Mileage Reimbursement

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toddnielson-p40
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Mileage Reimbursement

Postby toddnielson-p40 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:16 am

I am a stake clerk. One of the ward clerks asked me how to go about reimbursing for mileage. The member didn't provide a receipt or anything...just total mileage driven for an activity.

I've hunted and hunted but can't find anything official on this. The bottom line seems to be that if the bishop approves the reimbursement (written up on a reimbursement form but without receipts), that is all that is needed.

My response to the clerk was that the church isn't the IRS, and in my experience, members will submit receipts for gas used, but don't expect 55 cents per mile driven. But I can't find anything to back this up other than my experience.

Does anyone know if there is any further "official" guidance on this?

Todd

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PNMarkW2
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Postby PNMarkW2 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:34 am

I believe the IRS rate for charitable driving if 0.14 per mile, which is about what I pay for gas on a per mile basis. At least this is the rate shown on the IRS website.

Standard policy should apply, you should have a receipt for your expense, and either way the Bishopric should be signing off on it.

Truthfully, if we're going down this road I'd rather pay on a per mile basis then per receipt because I have no way of knowing that the whole amount of the receipt was used for the activity. I have only even known one family who submitted for gas expenses, and they turned on a receipt. Is this a common occurrence elsewhere?
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Postby aebrown » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:40 am

toddnielson wrote: Does anyone know if there is any further "official" guidance on this?


The only guidance I know of is on page 159 in the CHI Book 1 (2006), which says something like "Leaders are not to provide long distance travel at their own expense." That is a broad policy statement that doesn't answer your question specifically, but it does state that leaders are to be reimbursed.

Obviously a receipt is the standard documentation for reimbursed expenses. Although a tank of gas may not correspond exactly to the distance driven, at least it does provide good documentation.

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Postby russellhltn » Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:42 am

Alan_Brown wrote:Obviously a receipt is the standard documentation for reimbursed expenses.


In this case, I wonder if the best way is to create a receipt based on the distance and events involved.
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Postby aebrown » Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:30 am

RussellHltn wrote:In this case, I wonder if the best way is to create a receipt based on the distance and events involved.


That's possible, but the auditing instructions give a strong preference for actual receipts issued by the vendor (a gas station, in this case). What you suggest fits in the situation described in the audit instructions for what to do when a receipt is not available -- you create a document for the expense and have the member and appropriate leader sign the form.

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Postby russellhltn » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:56 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:That's possible, but the auditing instructions give a strong preference for actual receipts issued by the vendor (a gas station, in this case).


In normal conditions, that's understandable. But unless the member tops off his tank before and after and submits the latter receipt, you're left doing some accounting gymnastics as to how much should be paid.

I think mileage and trips at some standardized reimbursement rate is easier for a leader to confirm.
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Postby Mikerowaved » Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:05 pm

RussellHltn wrote:In normal conditions, that's understandable. But unless the member tops off his tank before and after and submits the latter receipt, you're left doing some accounting gymnastics as to how much should be paid.

Members are pretty much on the "honor system" with almost any receipt they turn in. Did they use all the Twinkies they bought for the pack meeting, or did they take some home afterward? Were all those expenses on the receipt for the ward, or were a few for personal use? I think the same goes for fuel expenses. Was the rig topped off before and after the trip? What about the fuel purchased for the water skiing boat? Without the honor system, the whole thing would become a nightmare to manage. Mileage charges are no different in my book.
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Postby raklet-p40 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:46 pm

Mikerowaved wrote:Members are pretty much on the "honor system" with almost any receipt they turn in.


Well said. We should be the most honest people on the face of the earth. It is a main profession of our faith. Take the receipt and be done with it. If they are cheating, the Lord will know and they will eventually receive their just due.

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Postby toddnielson-p40 » Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:20 am

Mikerowaved wrote:Members are pretty much on the "honor system" with almost any receipt they turn in. Did they use all the Twinkies they bought for the pack meeting, or did they take some home afterward? Were all those expenses on the receipt for the ward, or were a few for personal use? I think the same goes for fuel expenses. Was the rig topped off before and after the trip? What about the fuel purchased for the water skiing boat? Without the honor system, the whole thing would become a nightmare to manage. Mileage charges are no different in my book.


I totally agree. If I do a breakfast for Father and Sons and I have a considerable amount of food left over, I will do one of two things: 1) Ask the bishop if he knows of any in the ward who could use it, or 2) Submit my receipts, but only ask for reimbursement on the part I used for the breakfast and make a note of that. Yes, it's an estimate, but I can estimate fairly closely.

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Postby russellhltn » Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:08 pm

Mikerowaved wrote:Members are pretty much on the "honor system" with almost any receipt they turn in. Did they use all the Twinkies they bought for the pack meeting, or did they take some home afterward?


Yes, that's true. However, if I was the bishop having to put my signatures to the receipts, I'd feel better about mileage since I'd have a better feel if it was reasonable or not. With a gas receipt, I'd have to do a rough estimate of mileage and MPG to know if it's reasonable. Going back to your Twinkie example, I think someone would be asking questions if someone bought 6 boxes of the stuff for a single evening for a troop of 12.

Ultimately, I think the answer is going to be whatever the bishop is comfortable with. Trust but verify.
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