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  • Complete Guide to Reimbursing Employees for Travel Expenses

Published September 2, 2020 · Updated April 21, 2021

When an employee travels away from the office and incurs expenses, the company should reimburse them. Whether travelling across the world or just driving their car to a client’s location, getting the reimbursement right isn’t hard.

Keep reading to learn how to make proper employee reimbursements.

Accountable Plans

You’ll first need to decide if you will implement an accountable or nonaccountable plan. This is just as it sounds; either you’ll have employees be accountable for business expense reimbursements or not.

All businesses should have an expense reimbursement plan in writing. This includes corporations, sole proprietors, the self-employed, and non-profits. Non-profits should be extremely careful when reimbursing disqualified persons because nonaccountable plan reimbursements not properly approved or recorded can cause significant tax exposure to the charitable organization.

An accountable plan must follow the IRS guidelines for expense reimbursement. To qualify, the following rules must be met:

  • Expenses must be for business purposes.
  • Expenses must be adequately reported to the company in reasonable time.
  • Any excess reimbursement or allowance must be returned in a reasonable amount of time.

Any expense that doesn’t meet these three criteria is considered a reimbursement under a nonaccountable plan.

This distinction between these two types of plans is important because accountable plan reimbursements are not taxable to the employee, whereas nonaccountable plans are taxable.

Business Purpose

Expenses incurred as an employee while completing work for an employer have a business purpose. Examples include things like registration fees for a conference, taxi rides to the airport for a business trip, or meals while away on a business trip.

If however, an employer reimburses an employee for dinner when the employee works late, this does not qualify as a business purpose. This reimbursement would be taxable to the employee because it was made under a nonaccountable plan.

Reporting in a Reasonable Time

While what is considered a reasonable amount of time is subjective, the general rule is that all reimbursable expenses must be submitted within 60 days of when they were incurred.

Adequate reporting involves providing a record, like an expense report, of all expenses incurred and providing evidence, like receipts, to support the expenses.

Excess Reimbursement

If an employee receives a travel advance to cover travel expenses but spends less than the advance, the difference is an excess reimbursement and must be returned to the employer to not be taxable. If the excess isn’t returned in a reasonable amount of time, it’s taxable.

A reasonable period of time in this instance is generally deemed to be within 120 days of when the expense was incurred.

With a travel advance, employees should submit an expense report and receipts to substantiate all expenses.

Mileage and Business Use of Personal Vehicle

When an employee uses their personal vehicle for company business, you’ll need to reimburse them. You have three options.

  • Standard mileage rate
  • Actual costs
  • Monthly allowance

Standard Mileage Rate

If you use the standard mileage rate, it is 57.5 cents per mile for 2020.

You can pay more, but the IRS’ safe-harbor threshold of 57.5 cents per mile will allow you a tax deduction without having to substantiate the rate.

Note that the IRS typically updates rates in December. So, you can expect to see the 2021 rate announced in December 2020. IRS 2021 Mileage Rates are here.

IRS Standard Mileage Rates 2020

Actual Costs

Instead of using the standard rate, you can reimburse employees for actual expenses.

The employee will sum up all the costs of owning the vehicle including everything from fuel, maintenance, tolls, registration, and insurance. And based upon the percentage of business miles driven, that portion of the total actual costs is reimbursed.

Monthly Allowance

Using the monthly allowance method is relatively easy. Each month you provide a set dollar amount to the employee.

If you require the employee to provide a mileage log at the end of the month, this will determine if any part of the allowance is taxable. If no mileage log is required, the entire allowance is taxable under an unaccountable plan.

If a mileage log is provided and the employee drove less than expected, they should return the excess allowance within 30 days. If they don’t, the excess becomes taxable to them.

An employee’s commute from their home to their normal place of business is not a reimbursable expense. Any business miles driven in excess of the commute miles is reimbursable.

For example, an employee’s normal round-trip commute is 20 miles. On Fridays, the employee works on-site at a client’s office that is 30 miles away from the employee’s home. So, the employee drives 60 miles round-trip on Fridays. Since this is longer than he would drive if he commuted to the office, you’ll want to reimburse the employee for 40 miles (60 miles – 20 miles).

Mileage Logs

Employees should keep mileage logs when using a personal vehicle for business use. The log should include:

  • Employee’s name
  • Description of vehicle
  • Date of business use
  • Purpose of business use
  • Starting mileage on odometer
  • Ending mileage on odometer
  • Approval authorization

Here’s an example of a mileage log using Microsoft Excel.

Mileage log and expense report - employee reimbursement

Mileage log and expense report – employee reimbursement

Note that in this example, the employee drove from the office to a client and then back to the office. Therefore, there is no need to deduct commuting mileage.

But suppose, like in our example from above, that on Fridays the employee drives from home to the client’s location and back home. His mileage log would look like this:

Mileage log and expense report example - employee reimbursement

Mileage log and expense report example – employee reimbursement

But what if in this example, the drive to the client’s office from the employee’s home was shorter than his regular commute? In this case there is nothing to reimburse and the employee enjoys the benefit of less driving.

What would happen if this same employee didn’t normally work on Fridays or he always worked from home on Fridays? Then the entire drive to the client’s office would be reimbursable since the employee’s normal work schedule didn’t require him to commute on Fridays.

Many employees will forget to deduct their normal commute from mileage reimbursement requests. You’ll want to remind them.

Direct Expense Reimbursement of Travel Expenses

For employees who travel frequently, providing them with a company credit card is ideal. But for those times when an employee must use their own money for business expenses, you’ll want to reimburse employees quickly.

For easy recordkeeping, have employees complete expense reports when seeking reimbursements. Like the mileage log, it will detail who incurred the expense and when, what it was for, and the amount.

You can reimburse your employees with cash; however best practices would be to pay with check or some other trackable means, like ACH.

Here’s an example of an easy expense report in Excel.

Travel expense report - employee reimbursement

Travel expense report example – employee reimbursement

For each expense, the employee should include receipts to support the amounts requested.

Receipts for purchases should contain the amount, date, place, and a brief description of the expense.

