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Travel Time

Time spent traveling during normal work hours is considered compensable work time. Time spent in home-to-work travel by an employee in an employer-provided vehicle, or in activities performed by an employee that are incidental to the use of the vehicle for commuting, generally is not "hours worked" and, therefore, does not have to be paid. This provision applies only if the travel is within the normal commuting area for the employer's business and the use of the vehicle is subject to an agreement between the employer and the employee or the employee's representative.

Webpages on this Topic

Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act - Answers many questions about the FLSA and gives information about certain occupations that are exempt from the Act.

Coverage Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Fact Sheet - General information about who is covered by the FLSA.

Wage and Hour Division: District Office Locations - Addresses and phone numbers for Department of Labor district Wage and Hour Division offices.

State Labor Offices/State Laws - Links to state departments of labor contacts. Individual states' laws and regulations may vary greatly. Please consult your state department of labor for this information.

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How Much Are Employees Reimbursed for Using Their Own Car?

Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.

fair work travel reimbursement

Standard Mileage Rate

Company mileage reimbursement rates, government employee reimbursement, fixed and variable rate (favr) reimbursement programs, expense reimbursement requirements, taxes on mileage reimbursement, frequently asked questions (faqs).

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How much can you get reimbursed if you drive your own car for work? It depends on your employer and the law in your state. Federal law doesn't require employers to pay for an employee's mileage and travel expenses unless the expense would drop the employee's pay rate below minimum wage. Some states require reimbursement for mileage or other business expenses.

Many employers do reimburse employees who use their own vehicles for work. Employee reimbursement for using your own automobile will vary somewhat by employer and sector, but most organizations compensate employees at approximately the Standard Mileage Rate set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Key Takeaways

  • Many employers reimburse employees for vehicle expenses, but federal law doesn't require reimbursement.
  • Some states require mileage reimbursement. Check your state department of labor website for details.
  • Effective January 1, 2023, the standard mileage reimbursement rate for business travel is 65.5 cents per mile.
  • Employers may also reimburse employees at a flat monthly rate or for vehicle expenses.

Effective January 1, 2023, the standard mileage rate for business travel is 65.5 cents per mile.

This fixed, standard rate incorporates the cost of insurance, registration, gas, oil, and maintenance. For someone who drives a lot for work, this can result in a significant deduction.

Most employers will reimburse at the Internal Revenue Service rate since they can deduct up to that amount as an expense when they file their corporate income tax return, though there are other complex tax formulas that employers can use. When qualified workers are difficult to find during economic expansions, employers are more likely to provide competitive rates of reimbursement.

The IRS requires reimbursement payments to be made separately from salary, with no taxes withheld. Some employers will, therefore, process expense payments through the accounts payable system to keep them separate from payroll and to maintain compliance with IRS laws.

Federal government employees are reimbursed at the Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) mileage reimbursement rate set each year by the General Services Administration (GSA) based on research conducted by an independent consulting firm regarding current costs for utilizing a vehicle.

The POV rate is .625 per mile effective July 1, 2022.

Government employees will always be reimbursed at exactly the GSA rate if the use of a privately-owned car is authorized or when no government vehicle is available.

There are alternatives to mileage reimbursement as ways for employers to compensate employees for business-driving expenses.

Employers may reimburse employees under a Fixed and Variable Rate (FAVR) reimbursement program, in which employees are reimbursed for fixed costs (such as insurance, taxes, and registration fees) and variable vehicle expenses (such as fuel and maintenance). The reimbursements are tax-free to employees if certain expense-accounting requirements are met.

Another option for employers is to provide employees with a flat car allowance for using their vehicle on the job, such as $500 per month, to cover the cost of fuel, wear and tear, tires, repairs, and more.

You'll need to provide a mileage log, gas receipts, and documentation of any other allowable expense receipt related to your car if you require mileage reimbursement. Without detailed records, your expense report may get rejected. Or worse, your employer could potentially take disciplinary action if they think your claim might be fraudulent.

Many employers require recordkeeping, just like the IRS. Don't attempt to estimate your mileage, as that might violate your employer’s policies.

Keeping a pen and paper in your car is one method, albeit a tedious one; a better choice is a mileage tracking app that automatically tracks your trips in a contemporaneous log that you can print or download. It's an efficient way to keep track of mileage, start- and end-points, and the business purpose for the drive to include with your  expense report .

Mileage reimbursements are considered tax-free disbursements by employers as long as they are documented and don’t exceed your actual expenses.

When can I deduct mileage expenses on my tax return?

Individuals who own a business or are self-employed and use their car for business can deduct vehicle expenses on their tax returns. Some employees who use their car for work can no longer take an employee business expense deduction.  Armed Forces reservists, qualified performing artists, and fee-basis state or local government officials can still deduct unreimbursed travel expenses. They can use the standard mileage rate or deduct the actual expenses they incur.

Can I deduct my expenses when I use my vehicle to travel for work?

Business travel deductions are available to employees who must travel away from their tax home or main place of work for business reasons. In order to qualify for a deduction, the travel period must be substantially longer than an ordinary day's work.

Code of Federal Regulations. " Part 531 - Wage Payments Under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 ."

Triplog. " Mileage Reimbursement Requirements By State ."

Internal Revenue Service. " IRS Issues Standard Mileage Rates for 2023; Business Use Increases 3 Cents per Mile ."

Internal Revenue Service. " Fringe Benefits ."

U.S. General Services Administration. " Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) Mileage Reimbursement Rates ."

Internal Revenue Service. " Rev. Proc. 209-54 ," Pages 10–12.

Internal Revenue Service. " Here’s the 411 on Who Can Deduct Car Expenses on Their Tax Returns ."

Internal Revenue Service. " Here’s What Taxpayers Need To Know About Business Related Travel Deductions ."

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'do i have to reimburse my employees for that'.

fair work travel reimbursement

Employees may incur business expenses through the course of their work for travel, tools, equipment, uniforms, and other work-related items. Do you have to reimburse them for these types of expenses? To help you find out, we compiled these frequently asked questions.

General Reimbursement:

Q: how does the federal law impact expense reimbursement.

A: Expense reimbursement might be necessary to satisfy the federal Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime requirements for non-exempt employees. In most cases, under the FLSA, any work-related expense incurred by an employee that would bring the employee’s pay below the minimum wage (or cut into overtime pay) must be reimbursed. Generally, it is a best practice to reimburse all employees for any reasonable business expenses they incur.

Q: What is the deadline for reimbursing employees?

A: Under the FLSA, if the cost would reduce the employee’s pay below the minimum wage or cut into overtime, the reimbursement must be made no later than the next regular payday. In states that require reimbursement for business expenses, most require the reimbursement within 30 days. Check your state law to ensure compliance.

Q: Do I have to reimburse employees for transportation and lodging while they travel for work?

A: Some states require employers to reimburse employees for business trips and other business-related expenses. For example, California requires employers to reimburse employees for all expenses paid (or losses incurred) by the employee while performing their duties. This would include business travel (transportation, lodging, and meals). Check your state law to ensure compliance. Absent a state requirement, employers must also consider their requirements under the FLSA.

Q: Can we set limits on business travel expenses?

A: Employers may set reasonable limits on business travel expenses. For example, some employers require employees to fly coach and will not reimburse employees for upgrades to business or first class. Employers can also dictate what type of lodging or airport transportation is eligible for reimbursement. Limits should be reasonable and communicated to employees in writing before their business trip.

Vehicle Expenses:

Q: we operate a restaurant that delivers. do we have to reimburse employees for gas they use when delivering food using their own cars.

A: Some states expressly require employers to reimburse employees for business expenses, such as gas used when driving for company business. Even if your state doesn’t require reimbursement, consider your FLSA compliance. If a non-exempt employee incurs vehicle-related expenses that would bring their pay below minimum wage (or cut into their overtime pay), reimbursement may be required.

Q: How would I reimburse employees who drive their personal vehicles for business purposes?

A: When reimbursing employees for business-related driving, many employers use the IRS standard mileage rate . Alternatively, some employers calculate the actual cost and reimburse employees accordingly.

Q: What is the IRS standard mileage rate? Do I have to use it?

A: The IRS standard mileage rate is optional and includes the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile, including depreciation, insurance, repairs, tires, maintenance, gas, and oil. For 2022, the IRS standard mileage rate is 58.5 cents per mile. The rate is typically adjusted annually.

Q: The IRS rate doesn’t include parking and tolls? How do I handle those?

A: Employees would need to submit a separate reimbursement request for parking and tolls.

Uniforms, Tools, and Equipment:

Q: we require employees to purchase company uniforms that have our logo on them. do i have to reimburse employees for the uniforms.

A: Several states require employers to pay for the full cost of required uniforms as well as the cost to maintain them. In these states, you should pay for the uniforms upfront or reimburse employees the full amount. Absent a state requirement, if you require the employee to bear the uniform cost, the cost may not reduce their pay below the minimum wage or cut into overtime pay. This rule also applies to any special care, such as dry cleaning or ironing.

Q: Do I have to reimburse employees for tools they need on the job?

A: Some states require employees to pay for the full cost of required tools. In these states, you would either have to pay for the tools upfront or reimburse employees. If there is no state requirement to pay for tools, then you must make sure any cost the employee bears doesn’t reduce their pay below the minimum wage or cut into overtime pay.

Note: Some states make exceptions for certain types of tools or equipment, such as tools and equipment customarily required by the employee's trade. Check your state law for more information.

Q: How do these rules apply to employees classified as exempt from overtime?

A: Employers are prohibited from making deductions from exempt employees' salaries for uniforms, tools, and equipment. If these deductions are made or employees are required to incur these costs without reimbursement, it may result in the loss of the overtime exemption.

Q: If my employees are required to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, must I pay for the masks?

A: Some states and local jurisdictions have enacted laws or issued regulations or orders that expressly require employers to provide masks to employees. For example, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has issued an order requiring that all employers provide employees with, and require them to wear, a well-fitting medical grade mask, surgical mask, or higher-level respirator, such as an N95 or KN95, at all times while indoors at the worksite. Employers will also need to consider any state requirement for reimbursing employees for business expenses. Absent a state or local requirement to pay for masks/business expenses, you must make sure any cost the employee bears doesn’t reduce their pay below the minimum wage or cut into overtime pay.

Q: Do I have to reimburse remote workers for Internet access?

