It is Free Geek's policy to reimburse employees, volunteers, and board members for all reasonable, ordinary, and necessary expenses incurred which are directly related to conducting Free Geek business.
Note; as of July 22, 2011, the amounts below have been changed. Please see Staff Spending Guidelines for an update. This section should be altered to reflect the new policy. RfS 22:17, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
- Reimbursement will generally be made to paid staff and volunteers for reasonable charges related to Free Geek's interests.
- Any expense over $100 incurred by employees must be approved in advance by the Beancounters in order to qualify for reimbursement.
- Any expense over $300 incurred by employees must be approved in advance by the Staff Collective in order to qualify for reimbursement.
- When possible, use a Free Geek check or one of the Free Geek debit cards to purchase items.
- The person requesting payment or reimbursement must indicate in writing the relationship of the activity to Free Geek business, must provide a detailed record of the expenditures, and must provide receipts for most charges. A receipt and documentation for any charge over $12 is required, however in the event of a lost receipt, the beancounters may allow the reimbursement.
- All requests for reimbursement shall be made in writing and shall be signed and dated by the person seeking reimbursement. Receipts should be attached for all expenditures, but any individual expense in excess of $12, except mileage, must be accompanied by a receipt or adequate documentation. Expenditures in excess of $12 lacking a receipt will not be paid without adequate explanation.
Rejections, Modifications and Appeals
- The Beancounters working group is authorized to reject or modify payment to comply with these policies and guidelines. Appeal of The Beancounters's decision shall be made to the appropriate committee who may present the appeal to the staff collective if appropriate.
- There must be a business connection and the expense must be reasonable. This means that we must have an explanation of the business purpose for the expense.
- There must be reasonable accounting for the expense. Original statements, invoices and receipts are preferred for reimbursement. Handwritten receipts/invoices must contain the vendor’s name, address, and signature. Faxed copies of invoices are acceptable. Other documentation required includes the time, date, location, and a list of attendees for a meal reimbursement. Requests lacking the required documentation will not be processed until completed.
- All reimbursements must be repaid in a reasonable time. Requests for reimbursement should be made in a timely manner, not to exceed 45 days from the date of the expense. Payment of expenses in advance of an event, such as conference registrations, deposits, etc. will be made only to businesses and organizations, not individuals, and not more than 120 days in advance of the event. Payments to individuals for performing services will not be issued until the services have been performed or delivered. What about deposits?
Elements of good documentation
- What was purchased (the items or services bought)
- Where the money was spent (name of store, whatever)
- How much was spent (dollar amount)
- When the money was spent (date)
- Who spent the money (staff person's or volunteer's name, printed legibly)
- Who authorized the expenditure (staff person's legible name and signature)
- Who else was in attendance - if this is a meal reimbursement
- Why the money was spent (business purpose)
If a receipt is lost or unavailable, the person seeking reimbursement should first check with the vendor to see if a replacement receipt can be issued. If a replacement receipt cannot be issued, and the amount is over $12, the Staff Collective will need to approve the reimbursement. If a replacement receipt cannot be issued, and the amount is under $12, a staff member can use her/his discretion in authorizing the reimbursement. Regardless of the presence of a receipt, all reimbursements need the elements of documentation described above.
- Reasonable meal expenses will be reimbursed, including gratuity.
- No alcohol purchases will be reimbursed and such purchases should be segregated from meal expense and paid for by the individual ordering them.
- Meal reimbursement requests will not be processed without the elements of documentation listed above and a list of attendees.
Gifts / Awards
Free Geek recognizes that it is an appropriate use of Free Geek funds to purchase awards and modest gifts in appreciation for volunteer service. Reimbursement will be made for the purchase of reasonable gifts, awards or similar items recognizing an individual's extraordinary volunteer service to the Free Geek. Any gifts of merchandise for such purposes shall be modest and reasonable.
Paid staff who seek to be reimbursed for skills training will bring a proposal to the staff collective that details:
- What will be learned
- How these skills will benefit Free Geek
- Where the training is taking place
- When the training is taking place and whether it affects schedule
Collective members are eligible only after serving their six month probationary period.
The staff collective shall decide whether full or partial reimbursement is most appropriate. Fees for continued learning shall be modest and reasonable.
Free Geek does not reimburse fines for moving or non-moving violations (ex. parking tickets).
Free Geek uses the standard mileage rate as set forth by the Internal Revenue Service for the reimbursement of vehicle expenses. Actual charges for repairs, maintenance, or gasoline used in a personal vehicle are not reimbursable.
If a privately owned vehicle is used on official Free Geek business and an accident occurs, the operator’s insurance is responsible for payment up to the maximum liability. Afterwards, Free Geek’s insurance will pay up to Free Geek’s maximum liability [not sure this applies]. Free Geek will not pay deductibles associated with insurance claims as a result of the use of a privately owned vehicle.
Free Geek will reimburse charges for gasoline only when its use is associated with a rental car. In accordance with IRS rules regarding accountable travel reimbursement plans, reimbursement for gasoline used in an employee’s personal vehicle will be made using mileage reimbursement only as stated above.
No reimbursements are allowed for expenditures of a personal nature. The Internal Revenue Service guidelines of reasonable and necessary business expenses are utilized in all cases of determination of appropriate reimbursements.
Purchases – Equipment
Assets purchased with Free Geek funds will become the property of Free Geek. The department initiating the purchase is responsible for properly safeguarding all assets purchased with Free Geek funds. Assets purchased with Free Geek funds are not the property of any individual. All items purchased with Free Geek funds should be shipped to Free Geek's address.
- Moderately priced hotel facilities and meals are favored. Where the hotel facilities are dictated by the location of a particular meeting or conference, that factor will take precedence over comparative rates of other establishments.
- When air travel is required, Free Geek will pay for or reimburse for "coach class" tickets for staff members.
- Where a choice is present between using a personal car or commercial flights Free Geek reimbursement will be on the basis of the lower actual auto mileage and hotel costs, or coach class air fare plus estimated taxi fares.
- When travel for more than one night is required, Free Geek will give paid staff an allowance to cover meals and incidental expenses as follows:
- First and Last Day (travel days) - 40% of the GSA M&IE per diem rate of the destination city.
- Each non-travel day - 70% of the GSA M&IE per diem rate of the destination city.
When claiming reimbursement for expenses that are in a foreign currency, the request should be completed in U.S. dollars and the rate of exchange must be documented. Free Geek recommends using the currency exchange rates as listed on www.oanda.com. Rate of exchange must be calculated based on the date the expense was charged.