For example, hotel receipts should include:

  • The name and location of the hotel.
  • The dates stayed.
  • Separate amounts for charges (i.e. lodging, meals, or food).

Restaurant and meal receipts should include:

  • The name and location of the restaurant.
  • The names of people in attendance.
  • The date and amount of the meal.

You may choose to reimburse employees for meal tips. Be sure to have a clear policy of what will be reimbursed and what will not. For example, you’ll reimburse up to 20% for tips. Anything above that will not be reimbursed.

You’ll also need to consider your policy for lost receipts. You can still reimburse but have the employee fill out a missing receipt form to document the expense.

In lieu of direct expense reimbursement, consider using a per diem.

A per diem provides the employee with a specified dollar amount per day to use on meals, snacks, lodging, or other miscellaneous purchases. Larger expenses like airfare would be paid using the direct expense reimbursement method or paid for directly by the company.

Per diems should be prorated for partial days of travel. Acceptable methods include the ¾’s method or any other method you choose that is reasonable.  The ¾’s method adds ¾ of a daily per diem rate on departure days and another ¾’s on return days.

The IRS sets per diem rates for cities and metropolitan areas. More expensive locales have higher daily rates than cheaper cities. For example, the daily rate for high cost cities like San Francisco, Vail, Colorado, and Nashville, Tennessee is $297. And many cities are designated high cost for only portions of the year. Miami and Park City, Utah are considered high cost only from December 1 – March 31.

And if you’re not in a high cost city, the daily rate is $200. These per diem rates are often updated each year. So you’ll always want to check for the current rates.

For example, Dave is travelling to Seattle for business. Seattle is a high cost locale. He’s leaving on Monday and returning on Thursday. Seattle’s maximum per diem rate is $297 per day. Dave will receive $222.75 ($297 x ¾) for Monday and Thursday and the full $297 for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Per diems are not taxable income to your employee if you use the IRS rates and your employee provides an expense report with receipts. However, using higher rates will create taxable income for the amount above the federal rate. And not submitting an expense report and receipts will make the entire per diem taxable because you’ll have an unaccountable plan and your company will not have the required receipts to support the tax deduction.

If your business operates in the transportation sector (i.e. shipping, trucking, or rail, etc…), it’s important to note that there are different per diem limits and rules you must follow.

Entertainment Expenses

With the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, entertainment expenses are no longer tax deductible for companies.

As an employer, you may still reimburse your employees for entertainment expenses; however, these reimbursements will need to be segregated so that they are not included on your tax return. Examples of entertainment expenses include tickets to entertain clients at sporting events or country club fees for golf memberships.

What documentation you require for entertainment reimbursements is up to you but best practices suggest following the same requirements for travel or mileage reimbursements.


If travel or meals involve both a business and personal aspect, only the portion of the expense that is business related is reimbursable.  Expense reports and receipts should indicate whether there are any personal expenses.

For example, an employee makes a business trip to California from Georgia and elects to stay two days after business is finished for a mini-vacation. Best practices would have the employee check out of his hotel room and check back in using his personal credit card to pay the hotel bill for his extended stay. This way he has two different receipts; one for business and one for pleasure. However, if he doesn’t do that and the entire hotel stay is charged on the same receipt, you’ll need to back out the charges related to his personal stay.

None of this information should be taken as legal or financial advice, nor should it deter you from seeking the assistance of a licensed attorney, accountant, or financial services professional. But if you want to make sure your company’s policies for employee reimbursements are consistent with best practices, implementing these policies is a great place to start!

Tags: Business Use of Personal Vehicle Commingling Direct Expense Reimbursement employee Commuting reimbursement Employee Expense Reimbursement employee Monthly Allowance employees reimbursements entertainment expenses Excess Reimbursement Expense Reimbursement IRS Accountable Plans IRS Expense Reimbursement Mileage log and expense report Mileage Logs mileage on odometer Per Diem reimbursed expenses Reimbursing Employees Standard Mileage Rate travel expenses

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Mastering Expense Reimbursement: The Complete Process and Best Practices

Expense reimbursement is a significant cost for businesses, requiring efficient methods and technology to manage effectively. Without proper systems, time and money can be lost in the process. 

The complexity of expense reimbursement not only consumes your and your employees’ valuable time but also leaves businesses vulnerable to fraud. To mitigate these challenges, businesses need streamlined processes and reliable technologies. 

In this blog, we will explore the intricacies of expense reimbursement, highlighting the importance of efficient management and the role of technology in simplifying the process and reducing the risk of fraud.

What is Expense Reimbursement?

Expense reimbursement is a crucial process for businesses of all sizes and industries. It involves compensating employees for out-of-pocket expenses they incur while performing their job duties. Unlike regular salaries, these reimbursements are not subject to tax deductions.

Employees often need to pay for work-related expenses upfront, such as travel or client entertainment. A formal expense reimbursement plan ensures that employees are reimbursed fairly and promptly. It also helps management control spending and maximize tax benefits.

Without a well-structured reimbursement plan, requests and reports may be overlooked, leading to delays in reimbursing employees. A disorganized process can also create frustration and tension between employees and management. Therefore, it’s essential to establish a clear and efficient procedure for employee reimbursement .

Example of Expense Reimbursement

Imagine you’re a sales representative for a company, and your job involves traveling to meet clients. During one of your trips, you need to book a hotel for two nights and have meals while away. You pay for these expenses using your credit card, totaling $500.

After returning from your trip, you compile an expense report detailing your expenditures, including receipts for the hotel stay and meals. You submit this report to your manager along with the receipts as proof of your expenses.

Your manager reviews the report and approves the travel expense reimbursement . The finance department then processes the reimbursement, and you receive $500 to cover the costs you incurred during your business trip.