A: As mentioned above, some states expressly require employers to reimburse employees for any reasonable business expenses they incur. This would include Internet access from a home office. Where the expense may be used for work and personal use (such as having an Internet connection), consider a system to help employees monitor and record how much of the cost is related to conducting business activities, and reimburse employees at least that amount. Absent a reimbursement requirement, you must make sure any cost the employee bears doesn’t reduce their pay below the minimum wage or cut into overtime pay.


To help you comply with federal and state laws, consider requiring employees to:

  • Obtain supervisor approval before incurring business expenses.
  • Document the business purpose of the expense and back up expenses with a receipt.
  • Maintain a log of any business miles driven, including the date and the business reason.
  • Obtain and submit receipts for business expenses, such as for airfare, hotels, meals, parking, and tools.
  • Request reimbursement in writing.

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Federal Labor Laws on Travel Time & Expenses

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Travel Expense Deductions for Sole Proprietors

Do expense reimbursements need to be reported as income, do you have to reimburse mileage according to irs mileage rates.

  • Wage and Hour Laws on Time Cards
  • Travel Expense Management for a Small Business

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) is the basis for federal wage and work hour rules that are enforced by the Department of Labor. Whether travel time is considered work time is a question that applies to employees who are paid by the hour, commonly referred to as nonexempt employees, and who are protected by the FSLA’s minimum wage and overtime pay rules. With regard to reimbursement for travel expenses, federal law does not require employers to reimburse employees for travel expenses, but employers generally do so.

Commuting vs. Work Travel Time

FSLA rules require that a nonexempt employee be paid for traveling during work time, but not for time commuting to and from work. However, if the travel is required before or after usual working hours, some of the time spent traveling to the office may be compensated as work time. For example, if you require an employee to travel to another location on the way to work to perform a task, such as purchasing office supplies, from the time the employee arrives at the office supply store until he travels to the office is compensable work time.

Out-of-Town and Overnight Trips

When nonexempt employees travel out of town or overnight for work purposes, some portion of the travel time is usually compensable as work time. If your employee must travel to an airport for a flight, the travel time from home to the airport is treated as commuting time; however, the time spent at the airport and traveling to the business location is compensable work time. The same is true when the employee travels back. In situations where flight travel times require the employee to travel before and after usual working hours, she is entitled to pay for all travel time between airports and may be entitled to overtime pay depending on the total number of compensable travel time hours.

Reimbursement for Travel Expenses

The FSLA does not have any rules regarding an employer's obligation to reimburse an employee for business-related travel expenses. No federal law requires reimbursement. However, because IRS regulations allow employers to take tax deductions for legitimate employee travel expenses, as a practical matter, it make sense for employers to reimburse employees for travel expenses.

The important issues in this area tend to focus on whether the travel expenses have a business purpose and that the expenses are adequately documented. For example, IRS rules require all deductions for business travel expenses over $75 be backed up by a receipt. The IRS also has alternative rules that allow employers to use a per diem rate plan for travel expenses.

Other Considerations

Many states have labor laws that give employees greater rights than federal labor law. If your business is located in one of these states, you must follow the state labor laws.

For example, although federal law does not require reimbursement for employee travel expenses, California law does have such a requirement. California Labor Code section 2802 mandates that employers indemnify employees for all necessary expenditures and losses that are work related. Sections 13700 through 13706 of the California Code of Regulations provides a detailed list of expenses covered by the law, as well as provisions regarding record keeping for expenses and the manner in which reimbursement must be made.

  • U.S. Department of Labor: Travel Time
  • Nolo: Paying Employees Who Are On Call or Traveling for Business
  • Office of Personnel Management: Pay and Leave - Work Schedules
  • Internal Revenue Service: Publication 463 (2017), Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses
  • Travel Pay for the Traveling Employee in Texas
  • IRS: Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses
  • California Department of Industrial Relations: California Code of Regulations -- Travel Expense Reimbursements

Joe Stone is a freelance writer in California who has been writing professionally since 2005. His articles have been published on LIVESTRONG.COM, SFgate.com and Chron.com. He also has experience in background investigations and spent almost two decades in legal practice. Stone received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles.

Related Articles

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  • 1 Guidelines for Paying Hourly Staff for Out of Town Travel Under the Fair Labor Standards Act
  • 2 Time Worked & Labor Laws
  • 3 Labor Law Business Travel Rules
  • 4 Labor Laws & Per Diem

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Hours of Work for Travel

Fact sheet: hours of work for travel, description.

In limited circumstances, travel time may be considered hours of work. The rules on travel hours of work depend on whether an employee is covered by or exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). For FLSA-exempt employees, the crediting of travel time as hours of work is governed under title 5 rules-in particular, 5 U.S.C. 5542(b)(2) and 5544(a)(3) and 5 CFR 550.112(g) and (j). For FLSA-covered employees, travel time is credited if it is qualifying hours of work under either the title 5 rules or under OPM's FLSA regulations-in particular, 5 CFR 551.401(h) and 551.422.

Employee Coverage

Title 5 overtime laws and regulations apply to most FLSA-exempt Federal employees, including General Schedule and prevailing rate employees. Certain employees, such as members of the Senior Executive Service, are not eligible for overtime pay or other premium pay under title 5. (See 5 U.S.C. 5541(2) and 5 CFR 550.101 for coverage rules.)

OPM's FLSA regulations apply to most FLSA-covered Federal employees. (See 5 U.S.C. 5542(b)(2) and 5544(a)(3) and 5 CFR 551.102.) An employee may determine his or her FLSA status by checking block 35 of the most recent Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) to find out whether his or her position is nonexempt (N) or exempt (E) from the overtime pay provisions of the FLSA. Alternatively, an employee may obtain a determination from his or her servicing personnel office.

Overtime Work

In general, overtime hours are hours of work that are ordered or approved (or are "suffered or permitted" for FLSA-covered employees) and are performed by an employee in excess of 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a workweek. (See 5 U.S.C. 5542(a), 5544(a), and 6121(6) and (7), and 5 CFR 550.111 and 551.501. Note exceptions.)

Travel That is Hours of Work Under Title 5

Under 5 U.S.C. 5542(b)(2) and 5 CFR 550.112(g), official travel away from an employee's official duty station is hours of work if the travel is-

  • within the days and hours of the employee's regularly scheduled administrative workweek, including regularly scheduled overtime hours, or
  • involves the performance of work while traveling (such as driving a loaded truck);
  • is incident to travel that involves the performance of work while traveling (such as driving an empty truck back to the point of origin);
  • is carried out under arduous and unusual conditions (e.g., travel on rough terrain or under extremely severe weather conditions); or
  • results from an event that could not be scheduled or controlled administratively by any individual or agency in the executive branch of Government (such as training scheduled solely by a private firm or a job-related court appearance required by a court subpoena).

An agency may not adjust an employee's normal regularly scheduled administrative workweek solely to include travel hours that would not otherwise be considered hours of work.

Travel That is Hours of Work Under the FLSA

For FLSA-covered employees, time spent traveling is hours of work if-

  • an employee is required to travel during regular working hours (i.e., during the regularly scheduled administrative workweek);
  • an employee is required to work during travel (e.g., by being required to drive a Government vehicle as part of a work assignment);
  • an employee is required to travel as a passenger on a 1-day assignment away from the official duty station; or
  • an employee is required to travel as a passenger on an overnight assignment away from the official duty station during hours on nonworkdays that correspond to the employee's regular working hours. (See 5 CFR 551.422(a).)

Official Duty Station

"Official duty station" is defined in 5 CFR 550.112(j) and 551.422(d). An agency may prescribe a mileage radius of not greater than 50 miles to determine whether an employee's travel is within or outside the limits of the employee's official duty station for determining entitlement to overtime pay for travel.

Administrative Workweek

An administrative workweek is a period of 7 consecutive calendar days designated in advance by the head of an agency under 5 U.S.C. 6101. The regularly scheduled administrative workweek is the period within the administrative workweek during which the employee is scheduled to work in advance of the administrative workweek. (See definitions in 5 CFR 610.102. See also 5 CFR 550.103 and 551.421.)

Commuting Time

For FLSA-covered employees, normal commuting time from home to work and from work to home is not hours of work. (See 5 CFR 551.422(b).) However, commuting time may be hours of work to the extent that the employee is required to perform substantial work under the control and direction of the employing agency-i.e., productive work of a significant nature that is an integral and indispensable part of the employee's principal activities. The fact that an employee is driving a Government vehicle in commuting to and from work is not a basis for determining that commuting time is hours of work. (See Bobo decision cited in the References section.)

Similarly, for FLSA-exempt employees, normal commuting time from home to work and from work to home is not hours of work. (See 5 CFR 550.112(j)(2).) However, commuting time may be hours of work to the extent that the employee is officially ordered or approved to perform substantial work while commuting.

Normal "home-to-work/work-to-home" commuting includes travel between an employee's home and a temporary duty location within the limits of the employee's official duty station. For an employee assigned to a temporary duty station overnight, normal "home-to-work/work-to-home" commuting also includes travel between the employee's temporary place of lodging and a work site within the limits of the temporary duty station.

If an employee (whether FLSA-covered or exempt) is required to travel directly between home and a temporary duty location outside the limits of the employee's official duty station, the time the employee would have spent in normal commuting must be deducted from any hours of work outside the regularly scheduled administrative workweek (or, for FLSA covered employees, outside corresponding hours on a nonwork day) that may be credited for the travel time. (The travel time is credited as hours of work only as allowed under the applicable rules-e.g., for an FLSA-covered employee, if the travel is part of a 1-day assignment away from the official duty station.)

  • 5 U.S.C. 5542(b)(2) (General Schedule employees)
  • 5 U.S.C. 5544(a)(3) (Prevailing rate employees)
  • 5 CFR 550.112(g) and (j), 610.102, and 610.123
  • 5 CFR 551.401(h) and 551.422 (OPM's FLSA regulations)
  • Decision by United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Jerry Bobo v. United States , 136 F.3rd 1465 (Fed. Cir. 1998) affirming Court of Federal Claims decision of same name, 37 Fed. Cl. 690 (Fed. Cl. 1997).
  • Section 4 of the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947 (61 Stat. 84) as amended in 1996 by section 2102 of Public Law 104-188. (See 29 U.S.C. 254.)

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Fair Labor Standards Act: Compensation for Travel Time

Published: February 1, 2023

This content conveys general information. Do not use it as a substitute for legal advice. Any attorney general opinions cited are available from the League’s Research staff.

Provides guidance in determining when compensation must be paid under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) when non-exempt employees travel for work purposes.

