Saturday, September 4, 2010

Reimbursing for travel/food expenses to PTA events?

When our PTA sends representatives to state events such as Convention or Legislative Assembly, is it okay to reimburse them for their travel and/or food expenses?  Also, what about reimbursement for local activities, such as the fuel costs incurred in running PTA errands? 
Whether to reimburse for expenses such as meals or mileage while traveling to a state meeting or driving around the community on PTA business is a local decision that should be addressed in the local unit’s standing rules.  The only potential limitation would be if the reimbursement were unreasonably generous (dinner at El Gaucho, for example) then the IRS might consider it an “inurement” or benefit to an individual rather than a legitimate expense.  We recommend that any reimbursement be supported by a receipt, or in the case of mileage a log or some independent evidence (such as a Google Maps or MapQuest printout) of how many miles were reasonably necessary.  If the PTA decides to reimburse these kinds of expenses, but some individuals don’t want to be reimbursed, we recommend that you ask them to fill out a reimbursement request and then donate the reimbursement funds back to the PTA.  That way the actual cost of doing business will be documented and future year’s budgets can reflect those actual costs.  Keep in mind that not everyone is in a position to forego reimbursement.