Types of Expenses Reimbursement

There are several types of expense reimbursements that businesses commonly use:

  • Travel Expenses: This includes costs employees incur while traveling for work, such as airfare, hotel accommodations, rental cars, and meals.
  • Mileage Reimbursement: When employees use their vehicles for work-related travel, they can be reimbursed based on the number of miles driven at a standard rate.
  • Meal Expenses: Employees can be reimbursed for meals purchased while traveling for work or during business meetings.
  • Transportation Expenses: This includes costs for public transportation, taxis, or ride-sharing services used for business purposes.
  • Supplies and Materials: Reimbursement for office supplies or materials purchased by employees for work-related activities.
  • Client Entertainment: Expenses related to entertaining clients, such as meals or event tickets, can be reimbursed.
  • Training and Education: Reimbursement for costs associated with attending work-related training or educational events.

Businesses need to have clear policies and guidelines regarding what expenses are eligible for reimbursement and the documentation required to process reimbursement requests.

What Qualifies as a Reimbursable Expense?

When determining the validity of employee’s expense reimbursements, adherence to the organization’s travel and expense policies is paramount. Any expense incurred personally by employees must align with these policies.

If the expense fits into any of the following categories, it qualifies for reimbursement:

  • Is the expense necessary for the completion of the job? 
  • Would any employee in the same position incur the same expense?
  • Are the expenses related to travel that are essential and unavoidable for job completion?
  • Did the employee use their funds to cover on-the-job expenses?
  • Has the employee submitted a reimbursement claim for an expense?
  • Has the employee submitted proof of payment for the expense incurred?
  • Did the employee inform the higher management or accounting department within a reasonable time?

How Should Employees Report Expenses?

Employees should report expenses by filling out an expense report form, detailing costs incurred while conducting business activities. This form is essential for reimbursement and financial reporting purposes.

An expense report typically includes:

Expense Details: Date, description, amount, and currency of each expense.

Expense Categories: Grouping expenses by type (e.g., lodging, meals, travel) to help organize and analyze spending.

Supporting Documents: Receipts, invoices , or other proof of payment for reimbursement and auditing purposes.

Total Charges: Summing up all expenses for a specific period, with subtotals for different expense categories if needed.

Additional Details: Purpose of the expense, project/client associated with it, and any special notes.

Once completed, the expense report is submitted to the appropriate department or authority within the organization for review, approval, and processing. The organization’s policies and procedures will determine how expenses are evaluated, reimbursed, and recorded in financial records.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Expense Reimbursement Process

1. define a clear expense policy.

Begin by developing a comprehensive expense policy that clearly outlines which expenses are eligible for reimbursement and the procedures for submitting reimbursement claims. This policy serves as a guide for employees and helps prevent overspending or reimbursement requests for non-allowable expenses.

2. Categorize Expenses

Establish a method for organizing and categorizing expenses to streamline the reimbursement process. This could involve creating expense categories based on the nature of the expense (e.g., travel, meals, supplies) and ensuring that expenses are properly classified for accurate reporting and accounting purposes.

3. Educate Employees on Reimbursement Procedures

Ensure employees understand the rules and procedures for submitting reimbursement claims, including the importance of accurate documentation and adherence to the policy guidelines. Encourage open communication and address employees’ questions or concerns to ensure compliance with the policy.

4. Specify the Documentation Requirements

Clearly define the documentation requirements for each expense category to ensure compliance with the policy. This may include receipts, invoices, or other proof of purchase. Explain to employees the importance of maintaining and submitting accurate documentation to support their reimbursement claims.

5. Record and Manage Expenses

Implement a system for employees to capture and document their expenses. This could be a digital system where employees can upload photos of receipts or a manual process where employees keep physical copies of receipts. Ensure that the process is easy to use to encourage compliance.

6. Submit Expense Reports

Offer a platform to employees where they can submit their expense details seamlessly. The platform can be an automated travel and expense management software or a manual form or spreadsheet. Encourage employees to submit their reports on time to avoid delays in processing. Provide guidance on completing the expense report form and what information is required for each expense.

7. Review and Approve Expense Claims

Designate a review process for expense reports to ensure compliance with the policy. This may involve a review by the finance team or department managers to verify the accuracy and validity of the expenses. Any discrepancies or non-compliant expenses should be addressed and resolved before expense approval .

8. Reimbursement Expenses

Once expense reports have been reviewed and approved, ensure that reimbursements are processed promptly. Timely reimbursement helps maintain employee satisfaction and ensures that employees are not financially burdened by out-of-pocket expenses incurred while performing their job duties.

Major Roadblocks in the Manual Expense Reimbursement Process

1. Employee cash flow constraints . Traditional reimbursement processes strain employees’ finances and satisfaction; delays worsen this, especially with check-based payments.

2. Ambiguity in expense policies. Complex policies lead to confusion, non-compliance, and overspending; clear policies are crucial for adherence and a smooth reimbursement process.

3. Limited spend visibility. Lack of real-time expense data hampers effective monitoring and managing of employee spending, impacting financial processes.

4. Cumbersome paperwork. Manual receipt management is time-consuming and error-prone; automation can streamline this process, reducing manual efforts.

5. Prone to errors. Manual entry increases the likelihood of inaccuracies in financial records, emphasizing the need for digital solutions for accuracy.

6. Communication Challenges. Miscommunication delays reimbursements; clear instructions on documentation and approval procedures are essential.

7. Receipt management issues. Manual receipt handling is challenging; automation simplifies receipt verification and matching with expense reports.

8. Approval delays. Manual approval processes are inefficient and lead to delays; automation can streamline workflows for faster approvals.

9. Manual audit and compliance challenges. Manual checks are time-consuming; automated solutions are needed for efficient compliance checks and error detection.

How to Streamline Expense Reimbursement Process?

Streamlining the expense reimbursement process can significantly improve efficiency and reduce administrative burdens. Automation plays a crucial role in achieving this goal. By automating expense reimbursement, organizations can eliminate manual tasks, reduce errors, and speed up the reimbursement cycle.

Automation allows employees to submit expenses easily through digital platforms, such as expense management software or mobile apps. These tools can automatically validate expenses against company policies, ensuring compliance and reducing the need for manual review. 

Furthermore, automation enables faster approval processes, as managers can review and approve expenses digitally, from anywhere. This eliminates the need for physical receipts and paper-based approval workflows, making the process more efficient and convenient for everyone involved.