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Topic No. 511, Business Travel Expenses

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Travel expenses are the ordinary and necessary expenses of traveling away from home for your business, profession, or job. You can't deduct expenses that are lavish or extravagant, or that are for personal purposes.

You're traveling away from home if your duties require you to be away from the general area of your tax home for a period substantially longer than an ordinary day's work, and you need to get sleep or rest to meet the demands of your work while away.

Generally, your tax home is the entire city or general area where your main place of business or work is located, regardless of where you maintain your family home. For example, you live with your family in Chicago but work in Milwaukee where you stay in a hotel and eat in restaurants. You return to Chicago every weekend. You may not deduct any of your travel, meals or lodging in Milwaukee because that's your tax home. Your travel on weekends to your family home in Chicago isn't for your work, so these expenses are also not deductible. If you regularly work in more than one place, your tax home is the general area where your main place of business or work is located.

In determining your main place of business, take into account the length of time you normally need to spend at each location for business purposes, the degree of business activity in each area, and the relative significance of the financial return from each area. However, the most important consideration is the length of time you spend at each location.

You can deduct travel expenses paid or incurred in connection with a temporary work assignment away from home. However, you can't deduct travel expenses paid in connection with an indefinite work assignment. Any work assignment in excess of one year is considered indefinite. Also, you may not deduct travel expenses at a work location if you realistically expect that you'll work there for more than one year, whether or not you actually work there that long. If you realistically expect to work at a temporary location for one year or less, and the expectation changes so that at some point you realistically expect to work there for more than one year, travel expenses become nondeductible when your expectation changes.

Travel expenses for conventions are deductible if you can show that your attendance benefits your trade or business. Special rules apply to conventions held outside the North American area.

Deductible travel expenses while away from home include, but aren't limited to, the costs of:

  • Travel by airplane, train, bus or car between your home and your business destination. (If you're provided with a ticket or you're riding free as a result of a frequent traveler or similar program, your cost is zero.)
  • The airport or train station and your hotel,
  • The hotel and the work location of your customers or clients, your business meeting place, or your temporary work location.
  • Shipping of baggage, and sample or display material between your regular and temporary work locations.
  • Using your car while at your business destination. You can deduct actual expenses or the standard mileage rate, as well as business-related tolls and parking fees. If you rent a car, you can deduct only the business-use portion for the expenses.
  • Lodging and non-entertainment-related meals.
  • Dry cleaning and laundry.
  • Business calls while on your business trip. (This includes business communications by fax machine or other communication devices.)
  • Tips you pay for services related to any of these expenses.
  • Other similar ordinary and necessary expenses related to your business travel. (These expenses might include transportation to and from a business meal, public stenographer's fees, computer rental fees, and operating and maintaining a house trailer.)

Instead of keeping records of your meal expenses and deducting the actual cost, you can generally use a standard meal allowance, which varies depending on where you travel. The deduction for business meals is generally limited to 50% of the unreimbursed cost. For information on a temporary 100% deduction for food or beverages provided by a restaurant paid or incurred after December 31, 2020, and before January 1, 2023, refer to Notice 2021-25 PDF . For more information on a special rule that allows the temporary 100% deduction for the full meal portion of a per diem rate or allowance, refer to Notice 2021-63 PDF .

If you're self-employed, you can deduct travel expenses on Schedule C (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Business (Sole Proprietorship) , or if you're a farmer, on Schedule F (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Farming .

If you're a member of the National Guard or military reserve, you may be able to claim a deduction for unreimbursed travel expenses paid in connection with the performance of services as a reservist that reduces your adjusted gross income. This travel must be overnight and more than 100 miles from your home. Expenses must be ordinary and necessary. This deduction is limited to the regular federal per diem rate (for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses) and the standard mileage rate (for car expenses) plus any parking fees, ferry fees, and tolls. Claim these expenses on Form 2106, Employee Business Expenses and report them on Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR as an adjustment to income.

Good records are essential. Refer to Topic No. 305 for information on recordkeeping. For more information on these and other travel expenses, refer to Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses .

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Welcome and thank you for joining the Internal Revenue Service's phone forum on "Travel reimbursements and allowances".

My name is John Darr and I am a Revenue Agent in the Federal, State, and Local Government Division of the IRS.  Over the next 60 minutes, we are going to discuss some vital travel reimbursement policy information you need to know.  With me today for this discussion is Wendy Speelman, also a Federal State and Local Government Revenue Agent.

Thanks John and good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  We commonly get questions on how to determine what allowances and reimbursements are taxable. 

Today, we will discuss several common payments we often see while conducting audits, and the proper treatments of these payments. 

Our goal today is to help you understand the issues surrounding allowance payments and various reimbursements and the proper tax treatment.  We will cover:

  • Additional board member Compensation allowances
  • Employee travel Allowances
  • Personal automobile Allowances for employees, and
  • other travel reimbursements

You should know that this presentation is not official guidance for your specific issues.  We are providing general guidance to help government entities understand the employment tax treatment of various payments. 

We received a number of very good questions from the audience that we will be discussing, but understand that each issue is unique and must be looked at on a case by case basis.  If you have a specific question, go to IRS.GOV and enter the keyword search "FSLG Newsletter". 

There is a list of FSLG Specialists for every State. They are there to help answer your specific question.  You can also request a subscription to the newsletter to stay informed of the latest information in FSLG matters.

Before we get started, just a quick reminder.  Your phone lines are muted.  We ask that if you must leave us for a moment that you do not put your phone on hold as some phone systems play music when the phone is placed on hold. 

Now, let's get started.  Our first area is compensation paid to board members.  Generally, board members and other elected officials are employees of the government and their compensation is taxed and reported on a W-2 Form like other employees.  However, compensation for Board members is paid in many different ways.

That's right Wendy.  The most common method of compensating a board member is an amount paid to the board member for attending the meetings.

Elected board members or directors are often paid a flat amount; say $20 to attend regular and special board meetings.  The payments are not reimbursements for actual expenses, but many times are referred to as a "per diem" or reimbursement.  Regardless of what they are called, the payments are compensation and are taxable as wages.

Board members commonly receive compensation in other various benefits.  We are going to discuss a few benefits that we commonly see.

These benefits are:

  • Travel meeting reimbursements
  • Overnight companion travel, and
  •  Various other payments that fall outside of the accountable plan rules

The first benefit that we will discuss is board member meeting payments and reimbursements of commuting expenses. This topic is directly related to a question that we received from the audience today. They asked "Is reimbursing members for their mileage to board and/or committee meetings taxable if held on-site?"

The answer is that commuting is defined as travel between home and work and is considered an employee's personal expense. And therefore If the government entity reimburses a board member for commuting, that reimbursement is taxable to the board member and subject to employment taxes.  So Wendy, what if the government employee takes someone with them on a business trip?  What, if any, tax impact would that have?

That is a great question.

Any money paid or incurred with respect to a spouse, dependent, or other individual accompanying an employee on business travel is considered a taxable fringe benefit.  However, there are some exceptions.

It is not a taxable fringe benefit if:

  • The accompanying individual is an employee of the employer,
  • The travel of the accompanying individual is for a valid business purpose, or
  • The travel expenses otherwise would be deductible by the accompanying individual

The term other individual does not include a business associate with valid travel expenses that otherwise would be a valid business expense.  

That's right, Wendy, The expenses must also meet the normal rules for travel expenses.  That means that there must be a real business purpose for the individual's presence.  Based on court decisions, the presence of the spouse or other traveling companion on a trip must be necessary, not merely helpful, to establish the requisite business purpose. 

You can find more travel reimbursement information on the FSLG website at http://www.irs.gov/Government-Entities .

Wendy, would you like to open the discussion on the tax treatment of payments or reimbursements when the payment falls outside the accountable plan rules?

Sure, John.

Let's make sure we all are current on what an accountable plan requires by examining accountable plan requirements and how reimbursements under an accountable plan work.

Under an accountable plan, allowances or reimbursements paid to employees for job-related expenses are excluded from wages and not subject to withholding or reporting.  An allowance or reimbursement policy, which does not necessarily have to be a written plan, must meet three requirements , to be considered an accountable plan.  They are:

  • There must be a business connection to the expenditure.
  • The recipient is responsible for adequate accounting within a reasonable period of time.
  • Excess reimbursements or advances must be returned within a reasonable period of time.

Keep in mind if the requirements of an accountable plan are not met, the reimbursement is considered taxable.

Another question we received from the audience relates to the accountable plan rules. They asked "Can employees receive reimbursements or allowance payments via vendor check and therefore receive a form 1099 if over $600? Or should all reimbursements and allowance payments run through payroll?"

That is an excellent question. We often discover that taxable payments, such as commuting reimbursements, spousal travel, and money reimbursed outside of the accountable reimbursement plan, are not reported as income to the board members on a W-2 Form. 

In other instances, we find these payments reported on a Form 1099-MISC as nonemployee compensation .   Neither  method is the correct way to report such payments.  Remember that taxable payments should be reported as wages.

So what is the correct taxing and reporting for these types of reimbursements and allowances?  As mentioned earlier, Elected and appointed public officials are generally employees for Federal income tax withholding and employment tax purposes.

When these officials receive payments for services or other purposes that are not excluded from income by tax law, or from income received by violating the accountable plan rules, the money is subject to Federal income tax withholding.  In addition, the monies are subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes and are reportable on form   W-2.

But, if the reimbursement follows an accountable plan and the payment is a reimbursement that is not taxable to the employee under current tax law, you may reimburse the employee and there would not be any reporting on either a form W2 or form 1099.

Remember board member's companion travel payments or reimbursements are considered income and should be reported on Form W-2. 

If a travel companion expenses are paid, and the companion is not attending the meeting for a valid business reason, the employee is subject to a taxable fringe benefit. 

Finally, if a payment falls outside your accountable plan, that payment is considered a taxable benefit.

Payments to employees belong on form W-2, not Form 1099.

Now that we have discussed the issues that effect board members and other elected officials, let's discuss some common issues that we find during our audits of government entities that pertain to reimbursements and allowances that are paid to employees, which as you know, also include board members and elected officials.

Government entities frequently reimburse for meals so let's go over the rules regarding meals. 

The general rule is meals are excludable from the employee's wages IF they are provided:

  • On the employer's business premises, AND
  • They are for the employer's convenience.

The first test "On the business premises of the employer" means that the meals must be provided either at a place where the employee performs a significant portion of their duties, OR the premises where the employer conducts a significant portion of his or her business.

