone & Travel Reimbursement form (form #31563) is used. It restricts this reimbursement to stake presidents and bishops who must attend meetings and for stake clerks who must audit records and train ward clerks. The last time I filed this form in March or April the rate was $0.50/mile. The local rate is available by contacting the FM Group.

Reimbursement for member expenses are reimbursed from local budget funds. The procedure is for the member to submit a receipt, invoice, or other document as evidence of the expense. For those situations where a receipt, invoice, or similar documents evidencing the expenditure is not available a suitable substitute with all the pertinent information to include the signature of the member incurring the expense should be provided.

In my opinion, if local leaders were willing to reimburse at a mileage rate they could. I have not heard of this happening in any of the Church areas I have lived.
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Postby russellhltn » Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:25 am

As for mileage vs. receipts, I'd think it would partly be a question of distance involved. If individual trips are too short to require a fill-up, it's going to be a bit difficult to ask for receipts.
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Postby Mikerowaved » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:21 pm

RussellHltn wrote:As for mileage vs. receipts, I'd think it would partly be a question of distance involved. If individual trips are too short to require a fill-up, it's going to be a bit difficult to ask for receipts.

It's not too difficult. Just request people top off their tank before and after a trip needing reimbursement.
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Postby russellhltn » Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:01 pm

That seems practical for something in the range of a quarter tank or more. Not something I'd do for say, a 10 mile trip.
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Postby lajackson » Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:26 pm

RussellHltn wrote:That seems practical for something in the range of a quarter tank or more. Not something I'd do for say, a 10 mile trip.


I think we might have 10 members who live within 10 miles of the meetinghouse.

We usually reimburse members who drive the youth to the temple. That puts 245 miles on the vehicle. If we go more than 100 miles or so to scout camp, we reimburse.

We reimbursed one faithful member of our ward who regularly drove youth to the stake center for youth activities (130 miles). It was that or put food on their shelves.

Most of our families put 75 miles on their vehicles each month doing their home and visiting teaching. Ward leaders can easily travel more than 500 miles in a month. Stake leaders often push 1,000.

When we reimburse, it is usually for gas. Sometimes it is "$20 toward the cost of the trip" plus blessings.

Most do not ask to be reimbursed. Those who do are assisted.

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Re:

Postby drepouille » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:12 pm

jdlessley wrote:It restricts this reimbursement to stake presidents and bishops who must attend meetings and for stake clerks who must audit records and train ward clerks.


From what I have read, stake clerks are not allowed to be auditors. Is that right?

In any case, I could use this when I travel to train ward clerks in outlying units.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

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Re: Re:

Postby jdlessley » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:48 pm

drepouille wrote:From what I have read, stake clerks are not allowed to be auditors. Is that right?
The wording I used in the post you quoted was directly from the form (see list item 4 in the section titled "Travel Reimbursement Policy"). In that context the clerk is not performing an audit required for record at Church administration such as the semi-annual financial audit. For the purposes of the travel reimbursement, an audit is any review of records. So you can replace the word "audit" with "review of records".

drepouille wrote:In any case, I could use this when I travel to train ward clerks in outlying units.
Yes. But also note the limitations and requirements on the form.
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