How Automated Expense Reimbursement Benefit Everyone?

Automated expense reimbursement offers advantages that boost morale, tax deductions, and productivity. Let’s delve into these benefits for both employers and employees.

Benefits for Employers

  • Error Reduction: Automation eliminates errors in expense reporting and reimbursement processes, reducing mistakes made by employees, managers, and finance departments.
  • Paperless Processes: Automation reduces paperwork, allowing supervisors and finance teams to manage reports efficiently and quickly.
  • Policy Compliance: Automation ensures greater compliance with company expense policies, flagging and preventing reimbursement for reports that violate these policies.
  • Increased Visibility: Automation provides better visibility into spending, helping identify overspending or underspending categories and allowing for better control and forecasting of expenses.

Benefits for Employees

  • Reduced Personal Burden: A good reimbursement process assures employees that their money spent on business expenses will be reimbursed, reducing financial stress.
  • Stress-Free Travel: Structured reimbursement systems guarantee that employees’ business trips are stress-free by eliminating the possibility of payment delays.
  • Simplified Expense Claims: A clear and straightforward reimbursement process helps employees adhere to procedures and expense policies, making expense claims easier and more manageable.

How Peakflo Streamlines Expense Reimbursement?

Peakflo’s Travel and Expense Management solution streamlines expense reimbursement. It provides a suite of features that simplify the entire process from policy creation to auto-disbursement . It allows companies to configure specific policies for allowable expenses, manage expense categories, and define rules for approvals based on various criteria. 

With Peakflo, employees can easily submit travel requests and expenses, while managers can quickly review and approve them. Automation ensures compliance with company policies, reduces errors, and speeds up reimbursement cycles. 

The system also offers 2-way matching with OCR technology , flagging any mismatches or duplicate expenses. Additionally, Peakflo centralizes communication and approvals, providing a clear audit trail for transparency and accountability.

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FY 2024 Per Diem Rates Now Available

Please note! The FY 2024 rates are NOT the default rates until October 1, 2023.

You must follow these instructions to view the FY 2024 rates. Select FY 2024 from the drop-down box above the “Search By City, State, or ZIP Code” or “Search by State" map. Otherwise, the search box only returns current FY 2023 rates.

Rates are set by fiscal year, effective Oct. 1 each year. Find current rates in the continental United States, or CONUS rates, by searching below with city and state or ZIP code, or by clicking on the map, or use the new per diem tool to calculate trip allowances .

Search by city, state, or ZIP code

Required fields are marked with an asterisk ( * ).

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Need a state tax exemption form.

Per OMB Circular A-123, federal travelers "...must provide a tax exemption certificate to lodging vendors, when applicable, to exclude state and local taxes from their hotel bills." GSA's SmartPay team maintains the most current state tax information , including any applicable forms.


1 choose a location.

Error, The Per Diem API is not responding. Please try again later.

No results could be found for the location you've entered.

Rates for Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories and Possessions are set by the Department of Defense .

Rates for foreign countries are set by the State Department .

2 Choose a date

Rates are available between 10/1/2021 and 09/30/2024.

The End Date of your trip can not occur before the Start Date.

Traveler reimbursement is based on the location of the work activities and not the accommodations, unless lodging is not available at the work activity, then the agency may authorize the rate where lodging is obtained.

Unless otherwise specified, the per diem locality is defined as "all locations within, or entirely surrounded by, the corporate limits of the key city, including independent entities located within those boundaries."

Per diem localities with county definitions shall include "all locations within, or entirely surrounded by, the corporate limits of the key city as well as the boundaries of the listed counties, including independent entities located within the boundaries of the key city and the listed counties (unless otherwise listed separately)."

When a military installation or Government - related facility(whether or not specifically named) is located partially within more than one city or county boundary, the applicable per diem rate for the entire installation or facility is the higher of the rates which apply to the cities and / or counties, even though part(s) of such activities may be located outside the defined per diem locality.

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"Shoeboxed makes it stupid simple to scan receipts...”

What to know about travel expense reimbursement + templates.

The best way to establish an accurate reimbursement strategy for your employee and your company is to ensure that you have an expense reimbursement policy in place and that it is covered with all applicable employees during the onboarding process.


Caryl Ramsey

Published on

June 2nd, 2023

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Shoeboxed is an expense & receipt tracking app that helps you get reimbursed quickly, maximize tax deductions, and reduce the hassle of doing accounting.

Employers and employees should understand the business’s guidelines for  T&E  or travel expense reimbursement policies so that neither runs into any issues over business-related expenses down the road.

The IRS is pretty flexible with employers when it comes to employee reimbursement for business travel expenses while away on a company trip.

Table of Contents

Does travel expense reimbursement qualify as a deductible travel expense?

What the IRS is not flexible about is whether or not the travel-related expenses incurred on the business trip qualify as a deductible travel expense.

Employers can deduct “ordinary and necessary expenses” of employees traveling away from their tax home.

According to the IRS, any reimbursement that does not qualify as a deductible travel expense is considered employee wages.

What are “accountable” and “non-accountable” plans?

There are two methods for reimbursing workers for expenses incurred when traveling for business. These are the “accountable plan” and the “non-accountable” plan.

An “accountable plan” is based on the Internal Revenue Service’s guidelines for reimbursing employees for the actual travel costs so that the reimbursable expenses incurred are not counted as income.

This means that the reimbursements are not subject to W-2 reporting or withholding taxes.

The expenses, however, must be business-related. To qualify for the “accountable plan,” expenses must be business-related, reported accurately, and excess reimbursements issued.

If the company’s reimbursement process doesn’t meet the guidelines under federal law for the “accountable plan,” then the expenses fall under the “non-accountable plan.”

If a reimbursed cost is non-accountable, then it is subject to being taxed as part of the employee’s compensation, therefore, it must be reported on the W-2 form and is subject to withholding.

What is travel expense reimbursement?

Travel expense reimbursement is when you pay employees back for business expenses incurred while traveling.

The expenses that are reimbursed are dependent upon the reimbursement policies determined by your business.