The second test "Meals are provided for the convenience of the employer" is met if they are provided for a substantial "noncompensatory" reason; that is, the intention is not to provide additional pay for the employee or cover personal expenses of the employee, but for business reasons, it is in the best interest of the employer to provide the meal.

Remember meals provided to improve general morale or goodwill, or to attract prospective employees, are not provided for a substantial noncompensatory reason and are therefore taxable. 

Employees receiving cash allowances or reimbursements are not generally eligible for exclusion under Internal Revenue Code section 119.

The IRS Regulation section 1.119(a)(2)(ii)(a) reads: "Meals will be regarded as furnished for a substantial noncompensatory business reason of the employer when the meals are furnished to the employee during his working hours to have the employee available for emergency call during his meal period. 

In order to demonstrate that the meals are furnished to the employee  to have the employee available for emergency calls during the meal period, it must be shown that emergencies have actually occurred, or can reasonably be expected to occur, in the employer's business which have resulted, or will result, in the employer calling on the employee to perform his job during his meal period". 

We have received a number of questions on this topic. The first question is "If an employee travels away from home for the day and has lunch and/or dinner while out on the road, he does not stay away overnight but might be gone over 8 hours, are his meals considered a fringe benefit and therefore subject to payroll taxes?"

The answer to this is that since the employee does not satisfy the first requirement "On the employer's business premises" and the employee is not staying overnight, as they are not away from home long enough to require substantial rest, the reimbursement would be taxable.

The audience has also asked whether it makes a difference if the payment is for "actual expenses or based on a per diem amount".

Keep in mind that if the employee is not in travel status, which we will discuss in a few minutes, actual expenses following the accountable plan procedures must be used. The "deemed" substantiation by using a per diem amount is not applicable when the person is not in travel status and thus the reimbursement would be taxable.

So are there exceptions to the general rule for meal reimbursements?

Yes. Treasury Regulation §1.274-2(d)(3) provides that reimbursements for meal expenses directly related to and necessary for attending business meetings or conventions of certain exempt organizations are excludable from wages if the expenses of your attendance are related to your trade or business. These organizations include chambers of commerce, business leagues and trade or professional associations.

Treasury Regulations also provide for a di minimus exception for meals or a meal money allowance or reimbursement provided to an employee as a fringe benefit if :

  • The benefit is for a reasonable value.
  • It can be used on an occasional basis because overtime work necessitates an extension of the employee's workday,
  •  And the meals or meal allowance enables the employee to work overtime. 

In no event will meal money that is calculated on the basis of the number of hours worked be considered de minimis. 

So, for instance, if an employee is given two dollars per hour for each hour of overtime after working eight hours, that is not considered de minimis and would be taxable.  On the other hand, if meals are furnished immediately after working hours because the employee's duties prevented the employee from obtaining a meal during working hours treasury regulations would allow a tax free reimbursement of the meal. An excellent description of the rules for meals is included in the Fringe Benefit Guide at IRS.GOV/, It can be found by selecting the drop down menu under "Information For" in the right hand corner of your screen, selecting Government Entities, then clicking on the link for "Tax Information for Federal State and Local Governments, then selecting the link for "Educational Resources"

We have discussed the rules regarding meals provided by an employer on employer premises, but what about when an employee is travelling for business purposes.  Wendy, what is the tax treatment in that case?

John, this obviously fails the first test since the meal is not provided on the employer's premises. 

These meals generally fall under the rules for overnight travel expenses, as mentioned earlier, the employee is in travel status.  The taxability of these reimbursements or allowances depend on whether the meals are connected to the business travel and whether the expenses are substantiated under the accountable plan rules.

Reimbursements or allowances must meet the accountable plan rules in order to be excludable.  In addition, employees must be traveling away from their tax home on business.  As with other travel-related expenses, the general area of work, not the employees' residence, determines the tax home.

So what does traveling "away from home" mean?  First, the employee destination must be a substantial distance from the workplace. Revenue Rulings 73-529 and 93-86 indicate that, the tax home includes the entire metropolitan area; therefore, the taxpayer is not away from home unless he or she leaves the metropolitan area.

Second, the employee needs to obtain substantial sleep or rest to meet the demands of the work while away from home.

Wendy, Let me provide a few examples:

Say An employee is required to travel from her main place of work to another city 60 miles away to work on a project.

She leaves home at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, with plans to return home the same day.  She is unable to complete the project on Monday, so she spends the night.

After completing the project the next day, she returns to her tax home by 10:30 a.m.

Even though the employee had not planned to spend the night and is gone for less than 24 hours, she has met the "away from home" test because she spent the night away from her tax home on business and obtained substantial rest or sleep.

Reimbursements for allowable expenses under an accountable plan would not be included in her wages.

Here is another example. An employee is required to travel to a city 100 miles away to work for the day.  The employee leaves home at 6:30 a.m. and returns for the night at 10:00 p.m.  On the trip home, the employee stops for dinner and rests in the car for two hours.

Even though the employee has been away from home for substantially longer than his normal workday, the employee is not in travel status.

Court cases have ruled that stopping for a meal or rest in a car does not meet the "substantial sleep or rest" rule.  In this case, reimbursements for meal expenses are included in the employee's income.

For more information about meal reimbursements or allowances, go online to IRS.GOV and under publications see Publication 15-B, Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits; and Publication 463, on travel rules or go to the FSLG home page and under Educational Products you can find the Taxable Fringe Benefit Guide.

We commonly refer to employee meal reimbursements when not traveling overnight for government business areas as "Day Meals".  

In many cases, day meals are paid because a state or local charter allows for them based on distances employees must travel from their normal tax home. .  For example if the employee travels outside the county then their meal is reimbursed during their day trip.

In some cases, meals were negotiated as part of a union contracts, or it is "just because that is the way the government has done it".

An example might be a sheriffs department has an officer that travels to another part of the state in order to pick up an inmate at the state prison.  Many sheriff departments have agreements that require the department to pay or reimburse an amount for a day meal during that trip.

Although there may be a valid "business" reason for reimbursing that meal and the officer may have travelled outside of the employee's normal tax home, the trip does not require substantial sleep or rest to meet the demands of the work.

In this example, the reimbursement or meal allowance is taxable and should be reportable on the employee's form W2.

A question we received from the audience asked "If city employees or elected officials are out of town for a day meeting, with no over night stay, and a lunch meal is charged to their city credit card, is this a taxable benefit or is it considered de minimus?"

Since this is not an over night trip the meal would be a taxable fringe benefit to the employee unless the employee reimburses the employer the cost of their meal.  If they don't reimburse the employer then the cost of the meal should be included in the employee's wages as a taxable fringe benefit. 

It should be noted that it doesn't make any difference how the meal was purchased; the taxability to the employee remains the same.

Wendy, since we are talking about issues that relate to the "Tax home" of the employee, another issue that relates to the tax home is lodging within their tax home area.

The general rule is that lodging may be excludable from wages if the lodging is provided:

  • furnished for the employer's convenience, AND
  • The employee is required to accept the lodging as a condition of employment.  

This means the employee must accept the lodging to perform his duties.  For example, lodging is furnished to enable the employee to be available for duty at all times, and the employee could not perform the services required of him unless he is furnished such lodging. 

Determining whether an employee is required to accept lodging as a condition of employment requires an examination of the facts surrounding the furnished lodging. 

Section 119 of the Internal Revenue Code provides exclusions but only for meals or lodging furnished in kind, in other words, when the employer actually provides the lodging.  Cash allowances or reimbursements are not eligible for this exclusion. 

Remember that, just as in the case of the day meals, Federal law takes precedence over a state statute, employment, or union contracts, in determining the Federal tax liability for furnished lodging.

The actual facts and circumstances and the requirements are outlined in Internal Revenue Code 119 which determine the liability for Federal income tax, social security and Medicare taxes.

You know Wendy; many of us have heard or read that exercise is good for us.  And as an employer you may even be considering offering athletic club memberships to your employees.  This may sound like a great idea, but before you do it, or in case you already do offer this benefit, let's talk about the tax implications.

Under Internal Revenue Code section 132(j)(4), the value of any on-premises athletic facility provided by an employer is not taxable to the employees.  There are a few factors that determine if this fringe benefit is not taxable. 

You may have notice that I said "on-premise athletic facility".  The term "on-premises athletic facility" is any gym or athletic facility:

  • that is located on the premises of the employer; AND
  • that is operated by the employer; AND
  • that is  used primarily by employees, spouses and their dependent children. 

The athletic facility does not need to be on the employer's business premises.  However, the facility must be on property owned and operated by the employer and it cannot be a facility for residential use, such as a resort. 

The facility could include gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses and running or bicycle paths. 

The exclusion for athletic facilities does not apply to any membership in an athletic facility including health clubs or country clubs unless the facility is owned or leased and operated by the employer and used substantially by the employer's employees, spouses and dependents. 

Therefore, if the employer is paying for employees' membership to the local gym or Y (and neither are owned and operated by the employer) the membership is considered a taxable fringe benefit, the value of which should be included in the employee's W-2. 

However, if the employer has a work out facility on its property, and it is owned and operated by the employer and substantially all of the use is by employees then the fringe benefit would tax-free. 

Probably one of the most common reimbursements or allowances an employer makes to an employee is for the employee's vehicle usage.

This is generally paid as either a flat allowance amount or as a "cents per mile" reimbursement.  And to answer one of the audiences questions, the reimbursement could also be at the actual cost incurred by the employee with receipts submitted under an accountable plan.

In general, if a government employer reimburses auto expenses under an accountable plan, the reimbursement is not taxable to the employee.  Additionally, the expense would not be deductible by the employee on their personal tax return since the reimbursement was not included in the employee's income.

The employee is required to follow the accountable rules of providing the date, mileage, and business purpose for the mileage they submit.

Allowable Mileage-rate reimbursements for business travel are excludable from the wages of the employee if paid at or below the standard Federal mileage rate.  The employee must follow the accountable plan rules and account for the business miles driven.

As of January 1, 2013, the standard mileage rate is 56.5 cents per mile.

If the employer's reimbursement rate exceeds the standard rate, the excess amount is taxable to the employee as regular wages.  When there is an excess reimbursement, the nontaxable and taxable amounts are reported on form W-2  with:

  • The amounts up to the Federal mileage rate reported in box 12, code L  AND
  • The amounts in excess of the Federal mileage rate Is included in boxes 1, 3, and 5 if applicable for that employee.

In other words, the taxable portion is reported the same as any other compensation in boxes 1, 3, and 5 with the withholding reported in boxes 2, 4 and 6.