A travel reimbursement policy should be set up by your business that specifies the rules and procedures regarding reimbursement for travel-related expenses.

Many companies are using traditional expense management systems where staff can use a credit card and submit refunded trip expenses after the trip ends.

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What common types of travel expenses qualify for deductible expense reimbursement?

As an optional reimbursement provider, you have a choice on whether or not to  reimburse employees for travel expenses .

Regardless, a clear reimbursement policy should be established within the company.

Some of the most typical reimbursable expenses include the following:

Transportation costs between your home and the business destination

Transportation between airport/station and hotel

Transportation between the hotel and the work location

Sending company-related supplies from your regular work location to your travel work destination

Business use of a rental car or the actual expenses of operating your personal vehicle when traveling away from home on business such as mileage reimbursement

The cost of parking your rental car can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, duration, and demand. Urban areas and popular tourist destinations often have higher parking fees, while off-peak times or less crowded areas may offer more affordable options

Lodging and meal expenses

Dry cleaning and laundry

Business communication expenses

Business related tips

Parking fees and tolls

How do expense reports play a role in a business’s expense reimbursement policy?

To prevent fraud and to keep company records updated and accurate, companies should  use expense reports  as part of their expense reimbursement policy.

The expense report should be used by employees to report incidental expenses such as travel expenses , business meals, and small purchases of supplies or equipment for the office.

Employees fill out these expense reports, which require the information of a typical transaction.

Some of the information found on an expense report include the vendor’s name, date paid, expense description, amount paid, and totals for each expense category .

Then the expense report is submitted to the company and according to the reimbursement policy, the employee is reimbursed.

See also: Expense Report Template Google Sheets: 4 Free Templates

Receipt requirements

It’s important to always have proof or documentation of the expenses that you incurred. The best proof is to provide the original receipt from the store, merchant, or a  receipt book .

Therefore, when turning in an expense report, always attach any  supporting documentation such as your receipts  to the expense report.

This safeguards the company against  expense fraud  and ensures that the company will have the documentation needed for tax deductions and any  audits  if requested.

Processing expense reports for travel reimbursements

Once expense reports are submitted to the company, the company is responsible for the accuracy of the expense reports.

The company has an obligation to check the expense report against its business travel and reimbursement policies.

This is meant as an assurance system for ensuring accurate compliance with corporate policies.

Deadlines for expense reimbursement

Businesses should establish monthly or quarterly deadlines for expense reports. This ensures that the business can claim the expense as a tax deduction.

It also ensures that records are kept more accurate and up-to-date, that an expense doesn’t fall through the cracks, and that the company maintains a more efficient cash flow.

Not only should there be a deadline for the employee to submit an expense report, but there also should be a deadline for when the employee will be reimbursed by the company.

See also: Travel Nurse Expenses: Put Money Back in Your Pocket

4 Free travel expense reimbursement form templates

Whether you’re a new business looking for an easy way to keep up with eligible travel reimbursements or an employee that often travels for work, these free travel expense reimbursement form templates are a great way to record travel expenses and separate them from non travel reimbursements.

1. Hloom free travel expense reimbursement spreadsheet

Hloom free travel expense reimbursement spreadsheet for Excel.

Hloom free travel expense reimbursement spreadsheet for Excel.

Hloom offers a  free travel expense reimbursement spreadsheet  that you can use to report any travel expenses made while away on a business trip.

Employees’ travel expenses should be recorded in a concise, organized template so it’s easy to categorize eligible reimbursement claims, see if expenditures were within spending limits, and receive reimbursement all by looking at a single form.

Use this template to record:

The date, time, and location you traveled to

The meals you ate

The cost of lodging

Cost of transportation

Private vehicle license

This template is 100% free and customizable, so you can adjust the columns as needed to suit your company.

2. GeneralBlue simple free travel expense reimbursement form

This  free travel expense reimbursement form by GeneralBlue  is as easy as it gets. It’s an Excel template with 8 columns for recording the expenses incurred traveling for business.

With this straightforward form, you can record:

The date you traveled

A description of your trip

The cost of transportation

The cost of hotels

The cost of meals

Miscellaneous expenses

The total amount of travel expenses

There is also a line for employee and approval signatures so you have an official record of travel expenses and reimbursements.

3. U.S. General Services Administration travel expense reimbursement template

Travel expense reimbursement template from the U.S. General Services Administration.

Travel expense reimbursement template from the U.S. General Services Administration.

For state employees, the U.S. GSA offers a  free travel expense reimbursement template  that you can use to record spending while out on state business.

This template has everything an employee would need to record official business expenses, including:

Department or establishment

Official business categories

Mileage, including fare or toll

Date traveled

Additional persons

Tips and miscellaneous expenses

Spaces for authorizing signatures

The U.S. GSA travel expense template has to be printed and written as a paper copy.

4. Vertex42 travel expense reimbursement sheet

The  Vertex42 travel expense reimbursement sheet  is available for free and can be downloaded as an Excel file or Google Sheet .

This expense report includes:

Description of travel

Air and transportation costs

Fuel and mileage costs

Conferences and seminars

Meals and tip costs


Other expenses

The total cost of expenses

There’s also a place for authorized signatures, department, manager name, employee ID, and more.

Bonus: Shoeboxed for receipt tracking and expense reports

Turn Receipts into Data with Shoeboxed

Use Shoeboxed to capture your receipts and create detailed expense reports for reimbursement.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of keeping up with your receipts, manually inputting the expenses into a spreadsheet, or printing out an expense report for your boss,  Shoeboxed  can help!

Tracking receipts with Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed  is a great  travel management software  that allows you to snap photos of your receipts, digitally extract the important information, and categorize the expenses so that they’re easy to find and manage in your Shoeboxed account.

Break free from manual data entry ✨

Use Shoeboxed’s Magic Envelope to ship off your receipts and get them back as scanned data in a private, secure cloud-based account. 📁 Try free for 30 days!

Creating expense reports for business travel expenses

Once your receipt details are uploaded to your  Shoeboxed account , you can select the receipts you want to put in your expense report and either export, print, or email them to the appropriate authority.

Shoeboxed will then create a detailed and organized  expense report  with images of your receipts attached so you can get reimbursed!

And if you didn’t think it could get any better, Shoeboxed also offers a  free mileage tracker  so you can effortlessly calculate business mileage and add it to your expense report.

Frequently asked questions

Can i get reimbursed for travel expenses.

The IRS offers two plans for reimbursing workers for travel expenses that are deductible: 1. Employers don’t have to pay employment tax by not including the reimbursement for travel-related expenses from the worker’s wages with the accountable plan; or 2. Employers will have to count all payments to workers as wages under a non-accountable plan.

What are travel reimbursements?

Travel compensation consists of reimbursements for out-of-pocket expenses by employees when they travel for work. The employee typically fills out an expense report and turns it in to the employer. Your employee’s costs will be affected according to your company and reimbursement policies. Travel insurance policies provide you with guidelines for reimbursement of travel expenses.

How much travel expense can I claim?

During business travel the actual cost of transport is 100% deducted—whether it is a flight ticket, train ticket, or bus ticket. Similarly, renting a motor vehicle can make your travel expenses deductible.

In conclusion

The best way to establish an accurate reimbursement strategy for your employee and your company is to ensure that you have an expense reimbursement policy in place and that it is covered by all applicable employees during the onboarding process.

Providing an expense report template makes it much easier for the employees and for those processing the expense reports.

The expense reports will also help to maximize tax deductions, make the audit process much smoother, and ensure that the employee is being reimbursed the correct amount.

Caryl Ramsey  has years of experience assisting in different aspects of bookkeeping, taxes, and customer service. She uses a variety of accounting software for setting up client information, reconciling accounts, coding expenses, running financial reports, and preparing tax returns. She is also experienced in setting up corporations with the State Corporation Commission and the IRS.

About Shoeboxed!

Shoeboxed  is a receipt scanning service with  receipt software  that supports multiple methods for receipt capture: send, scan, upload, forward, and more!

You can stuff your receipts into one of our Magic Envelopes (prepaid postage within the US). Use our receipt tracker + receipt scanner app ( iPhone , iPad and Android ) to snap a picture while on the go. Auto-import receipts from Gmail. Or forward a receipt to your designated Shoeboxed email address.

Turn your receipts into data and deductibles with our expense reports that include IRS-accepted receipt images.

Join over 1 million businesses scanning & organizing receipts, creating expense reports and more—with Shoeboxed.

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job travel reimbursement

Guidelines to Create an Effective Candidate Travel Reimbursement Policy

job travel reimbursement

In this Article

First impressions are everything - especially when it comes to attracting new talent!

Today, candidates are ready to travel just for the job interview, but a hitch in your expense reimbursement process can create doubts. One wrong move and it can create the impression that your company isn't serious about scale. On the other hand, if you can provide your candidates with excellent hiring experience, it can be an added advantage. 

Providing candidates with a seamless hiring experience goes beyond just promising them travel and expense reimbursements. Your company should also be able to offer a modern and prompt expense reimbursement process to help build your case. Your business can achieve this with the help of an expense management software .

In this article, we focus on candidate travel reimbursement and its importance. Additionally, we look at some quick tips on how to effectively enforce these expense policies.

Why Is a Candidate Travel Reimbursement Policy Important?

Finding good talent is tough. Hence, businesses are actively blurring boundaries when it comes to hiring the right candidates. While some businesses open up to freelancing opportunities others encourage candidates from different cities to apply for their job openings. 

Choosing to reimburse or not can limit your applicant pool . If a candidate is aware that the expenses incurred while traveling for an interview are reimbursable, he/she will be encouraged to take up the opportunity. Having a clearly communicated candidate travel reimbursement policy can also help build trust.

A candidate who’s traveling for an interview is taking time from their regular schedule to do so. Hence, providing them a seamless hiring process speaks leaps and bounds about your company culture. Additionally, having a good or bad interview experience can also affect their decisions.

Out-station candidates often have queries regarding procedures concerning travel and expense reimbursements. Having a clear and crisp candidate travel reimbursement policy can help answer questions like:

  • Does your company provide expense reimbursement for travel?
  • How much can the candidate spend on specific categories?
  • How long does the reimbursement process take?
  • What are the reimbursable and non-reimbursable expenses?
  • When should the candidate submit an expense report ? 


A comprehensive guide to Travel and Expense Policy

How to Draft a Candidate Travel Reimbursement Policy?

A good candidate travel reimbursement policy should communicate and clarify all doubts regarding expense reimbursements. Here are some critical pointers your travel and expense policies must address:

  • Spend limit for transportation, meals, accommodations, and other reimbursable items
  • Identify and itemise reimbursable and non-reimbursable expenses
  • List down all the responsibilities of the company and the candidate

Pro-tip: Candidates should be made aware of the expense reimbursement workflow that your organisation uses. This includes when and how to report business expenses .

Your Policy Should Be Upfront and Transparent

Being straightforward with your travel and expense reimbursement policy can avoid confusion and awkward communication between stakeholders. Ensure you address your candidates about all the necessary details concerning your expense reimbursement policy before the interview. Remember, being honest helps the applicant build trust and a relationship with your company.

Some companies cover expenses on multiple categories while others on just a select few. 

  • If your business prefers paying only for airfare and meals, your expense reimbursement policy should be explicit about it. This way, the candidate is aware of what arrangements they need to make for themselves. 
  • Also, if a candidate is required to submit proof of expenses such as receipts, candidates should be made aware before they begin traveling. This gives them prior knowledge to handle receipts with care rather than discard them away.  

Make the Reimbursement Process Concise

A candidate may be unaware of how the expense reimbursement process works in your company. Hence , your reimbursement process must be as clear and concise as your policies. 

Expense reporting should be an effortless task for all the stakeholders involved. For this, finance teams or the respective hiring teams should inform candidates about the expense reimbursement process and how long it takes for reimbursements to come through.  