If a government employer reimburses an employee's mileage under an accountable plan substantiating the business mileage, and the reimbursement is at or below the Federal mileage rate, then:

  • The reimbursement is not taxable to the employee.
  • There is No income tax withheld. AND
  • There is No reporting required on form W-2.

If reimbursements are not paid under an accountable plan, or the reimbursement exceeds the allowable amounts , the money, or a portion of it, is taxable as wages.

As was mentioned earlier, the government agency has the option of reimbursing the employee for actual expenses, such as fuel cost.

These reimbursements are excludable from the employee's compensation, under an accountable plan. The employee must document expenses and the connection to the business.

Expenses that are personal in nature like commuting are never excludable and reimbursement for such personal expenses should be included in the employee's taxable wages.

Regardless of how the reimbursement is calculated, in order for it to be considered paid under the accountable plan rules, the employee must provide substantiation to the employer.  The travel substantiation rules require the employee to record

  •  business purpose
  •  and location

 The regulations require that mileage be recorded at or near the time the mileage is incurred.

For example, monthly expense reports generally meet this requirement.

As we mentioned, reimbursements for non-business travel, including commuting, is taxable, even if paid at or below, the Federal mileage rate and calculated on the same documentation as an accountable plan.

This is considered regular wages and subject to all income and employment taxes.

We have mentioned Commuting multiple times today, so let me remind you that commuting can occur for many different reasons.  Commuting is personal travel between the residence and the place of business and is considered non-business travel or personal.

As a reminder, Commuting can be at the request of the employer or solely initiated by the employee.

For example, if you have an employee that normally works Monday through Friday and goes into the office on the weekend.  This is still personal commuting , regardless of whether it is required by the employer or initiated by the employee.

Here is another question from the audience: "If an employee takes a taxi from their home to work because they have large or heavy project materials that they are bringing with them to work for a presentation, or conference that is business related, is that taxable or non-taxable?"

Under the commuting rules that we have described, the reimbursement for the taxi would be a taxable fringe benefit and subject to employment taxes because the employee is considered to be commuting.

And as a sidebar, if the employees does not submit a claim for business mileage reimbursement, they can not claim the expenses on their personal tax return.

John, that was an excellent description on the business use of an employees personal vehicle. Now I would like to cover government employees using government owned vehicle. 

You should know when an employer provides a vehicle to an employee solely for business purposes there are no tax consequences or W-2 reporting required and the business use is treated as a working condition fringe benefit.  However, employees are still required to keep trip records.

Remember business use does not include commuting.  Employees need to maintain records to substantiate that all vehicle use was for business purposes.

What happens when the vehicle isn't used solely for business use? 

If an employer-provided vehicle is used for both business and personal use, the substantiated business use is not taxable to the employee however the personal use is considered a fringe benefit and taxable as wages.

There are a couple of options for the government and the employee in this situation. If the employee fully substantiates the business and personal use, the Government has the option to tax only the personal use of the vehicle, OR the employee has the option to reimburse the employer for personal use rather than having it treated as wages.

The Government also has the option to include all use as wages and notify the employee that they are reporting the full amount.  Then it is up to the employee to substantiate the business use and deduct it from their - personal tax return, form 1040 schedule A.

John would you like to share with us a couple of examples of what may be considered personal use?

I would be happy to provide a few examples.  Keep in mind that this is not an all-inclusive list.

We have already discussed that commuting between the residence and work is considered personal use.  Vacation, weekend use AND use by a spouse or by dependents is also considered personal use.

An exception to personal use limitation is use that qualifies as de minimis.  A few examples of excludable de minimis use of an employer-provided vehicle include:

Small personal detours while on business, such as driving to lunch while out of the office on business OR Infrequent personal use. 

Infrequent personal use is generally less than one day per month.  This does not mean that an employee can receive excludable reimbursements for commuting 12 days a year.   Keep in mind that this rule is available to cover infrequent, occasional situations.

Let me give you an example to illustrate de minimis use.  Say an employee uses a government motor pool vehicle for a business meeting.  The government requires employees return motor pool vehicles at the end of the business day, but the employee is delayed and the motor pool is closed when the employee arrives back at the office.  The employee takes the vehicle home and returns it the next morning.

Assuming that this is an infrequent occurrence for that employee - generally happening no more than once a month, the commuting value of the trip is a nontaxable de minimis fringe benefit.

However, if this tends to be a frequent occurrence, the commuting is taxable to the employee.

So Wendy, what kind of documentation is required to determine if there is tax due from the employee?

Keep in mind that vehicles are considered "listed property" and therefore, in order to support an exclusion from tax, separate records for business and personal mileage are required.

If records documenting business and personal mileage separately are not provided by the employee, the value of ALL use of the vehicle is considered wages to the employee.

In that case, the employee may be able to itemize deductions for any substantiated business use on their personal Form 1040, Schedule A.

If an employee records business and personal use separately, only the personal use of the automobile is considered income.  This can have a significant impact on employees and is a sizeable incentive for employees to maintain the required documentation.

So John if there is a taxable amount, for either all the use or just the personal use, how is it valued?

Under the general valuation rule for fringe benefits, the amount to include in income is the fair market value .

For vehicle use, fair market value is generally the lease value of the vehicle, which we will discuss in a minute, but other rules may apply in certain circumstances.

There are actually three methods that determine the personal use value of a vehicle.  They are:

  • The Automobile Lease Valuation Rule
  • The Vehicle Cents-Per-Mile Rule  AND
  • The Commuting Rule

When the employer reports personal use as wages, they must use one of these 3 special valuation rules.  Generally, these rules are applied on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis and the employer may use different rules for different vehicles and for different employees.

The first method, the Automobile Lease Valuation Method is calculated by:

  • First - Determine the fair market value of the vehicle on the first day it is available to the employee.  The employer's cost, including tax, title, etc. may be used to determine the FMV .
  • Then - Use the table in either Reg. §1.61-21(d)(iii) or in Publication 15-B to compute the annual lease value.  
  • Next - Multiply the annual lease value by the percentage of personal use computed by dividing the personal use mileage by the total miles driven.
  • And if fuel is provided, add 5 and a half cents for each mile driven for personal use.

Keep in mind that under this method, other expenses such as the maintenance and insurance costs are included in the rate and cannot be reimbursed separately.

To simplify bookkeeping somewhat, for government entities that have more than 20 vehicles used for business and personal use by employees, a "fleet-average value" may be used to calculate the annual lease valuation.

But, there is a criteria that may make this "Fleet-average" calculation difficult for many Government entities.  In 2013, each car must be valued at less than $21,200 to use the fleet –average value.  For trucks and vans, that amount is $22,300 per vehicle.  

The second valuation method is the "Cents per Mile" rule.  To use the vehicle cents-per-mile rule, one of the following tests must be met:

  • The employer reasonably expects the vehicle to be regularly used in the trade or business throughout the calendar year, or
  • The mileage test is met.

So, looking at the first test, what is meant by "regularly used in the business" To determine this, one of 2 tests must be met.

  • First - At least 50 percent or more of the total annual mileage each year is used in the employer's business, or Second - It is generally used each workday to transport at least three employees to and from work, in an employer sponsored commuting vehicle pool.

You meet the standard if the vehicle is:

  • Driven by employees at least 10,000 miles for both personal and business use per year; and
  • The vehicle is primarily used by employees

This method has some additional rules that the government must follow in order to use this method.  Once the government selects this method, they must continue using the cents-per-mile rule for the vehicle for all later years, unless the employer can use the commuting rule for any year during which use of the vehicle qualifies under that rule.

So what happens if the vehicle no longer qualifies for the Cents per mile valuation rule?  \

If the vehicle does not qualify for the cents-per-mile rule during a later year, you can use, for that year and any year thereafter, any other rule for which the vehicle qualifies.

In addition, for 2013, the cents-per-mile valuation rule cannot be used for cars with FMV's exceeding $16,000 on the first day of use.  The limit for trucks and vans is $17,000. This eliminates a large number of vehicles to use this method.

If this method can be used, you calculate the standard mileage rate by multiplying the number of personal miles driven.  If fuel is not provided, the standard mileage rate can be reduced by up to 5 and a  half cents.

So currently, under this rule if fuel is not provided the calculation would be 56.5 cents   minus 5.5 cents   equals 51 cents per mile times the number of personal miles driven.

It is a simple method, but very limited in the types of eligible vehicles.

The third method is the Commuting Valuation Method.  This method, as the name implies, values the personal use of commuting at a fixed amount per commute for each employee.

The rate per commute is currently set at one dollar and fifty cents each way. Keep in mind that this is a per trip, per person calculation .

So if you have an employee that commutes twice to and from work on the same day it would be calculated as 4 commuting trips at one dollar and fifty cents per trip or six dollars for that day.

If that vehicle had 2 employees commuting twice that day, it would be taxable to both employees at the $6.00 for that day.

In order to use this method, ALL of the following conditions must be met:

  • First, the vehicle must be owned or leased by the government;
  • the vehicle is provided to the employee for use in performing duties for the government;
  • The government requires the employee to commute in the vehicle for a valid non-compensatory business reason;
  • The government must also have a written policy prohibiting personal use other than commuting;
  • In addition, the government must oversee that the employee does not actually use the vehicle for any personal use other than de minimis personal use;
  • And last, the employee who uses the vehicle can not be a control employee which we will discuss in a minute.

Keep in mind that for this method, the employer - requires the employee to use the vehicle for a business purposes; it cannot be voluntary on the employee's part.

An example of this would be, the government  has an employee, who is on call 24 hours a day to respond to road emergencies, and he is required by his employer to commute in a vehicle outfitted with communications or other equipment the employee would need if called out at night. This would fulfill the requirement that the employee is required by the employer to commute in a government vehicle.

As we mentioned, the Commuting Valuation Method is not available to a Control employee. A control employee in a governmental organization is either an:

Elected official, or an Employee whose compensation is at least as great as a Federal government employee at Executive Level V which is currently $146,400.

The government  may also treat all employees who are "highly compensated" (Generally, for 2013, those exceeding $115,000 compensation) as control employees.

These vehicles don't need to be driven by the Employee. It could be a chauffeur driven vehicle for these rules to apply.

An exception to this could be when the vehicle is chauffeur driven by a security officer working as a body guard. This may be classified as a working condition fringe benefit and not taxable to the employee.

For this to be a non taxable working condition fringe benefit there must be a business-oriented security concern that requires that an employee be provided with a vehicle and bodyguard/chauffer's services. The bodyguard/chauffer must be trained for evasive driving techniques for the services to be excluded.