1. Identify and adopt ways on how to keep candidates in the loop in case of unforeseen delays.

2. Avoid keeping candidates in the dark; this reassures them that you will reimburse their expenses.

SUGGESTED READ: Five ways to make expense reporting easier for employees

How Can Fyle Help With a Candidate Travel Reimbursement Policy?

The candidate travel and expense reimbursement process is a vital part of expense management. Having a robust policy in place can help the process run smoothly. Fyle automates the entire expense approval process while also providing a layer of security and transparency to all submitted expenses.

A new age Expense Management Software like Fyle also empowers businesses to manage their candidate travel reimbursements effectively. Here’s how:

  • Expense reporting becomes easier for candidates without having to fill or send report forms physically.
  • Fyle helps automatically detect and prevent expense report fraud .
  • Businesses can effectively enforce reimbursement policies in real-time.
  • Finance teams can stay assured that candidates are compliant.
  • Teams can avoid having awkward interactions with applicants in case of overspending.
  • Fyle ensures submitted expense reports come with all supporting documents for easy expense report approval.  
  • A streamlined and well-documented approach ensures lesser back and forth and quicker expense reimbursements for candidates.
  • Candidates can identify the stage of their expense approval to get clarity regarding their expense reimbursements.

We promise to make expense reporting a breeze for both your potential and current employees! Schedule a demo today and bid goodbye to all your expense management woes.


Akhono Seleyi

Akhono turns beautiful data into digestable stories. When she’s not at her desk writing, you can be sure she’s busy pinning designs for her dream house in Pinterest.

How to Create an Effective Candidate Travel Reimbursement Policy

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  • How to Comply with Scholarship Program Requirements
  • Review Site HPSA Score and Job Search Requirements for NHSC Scholars

How Scholars Schedule & Receive Reimbursement for Job Interview Travel

With a few exceptions, we help you schedule, and pay for, travel to job interviews.

You can receive a travel allotment up to $1,200. It covers transportation, hotel, meals, and incidentals.

You must travel to NHSC-approved sites that meet the HPSA score requirement .

In which cases am I responsible for costs?

We won’t reimburse you for any travel expenses within 50 miles of your current residence. You must pay any costs outside of the authorized travel allotment guidelines.

Can I receive additional help?

Some sites also help with these travel-related expenses. Confirm with them before making travel plans. Also, communicate with your Regional Analyst.

How travel logistics work

The NHSC works with Civility Management Solutions (CivilityMS). They specialize in federal travel and relocation logistics.

How long does it take to travel for an interview?

Typically, standard travel for an interview is three days and two nights.

If you interview at two or more sites in the same area, you may submit a request in advance for one or more additional days. We handle requests like these on a case-by-case basis.

What does CivilityMS arrange for me?

The CivilityMS travel and relocation coordinator arranges job interview travel. This includes:

  • A roundtrip airline ticket
  • Rental car expenses (if allowed)

Can I arrange my own travel?

Yes. If you choose to arrange your own travel, you will need to initially work with the CivilityMS travel and relocation coordinator. You can then submit a request for expense reimbursement upon your return.

Review the allowable expenses with a CivilityMS travel and relocation coordinator prior to traveling.

Follow these travel rules

  • You must submit all interview travel requests 14 business days prior to scheduled interviews. Please be advised that there is not a guarantee of reimbursement for last-minute interview travel requests.
  • We must approve all interview travel requests before you travel. If you fail to get prior approval, we will not reimburse your expenses.
  • You must complete all interview travel per Federal Travel Regulations and NHSC travel policies.
  • We won’t cover the cost of travel to a site more than once.
  • We only allow travel requests for job interviews during your initial job search. Travel funds cannot be used to interview for a possible transfer to a new site after your initial placement.

How to request travel approval and reimbursement

If you want to work in Alaska, Hawaii, or any one of the U.S. territories, contact the following regional supervisors to discuss additional requirements:

  • Alaska – Email CDR Khang Ngo
  • Hawaii and the Pacific Trust Islands – Email Michele Huitric
  • Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands –  Email CAPT Kit Burnham
  • Request approval for your interview at least 14 days in advance.
  • If a site notifies you about a last minute interview, submit your request as soon as possible.
  • Find the travel and relocation request link in the “I NEED TO…” section.

Note : If you are interviewing with multiple sites during your travel, add all sites to the same interview request.

  • We confirm it through the BHW Customer Service Portal.
  • Send any changes to your request—after you submit it—to your Regional Analyst. You can also ask a question via the Portal.
  • Upon approval, a CivilityMS Travel and Relocation Coordinator will contact you to schedule an appointment to discuss travel arrangements and guidelines.
  • Submit your online expense report to the CivilityMS travel and relocation coordinator.
  • The coordinator usually processes reimbursements within 30–60 business days.

Note : Confirm you have a valid email address and phone number listed in the BHW Customer Service Portal so CivilityMS can contact you.

When will I receive my reimbursement?

We reimburse you after you submit the online expense report to your CivilityMS travel and relocation coordinator. You must include original receipts.

What we allow for family members

We consider a family member to be anyone relocating with you during your NHSC service.

Do you provide a travel allotment for family members?

Yes. We provide $1,200 for a family member to join you on one interview trip.

This covers the cost of transportation, meals, and incidentals--but, not hotel costs.

We only reimburse family members for the standard three-day travel. This applies even if we approved you for extended interview travel.

Note : You can’t use the family member allotment for other Scholars, even if they're family members.

What rules apply to family member travel?

  • You must depart and return together when traveling.
  • You must stay in one hotel room.
  • Lodging Amount must not exceed the General Services Administration (GSA) lodging per diem rate for the location.
  • Use your privately-owned vehicle for a round-trip site visit.
  • Drive your privately-owned vehicle to and from the closest accommodating airport.

We use the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) mileage reimbursement rate (DOCX - 27 KB) . It includes the cost of gas.

  • Per diem Covers meals and incidentals— determined by location .
  • Airport parking
  • Public transportation or taxis
  • We must approve in advance.
  • You should only use a rental car if there’s a significant distance between the airport and the interview site.
  • You will obtain the most economic rental.

Note : We won't reimburse personal expenses, excluding per diem. Use your travel allotment for job interviews only .