Let's take a little time  to discuss the taxability of Country Club memberships and Seasons tickets to activities like sporting events.

Since the O B R A of 1993 amended the tax code to disallow a business deduction for membership dues paid to a club organized for business, pleasure, recreation, or other social purposes, club dues have been eliminated as a working condition fringe benefit in most cases.

They are generally always taxable to the recipient.

We need to look at "what are considered clubs". Clubs organized for business, pleasure, recreation, or other social purposes generally are entities like: Country clubs, athletic clubs, airline clubs, hotel clubs, and clubs that operated to provide meals under circumstances that are conducive to business discussions.

There are several types of organizations that are exempt from the definition of a club, so long as their principle purpose is not conducting entertainment activities for members or guests or access to entertainment facilities for members or guests.

This exemption generally applies to business leagues, trade associations, chambers of commerce, boards of trade, professional organizations, and civic or public service organizations like Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, etc.

Tickets to sporting events and similar activities can be a taxable event if they are not infrequent and di minimus. If the employee has season's tickets, this is a taxable fringe benefit, valued at the FMV and subject to the same taxes as the employee's wages.

On the other hand, if the employee received the tickets to a single sporting event and the FMV of that ticket is minimal, it would generally be considered di minimus and not taxable.

This concludes today's forum presentation.

We hope that you received some valuable information. And remember: If you have a more specific question you would like to ask you can go to IRS.GOV and keyword search "FSLG Newsletter".  Within the newsletter you will see a list of FSLG Specialists for your State whom you can call and ask questions unique to your entity.   If you do not already receive the FSLG Newsletter, you can also sign up to receive the newsletter from this page.

The IRS has recorded and posted several Webinars on employment tax topics, such as the implications of a section 218 agreement and the treatment of employees versus independent contractors.  You can find these webinars on our video portal at www.tax.gov .  The webinars conducted by FSLG will be located under the government entities tab.  Again, the video portal website is www.tax.gov.

You can find publications, forms and many other great resources on IRS.gov. 

You can easily navigate to the government section one of two ways:  You can get there directly by navigating to IRS.gov/govt or by navigating to www.IRS.gov and clicking on the arrow in the upper right corner next to the words "information for" and selecting government entities. 

On behalf of the Federal, State and Local Governments Division of the Internal Revenue Service, we would like Thank you for attending today's session.  We hope today's session has helped clarify some of the issues you have faced when making payments to individuals and determining the proper ways to report those payments.

Again if you desire more information, we encourage you to visit www.IRS.GOV .

Thank you and we hope you have a great day. 

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How Do Mileage Reimbursements Work?

  • Mileage Reimbursements

If you drive a personal vehicle for work, your employer may pay a mileage rate to offset the costs you incur. Once you know the mileage rate, it's easy to calculate the reimbursement. But is that reimbursement sufficient?

How does a mileage reimbursement work?

To cover employee vehicle costs incurred as part of the job, an employer pays a cents-per-mile rate to employees. The standard mileage rate for 2023 is 65.5 cents per mile , as set by the IRS. 

To calculate a mileage reimbursement, you multiply the mileage rate by the number of miles you drive over a payment period. Say you drive 1000 miles this month. Your reimbursement amount will be $655.

What does a mileage reimbursement cover?

Operating a vehicle for work generates more expense than just gas. Covered expenses are numerous: Oil, tires, taxes and registration, maintenance, car insurance – even depreciation is included. 

Reimbursable vehicle costs might amount to more than you expect. Consider depreciation and insurance – these two alone comprise about 60% of the average American driver's vehicle costs . Does your mileage reimbursement rate fully cover your costs?

[What is a fair 2023 mileage rate? Use our free rate calculation tool.]

Are all mileage reimbursements taxable?

As long as you receive the IRS mileage rate or less – $.655/mile for 2023 – you pay no taxes on a mileage reimbursement. Some companies pay a fixed monthly car allowance along with a modest mileage rate. In this case, the allowance is taxed but not the mileage rate. 

There is also a plan called fixed and variable rate reimbursement that pays both a fixed amount and a variable mileage rate. This approach, also known as a FAVR reimbursement, remains non-taxable as well.

21st century mileage capture

What's the best way to track business mileage?

In order to receive a mileage reimbursement, you must keep track of miles driven. Your employer may leave it entirely up to you to track and report mileage, or you may have a system to record trips that calculates mileage for you.

Keeping track of mileage can be time-consuming. What if all you had to do was open an app on your phone at the beginning of a trip and that was it? A mileage tracking app uses GPS to automate mileage tracking and recording. This allows you to focus on your job, rather than adding up and reporting miles. But what about privacy?

The mBurse mileage tracker, known as mLog , records miles driven in real-time but only reports the business mileage – but not in real-time. And no personal trips are reported. You can always go back and edit trips if you forget to turn the app off during a personal errand.

How to calculate a fair mileage reimbursement

When receiving a mileage rate, it's important to compare your expenses to reimbursement amounts. If you work in an expensive part of the country or drive fewer miles than average, you may find that your reimbursement does not keep up with costs. High gas prices may reduce your wages since most company mileage rates are not responsive to gas prices.

Looking back at the list of expenses that a mileage reimbursement covers, you can estimate your monthly costs. Receipts and credit card statements will allow you to calculate how much you typically pay per month for gas, insurance, maintenance, oil, etc. There are car depreciation calculators online. (Or try this free tool .)

If you find your reimbursement isn't keeping up, what do you do? You have a right to expect your employer to provide a full reimbursement of business expenses. In some states, such as California and Illinois, the law actually requires employers to reimburse all work-related vehicle expenses .

Chances are, you're not the only one at the company receiving an insufficient reimbursement. It may be time for the employees to request a more robust vehicle reimbursement .

Educate yourself about FAVR reimbursement

If you're already receiving the IRS standard rate of $.655/mi, seeking an increased rate is not in your best interest, since anything over that rate will be taxed. Instead, the best interest of both the company and the employees could be fixed and variable rate reimbursement.

IRS Rate v. FAVR - Calculate Savings

A FAVR reimbursement plan provides highly accurate vehicle reimbursements. The fixed monthly payment addresses fixed costs like depreciation and insurance. The variable rate responds to changes in gas prices and other variable costs. And all the payments remain tax-free.

FAVR car driving on highway

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Travel Reimbursement with Workers Comp? Yes, Really. Here’s How.

Darin Westover, JD

Darin Westover, JD

Travel Reimbursement with Workers Comp? Yes, Really. Here’s How.

Workers compensation is a law in Montana that grant employees financial recovery from their employers due to a work-related injury. Such regulation has helped millions of people in America get back on their feet while healing from their injuries.

However, a workers comp claim is not limited to medical bills and lost wages. It also covers reimbursement from expenses acquired in getting hospital treatments such as the cost of travel.

The Law on Travel Expense Reimbursement

There is a stringent set of rules and calculations when claiming for travel expense reimbursement. It has three sets, which include meals, lodging, and mileage.

Calculating meal expenses

There is a difference in the amount limit that a person can claim for meal reimbursements. If it is within the state, breakfasts cost $7.50, lunch for $8.50, while dinner will be at $14.50. Out of state, meals significantly costs higher with breakfast at $13, lunch at $14, and dinner meals have a budget of $23.

Calculating lodging expenses

As of October 1, 2019, the standard lodging reimbursement rate is $96 plus taxes. However, a higher rate may be reimbursed depending on the location of the county, which you can check with your workers comp lawyer .

Calculating mileage expenses

On the 1st of January 2020, the Montana Code has provided for a new rate for mileage reimbursement. Travels using personal automobiles will cost $0.575 for those under 1000 miles. However, for trips that reach up to 1000 miles and above, the reimbursement rate is at $.0545,

Mileage reimbursement also includes air travel, and an employee will be refunded $1.150 per nautical miles.

How to Acquire Reimbursement For Travel Expenses

Initially, an injured worker has the right to choose his initial treating doctor. It presupposes that a workers comp claim has not yet been filed. During this period, it is essential to track expenses and keep receipts as evidence.

After a compensation claim is filed and accepted, the employer or the insurance company has the right to select another doctor. At this point, all medical records are usually forwarded to the company. However, it is still essential to maintain a habit of keeping receipts to have a smoother reimbursement process.

Claiming a refund for travel expenses is relatively easy if a claimant keeps his receipt. A person can also ask for a travel voucher before heading for his medical appointment so that gas, public utility rides, and other transactions that do not provide receipts can be recorded accordingly.

Claim Travel Reimbursement With a Trusted Workers Comp Cawyer

Recovering travel expenses requires meticulous lawyers who can help you maintain records and successfully file for a refund accordingly.

For workers comp cases in Montana, Glacier Law Firm has been at the top of the industry in helping people and their families recover financially from a work-related injury. Glacier Law Firm provides a free case evaluation. You can call them at (406) 298-6725 or drop by their office at 20 Four Mile Drive, Ste #4, Kalispell, Montana.

About Darin Westover, JD

Hi I'm Darin Westover, attorney at Glacier Law Firm. If you've been injured in an accident you've come to the right place. We're here to get you the compensation you deserve.

*The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.

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Alex Evans, JD

Alex Evans, JD

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Travel Itinerary For One Week in Moscow: The Best of Moscow!

I just got back from one week in Moscow. And, as you might have already guessed, it was a mind-boggling experience. It was not my first trip to the Russian capital. But I hardly ever got enough time to explore this sprawling city. Visiting places for business rarely leaves enough time for sightseeing. I think that if you’ve got one week in Russia, you can also consider splitting your time between its largest cities (i.e. Saint Petersburg ) to get the most out of your trip. Seven days will let you see the majority of the main sights and go beyond just scratching the surface. In this post, I’m going to share with you my idea of the perfect travel itinerary for one week in Moscow.

Moscow is perhaps both the business and cultural hub of Russia. There is a lot more to see here than just the Kremlin and Saint Basil’s Cathedral. Centuries-old churches with onion-shaped domes dotted around the city are in stark contrast with newly completed impressive skyscrapers of Moscow City dominating the skyline. I spent a lot of time thinking about my Moscow itinerary before I left. And this city lived up to all of my expectations.

7-day Moscow itinerary

Travel Itinerary For One Week in Moscow

Day 1 – red square and the kremlin.

Metro Station: Okhotny Ryad on Red Line.

No trip to Moscow would be complete without seeing its main attraction. The Red Square is just a stone’s throw away from several metro stations. It is home to some of the most impressive architectural masterpieces in the city. The first thing you’ll probably notice after entering it and passing vendors selling weird fur hats is the fairytale-like looking Saint Basil’s Cathedral. It was built to commemorate one of the major victories of Ivan the Terrible. I once spent 20 minutes gazing at it, trying to find the perfect angle to snap it. It was easier said than done because of the hordes of locals and tourists.

As you continue strolling around Red Square, there’s no way you can miss Gum. It was widely known as the main department store during the Soviet Era. Now this large (yet historic) shopping mall is filled with expensive boutiques, pricey eateries, etc. During my trip to Moscow, I was on a tight budget. So I only took a retro-style stroll in Gum to get a rare glimpse of a place where Soviet leaders used to grocery shop and buy their stuff. In case you want some modern shopping experience, head to the Okhotny Ryad Shopping Center with stores like New Yorker, Zara, and Adidas.

things to do in Moscow in one week

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To continue this Moscow itinerary, next you may want to go inside the Kremlin walls. This is the center of Russian political power and the president’s official residence. If you’re planning to pay Kremlin a visit do your best to visit Ivan the Great Bell Tower as well. Go there as early as possible to avoid crowds and get an incredible bird’s-eye view. There are a couple of museums that are available during designated visiting hours. Make sure to book your ticket online and avoid lines.

Day 2 – Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the Tretyakov Gallery, and the Arbat Street

Metro Station: Kropotkinskaya on Red Line

As soon as you start creating a Moscow itinerary for your second day, you’ll discover that there are plenty of metro stations that are much closer to certain sites. Depending on your route, take a closer look at the metro map to pick the closest.

The white marble walls of Christ the Saviour Cathedral are awe-inspiring. As you approach this tallest Orthodox Christian church, you may notice the bronze sculptures, magnificent arches, and cupolas that were created to commemorate Russia’s victory against Napoleon.

travel itinerary for one week in Moscow

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Unfortunately, the current Cathedral is a replica, since original was blown to bits in 1931 by the Soviet government. The new cathedral basically follows the original design, but they have added some new elements such as marble high reliefs.

Home to some precious collection of artworks, in Tretyakov Gallery you can find more than 150,000 of works spanning centuries of artistic endeavor. Originally a privately owned gallery, it now has become one of the largest museums in Russia. The Gallery is often considered essential to visit. But I have encountered a lot of locals who have never been there.

Famous for its souvenirs, musicians, and theaters, Arbat street is among the few in Moscow that were turned into pedestrian zones. Arbat street is usually very busy with tourists and locals alike. My local friend once called it the oldest street in Moscow dating back to 1493. It is a kilometer long walking street filled with fancy gift shops, small cozy restaurants, lots of cute cafes, and street artists. It is closed to any vehicular traffic, so you can easily stroll it with kids.

Day 3 – Moscow River Boat Ride, Poklonnaya Hill Victory Park, the Moscow City

Metro Station: Kievskaya and Park Pobedy on Dark Blue Line / Vystavochnaya on Light Blue Line

Voyaging along the Moscow River is definitely one of the best ways to catch a glimpse of the city and see the attractions from a bit different perspective. Depending on your Moscow itinerary, travel budget and the time of the year, there are various types of boats available. In the summer there is no shortage of boats, and you’ll be spoiled for choice.

exploring Moscow

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If you find yourself in Moscow during the winter months, I’d recommend going with Radisson boat cruise. These are often more expensive (yet comfy). They offer refreshments like tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and, of course, alcoholic drinks. Prices may vary but mostly depend on your food and drink selection. Find their main pier near the opulent Ukraine hotel . The hotel is one of the “Seven Sisters”, so if you’re into the charm of Stalinist architecture don’t miss a chance to stay there.

The area near Poklonnaya Hill has the closest relation to the country’s recent past. The memorial complex was completed in the mid-1990s to commemorate the Victory and WW2 casualties. Also known as the Great Patriotic War Museum, activities here include indoor attractions while the grounds around host an open-air museum with old tanks and other vehicles used on the battlefield.

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The hallmark of the memorial complex and the first thing you see as you exit metro is the statue of Nike mounted to its column. This is a very impressive Obelisk with a statue of Saint George slaying the dragon at its base.

Maybe not as impressive as Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower , the skyscrapers of the Moscow City (otherwise known as Moscow International Business Center) are so drastically different from dull Soviet architecture. With 239 meters and 60 floors, the Empire Tower is the seventh highest building in the business district.

The observation deck occupies 56 floor from where you have some panoramic views of the city. I loved the view in the direction of Moscow State University and Luzhniki stadium as well to the other side with residential quarters. The entrance fee is pricey, but if you’re want to get a bird’s eye view, the skyscraper is one of the best places for doing just that.

Day 4 – VDNKh, Worker and Collective Farm Woman Monument, The Ostankino TV Tower

Metro Station: VDNKh on Orange Line

VDNKh is one of my favorite attractions in Moscow. The weird abbreviation actually stands for Russian vystavka dostizheniy narodnogo khozyaystva (Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy). With more than 200 buildings and 30 pavilions on the grounds, VDNKh serves as an open-air museum. You can easily spend a full day here since the park occupies a very large area.

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First, there are pavilions that used to showcase different cultures the USSR was made of. Additionally, there is a number of shopping pavilions, as well as Moskvarium (an Oceanarium) that features a variety of marine species. VDNKh is a popular venue for events and fairs. There is always something going on, so I’d recommend checking their website if you want to see some particular exhibition.

A stone’s throw away from VDNKh there is a very distinctive 25-meters high monument. Originally built in 1937 for the world fair in Paris, the hulking figures of men and women holding a hammer and a sickle represent the Soviet idea of united workers and farmers. It doesn’t take much time to see the monument, but visiting it gives some idea of the Soviet Union’s grandiose aspirations.

I have a thing for tall buildings. So to continue my travel itinerary for one week in Moscow I decided to climb the fourth highest TV tower in the world. This iconic 540m tower is a fixture of the skyline. You can see it virtually from everywhere in Moscow, and this is where you can get the best panoramic views (yep, even better than Empire skyscraper).

top things to do in Moscow

Parts of the floor are made of tempered glass, so it can be quite scary to exit the elevator. But trust me, as you start observing buildings and cars below, you won’t want to leave. There is only a limited number of tickets per day, so you may want to book online. Insider tip: the first tour is cheaper, you can save up to $10 if go there early.

Day 5 – A Tour To Moscow Manor Houses

Metro Station: Kolomenskoye, Tsaritsyno on Dark Green Line / Kuskovo on Purple Line

I love visiting the manor houses and palaces in Moscow. These opulent buildings were generally built to house Russian aristocratic families and monarchs. Houses tend to be rather grand affairs with impressive architecture. And, depending on the whims of the owners, some form of a landscaped garden.

During the early part of the 20th century though, many of Russia’s aristocratic families (including the family of the last emperor) ended up being killed or moving abroad . Their manor houses were nationalized. Some time later (after the fall of the USSR) these were open to the public. It means that today a great many of Moscow’s finest manor houses and palaces are open for touring.

one week Moscow itinerary

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There are 20 manor houses scattered throughout the city and more than 25 in the area around. But not all of them easily accessible and exploring them often takes a lot of time. I’d recommend focusing on three most popular estates in Moscow that are some 30-minute metro ride away from Kremlin.

Sandwiched between the Moscow River and the Andropov Avenue, Kolomenskoye is a UNESCO site that became a public park in the 1920’s. Once a former royal estate, now it is one of the most tranquil parks in the city with gorgeous views. The Ascension Church, The White Column, and the grounds are a truly grand place to visit.

You could easily spend a full day here, exploring a traditional Russian village (that is, in fact, a market), picnicking by the river, enjoying the Eastern Orthodox church architecture, hiking the grounds as well as and wandering the park and gardens with wildflower meadows, apple orchards, and birch and maple groves. The estate museum showcases Russian nature at its finest year-round.

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If my travel itinerary for one week in Moscow was a family tree, Tsaritsyno Park would probably be the crazy uncle that no-one talks about. It’s a large park in the south of the city of mind-boggling proportions, unbelievable in so many ways, and yet most travelers have never heard of it.

The palace was supposed to be a summer home for Empress Catherine the Great. But since the construction didn’t meet with her approval the palace was abandoned. Since the early 1990’s the palace, the pond, and the grounds have been undergoing renovations. The entire complex is now looking brighter and more elaborately decorated than at possibly any other time during its history. Like most parks in Moscow, you can visit Tsaritsyno free of charge, but there is a small fee if you want to visit the palace.

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Last, but by no means least on my Moscow itinerary is Kuskovo Park . This is definitely an off-the-beaten-path place. While it is not easily accessible, you will be rewarded with a lack of crowds. This 18th-century summer country house of the Sheremetev family was one of the first summer country estates of the Russian nobility. And when you visit you’ll quickly realize why locals love this park.

Like many other estates, Kuskovo has just been renovated. So there are lovely French formal garden, a grotto, and the Dutch house to explore. Make sure to plan your itinerary well because the estate is some way from a metro station.

Day 6 – Explore the Golden Ring

Creating the Moscow itinerary may keep you busy for days with the seemingly endless amount of things to do. Visiting the so-called Golden Ring is like stepping back in time. Golden Ring is a “theme route” devised by promotion-minded journalist and writer Yuri Bychkov.

Having started in Moscow the route will take you through a number of historical cities. It now includes Suzdal, Vladimir, Kostroma, Yaroslavl and Sergiev Posad. All these awe-inspiring towns have their own smaller kremlins and feature dramatic churches with onion-shaped domes, tranquil residential areas, and other architectural landmarks.

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I only visited two out of eight cities included on the route. It is a no-brainer that Sergiev Posad is the nearest and the easiest city to see on a day trip from Moscow. That being said, you can explore its main attractions in just one day. Located some 70 km north-east of the Russian capital, this tiny and overlooked town is home to Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, UNESCO Site.

things to do in Moscow in seven days

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Sergiev Posad is often described as being at the heart of Russian spiritual life. So it is uncommon to see the crowds of Russian pilgrims showing a deep reverence for their religion. If you’re traveling independently and using public transport, you can reach Sergiev Posad by bus (departs from VDNKh) or by suburban commuter train from Yaroslavskaya Railway Station (Bahnhof). It takes about one and a half hours to reach the town.

Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a great place to get a glimpse of filling and warming Russian lunch, specifically at the “ Gostevaya Izba ” restaurant. Try the duck breast, hearty potato and vegetables, and the awesome Napoleon cake.