How to travel with other members of my scholar class

You may wish to travel with another member of your Scholar class. If so, you must each use your own allotment to cover travel costs to interviews.

What to do if a site’s HPSA score changes

A site’s HPSA score may decrease after your interview.

If you receive and accept a job offer within six months of your interview—we'll honor the site’s original HPSA score. This is true even if the score decreases below your HPSA requirement.

  • Confirm the site’s HPSA score with your Regional Analyst prior to the interview.
  • Submit an official interview travel request via the BHW Customer Service Portal.
  • After six months, you will no longer be eligible to work at that site. You will have to resume your job search.

Note: Submit a request for all job interviews. You must do this if you want to use the site's current HPSA score for up to six months after your interview.

We require the request:

  • Even if your interview is local or virtual; or
  • Whether or not you'll request travel funds.

What to do next

You’ve secured a job at an NHSC-approved site. Now, learn how NHSC can help manage and reimburse your relocation expenses .

Related resources

Program guidance.

  • NHSC SP Application and Program Guidance (PDF - 554 KB)
  • 2024 – 2025 NHSC Postgraduate Training Bulletin (PDF - 376 KB)
  • NHSC SP Award: Tax Implications
  • NHSC Scholarship Program Milestones (PDF - 265 KB)

Helpful tips

  • Before, During, & After Your Interview (PDF - 243 KB)
  • From Training to Service (PDF - 264 KB)
  • How to Choose Your Site (PDF - 181 KB)
  • HPSAs and Your Site (PDF - 102 KB)
  • Health Workforce Connector
  • Virtual Job Fairs
  • NHSC Scholar Orientation and Employment Search Guide (PDF)


  1. FREE 7+ Sample Travel Reimbursement Forms in MS Word

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  4. How To Ask for Travel Reimbursement for an Interview

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    Approved employee business reimbursements that conform to IRS expense reimbursement guidelines. Educational reimbursements up to a maximum $5,250 per year. Specific insurance premiums including: up to $50,000 in group life insurance coverage, accident and health benefits, and the employer's share of COBRA contributions.

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  9. What to Know About Travel Expense Reimbursement + Templates

    2. GeneralBlue simple free travel expense reimbursement form. This free travel expense reimbursement form by GeneralBlue is as easy as it gets. It's an Excel template with 8 columns for recording the expenses incurred traveling for business. With this straightforward form, you can record: The date you traveled.

  10. What Are Employee Expense Reimbursements and Are They Taxable?

    The cost of work-related travel, including transportation, lodging, meals, and entertainment that meet the criteria outlined in IRS Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses, are generally reimbursable expenses. Many employers will reimburse an employee who uses their personal vehicle for business at a standard mileage rate.

  11. How to Create an Effective Candidate Travel Reimbursement Policy

    Here are some critical pointers your travel and expense policies must address: Spend limit for transportation, meals, accommodations, and other reimbursable items. Identify and itemise reimbursable and non-reimbursable expenses. List down all the responsibilities of the company and the candidate. Pro-tip: Candidates should be made aware of the ...

  12. I have received 1099-MISC form for reimbursement of travel ...

    See Pub 525, page 34 Job Interview Expenses. As long as the reimbursement is less than or equal to actual interview expenses, there is no taxable income. Note: if you receive a 1099-NEC for job interview reimbursement and enter it in Self Employment, it will trigger QBI and Self Employment taxes.

  13. reimburse employee expense for travel

    If you're using our Payroll services, you can create a non-taxable reimbursement item for things such as travel, mileage, or non-taxable insurance reimbursements. Here's how: In your top menu bar, go to Lists, then Payroll Item List. Click Payroll Item, then choose New. Hit the Custom Setup button. Press Next. Pick an Addition type and click Next.

  14. Standard mileage rates

    2023 mileage rates. The standard mileage rates for 2023 are: Self-employed and business: 65.5 cents/mile. Charities: 14 cents/mile. Medical: 22 cents/mile. Moving ( military only ): 22 cents/mile. Find out when you can deduct vehicle mileage.

  15. Travel Reimbursements

    Personal Vehicle (approved business/travel expense) $0.67. Personal Vehicle (state-approved relocation) $0.21. Private Aircraft (per statute mile)*. *$1.76 . *Unless otherwise stated in the applicable MOU, the personal aircraft mileage reimbursement rate is the applicable "Private Aircraft" rate provided in this chart .

  16. How Scholars Schedule & Receive Reimbursement for Job Interview Travel

    Yes. We provide $1,200 for a family member to join you on one interview trip. This covers the cost of transportation, meals, and incidentals--but, not hotel costs. We only reimburse family members for the standard three-day travel. This applies even if we approved you for extended interview travel.

  17. Travel Reimbursement Jobs, Employment

    214,178 Travel Reimbursement jobs available on Apply to Production Operator, Intelligence Analyst, Travel Consultant and more!

  18. Travel & Reimbursement Jobs, Employment

    143,862 Travel & Reimbursement jobs available on Apply to Senior Claims Specialist, Functional Manager, Digital Products and more!

  19. VA Travel Pay Reimbursement

    File a claim for general health care travel reimbursement online. General health care travel reimbursement covers these expenses for eligible Veterans and caregivers: Regular transportation, such as by car, plane, train, bus, taxi, or light rail. Approved meals and lodging expenses. You can file a claim online through the Beneficiary Travel ...

  20. Travel and Expense Reimbursements

    To learn more about the OBM Travel Rule, the Travel Procedures, or to access the OAKS Travel and Expense module (, click the applicable link below. For immediate assistance Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., please call the OBM Shared Services Contact Center at 614.338.4781 or 1.877.OHIOSS1 (1.877.644.6771).

  21. 505,000+ Reimbursement Jobs, Employment May 26, 2024|

    Southside Behavioral Health 3.5. Mecklenburg County, VA. $39,803 - $58,675 a year. Full-time. 8 hour shift. Easily apply. This position at Southside Behavioral Health works with the Prevention Manager and will be a member of the Prevention Department. Active 4 days ago.