Day 7 – Gorky Park, Izmailovo Kremlin, Patriarch’s Ponds

Metro Station: Park Kultury or Oktyabrskaya on Circle Line / Partizanskaya on Dark Blue Line / Pushkinskaya on Dark Green Line

Gorky Park is in the heart of Moscow. It offers many different types of outdoor activities, such as dancing, cycling, skateboarding, walking, jogging, and anything else you can do in a park. Named after Maxim Gorky, this sprawling and lovely park is where locals go on a picnic, relax and enjoy free yoga classes. It’s a popular place to bike around, and there is a Muzeon Art Park not far from here. A dynamic location with a younger vibe. There is also a pier, so you can take a cruise along the river too.

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The Kremlin in Izmailovo is by no means like the one you can find near the Red Square. Originally built for decorative purposes, it now features the Vernissage flea market and a number of frequent fairs, exhibitions, and conferences. Every weekend, there’s a giant flea market in Izmailovo, where dozens of stalls sell Soviet propaganda crap, Russian nesting dolls, vinyl records, jewelry and just about any object you can imagine. Go early in the morning if you want to beat the crowds.

All the Bulgakov’s fans should pay a visit to Patriarch’s Ponds (yup, that is plural). With a lovely small city park and the only one (!) pond in the middle, the location is where the opening scene of Bulgakov’s novel Master and Margarita was set. The novel is centered around a visit by Devil to the atheistic Soviet Union is considered by many critics to be one of the best novels of the 20th century. I spent great two hours strolling the nearby streets and having lunch in the hipster cafe.

Conclusion and Recommendations

To conclude, Moscow is a safe city to visit. I have never had a problem with getting around and most locals are really friendly once they know you’re a foreigner. Moscow has undergone some serious reconstruction over the last few years. So you can expect some places to be completely different. I hope my one week Moscow itinerary was helpful! If you have less time, say 4 days or 5 days, I would cut out day 6 and day 7. You could save the Golden Ring for a separate trip entirely as there’s lots to see!

What are your thoughts on this one week Moscow itinerary? Are you excited about your first time in the city? Let me know in the comments below!


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Ann Snook-Moreau

Moscow looks so beautiful and historic! Thanks for including public transit information for those of us who don’t like to rent cars.

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Yup, that is me 🙂 Rarely rent + stick to the metro = Full wallet!

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Mariella Blago

Looks like you had loads of fun! Well done. Also great value post for travel lovers.

Thanks, Mariella!

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I have always wanted to go to Russia, especially Moscow. These sights look absolutely beautiful to see and there is so much history there!

Agree! Moscow is a thousand-year-old city and there is definitely something for everyone.

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Tara Pittman

Those are amazing buildings. Looks like a place that would be amazing to visit.

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Adriana Lopez

Never been to Moscow or Russia but my family has. Many great spots and a lot of culture. Your itinerary sounds fantastic and covers a lot despite it is only a short period of time.

What was their favourite thing about Russia?

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Gladys Parker

I know very little about Moscow or Russia for the\at matter. I do know I would have to see the Red Square and all of its exquisite architectural masterpieces. Also the CATHEDRAL OF CHRIST THE SAVIOUR. Thanks for shedding some light on visiting Moscow.

Thanks for swinging by! The Red Square is a great starting point, but there way too many places and things to discover aside from it!

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Ruthy @ Percolate Kitchen

You are making me so jealous!! I’ve always wanted to see Russia.

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Moscow is in my bucket list, I don’t know when I can visit there, your post is really useful. As a culture rich place we need to spend at least week.

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Looks like you had a great trip! Thanks for all the great info! I’ve never been in to Russia, but this post makes me wanna go now!

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Wow this is amazing! Moscow is on my bucket list – such an amazing place to visit I can imagine! I can’t wait to go there one day!

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The building on the second picture looks familiar. I keep seeing that on TV.

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Reesa Lewandowski

What beautiful moments! I always wish I had the personality to travel more like this!

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Perfect itinerary for spending a week in Moscow! So many places to visit and it looks like you had a wonderful time. I would love to climb that tower. The views I am sure must have been amazing!

I was lucky enough to see the skyline of Moscow from this TV Tower and it is definitely mind-blowing.

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Chelsea Pearl

Moscow is definitely up there on my travel bucket list. So much history and iconic architecture!

Thumbs up! 🙂

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Blair Villanueva

OMG I dream to visit Moscow someday! Hope the visa processing would be okay (and become more affordable) so I could pursue my dream trip!

Yup, visa processing is the major downside! Agree! Time and the money consuming process…

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50,000 demonstrate in Moscow in fifth weekend of protests for fair elections

A crowd of protesters in Russia, some holding flags or signs.

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Some 50,000 people rallied in central Moscow on Saturday to demand fair elections, the largest demonstration in a series of protests this summer that has rattled the Kremlin and posed the biggest political challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin in seven years.

Unlike previous rallies, which were met with harsh police crackdown that led to thousands of detentions and violent beatings with truncheons, Saturday’s demonstration was approved by the government and saw only scant confrontations between riot police and protesters. Nonetheless, more than 225 demonstrators were detained, almost 150 of them in Moscow and more than 80 at a second protest in St. Petersburg.

The tens of thousands of protesters ignored drizzling rain and unseasonably cold weather to gather in Moscow’s Sakharov Square just off the capital city’s central Garden Ring road, chanting such slogans as “Russia will be free!” and “Release the political prisoners!”

Moscow’s protest movement for fair elections began in early July, after the city’s elections commission rejected several opposition candidates’ applications to run in a Sept. 8 vote for the 45-seat Moscow City Duma, the capital’s city council. The current council is dominated by the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, which the opposition accuses of engaging in corrupt schemes that pilfer city budget funds.

Hundreds of protesters gathered daily in front of Mayor Sergei Sobyanin’s office until July 20, when a government-sanctioned demonstration organized by opposition candidates rejected from the ballot and Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny brought out more than 22,000 demonstrators.

That shook the Kremlin, as it watched a protest about local elections morph into an anti-government demonstration with chants of “Putin is a thief!” echoing through Moscow’s central streets.

The Kremlin swiftly cracked down on subsequent public demonstrations. Navalny and several other opposition politicians were arrested and are serving time behind bars for calling for unsanctioned rallies. Demonstrations July 27 and Aug. 3 resulted in more than 2,500 detentions . As many as 11 people have been charged with rioting, which could result in 15-year prison sentences.

The crackdown drew condemnation from human rights groups and several Western governments, which urged the Russian government to release those detained for protesting for fair elections.

The city government sanctioned Saturday’s protests but warned that participants who did not follow the rules on where to demonstrate would be prosecuted. Late in the afternoon, police detained about 100 demonstrators as they marched along Moscow’s green, tree-lined Boulevard Ring which encircles the city’s historic center.

Last week, Kremlin pressure on opposition leaders and activists intensified in other ways. University students were warned not to participate in the rally, and police began reviewing the finances and military service records of known activists and protesters.

Prosecutors opened a money laundering case against Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund, which has produced several investigations into government graft and corruption and has remained a steadfast voice criticizing the Kremlin. On Saturday, police stormed Navalny’s studio, where livestreams for his popular YouTube channel are filmed, and detained nine people.

In one case, prosecutors requested that a judge strip the parental rights of a Moscow couple who brought their toddler to the July 27 protest. The couple said they were simply out on a stroll when they ran into the rally.

Meanwhile, Russian authorities are propagating the idea that the protests were being supported by foreign governments. Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned diplomats from the U.S. and German embassies after both issued warnings to its citizens to avoid areas where the protests were taking place. Russia claimed the embassies were encouraging participation.

“We underlined that we consider the publication of the route ... as promoting participation in an illegal event [the protest] and calling for action which constitutes interference in the internal affairs of our country,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The protest movement has grown as more Russians come out to voice their frustrations over the Russian authority’s tight control over local issues . Ahead of Saturday’s rally, several leading musicians and popular culture figures publicly urged participation in the demonstration as a way of telling the Kremlin that “enough was enough.”

Many demonstrators said they were angry at the government’s disregard for their constitutional right to protest and to choose from a variety of political candidates for local elections. Public discontent has been heightened by the country’s struggling economy and Putin’s approval numbers have been shrinking.

“I don’t have much optimism for our country,” said Ira Zavaleeva, 30, a freelance photographer and media producer from Moscow who stood in the rain Saturday with a group of friends, some holding small Russian flags. “I don’t see any positive changes coming any time soon. Many of my friends have already left Russia for elsewhere. I will also, if I get a chance.”

Zavaleeva said she and her friends came to the rally despite believing that it would not result in a reversal of the government’s decision to ban the opposition candidates from the September ballot. But perhaps if enough people come to the streets, they said, the government would at least recognize that people want something very different from the government.

“We know it can’t change everything, but still … you can’t just sit around and do nothing. We’ve got to do at least this,” said Maria Anishchenko.

Demonstrations in support of Moscow’s protests were also held in several other Russian cities, including St. Petersburg.

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Sabra Ayres covers Russia and the former Soviet Union for the Los Angeles Times.

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Vehicle & travel allowances in the Electrical Award

The vehicle and travel allowances paid to an employee depend on:

  • where they start and finish work
  • if they’re offered transport by the employer
  • if they make their own way to work.

Start and finish at registered office or depot

Employees who start and finish work at their employer’s registered office or depot don’t get paid the motor vehicle allowance, travel time allowance or the start and/or finish on job allowances.

Motor allowance

Employees asked to use their own vehicle for work are paid a motor allowance of $0.91 per kilometre. An example of this is travelling between work sites.

Starting and/or finishing work at a job site

Motor vehicle allowance.

Employees who agree with their employer to use their own vehicle are paid a motor vehicle allowance of $0.91 per kilometre for the distance they travel:

  • between their employer’s depot and job sites
  • to or from distant work
  • when they’re called back to the job to work overtime
  • that is more than the distance they usually travel from their home to their employer’s workshop or depot when the job site is more than 50 kilometres from their employer’s registered office or depot.

Travel time allowance

Employees are paid a travel time allowance of $6.77 each day they present themselves for work. The allowance is also paid on rostered days off. Apprentices are paid their apprentice percentage of this allowance.

Start and/or finish on the job allowances

Employees are paid the start and/or finish on the job allowances depending on how far the job site is away from the employer’s registered office or depot.

Less than 50 kilometres from the registered office or depot

When employees start and/or finish work on the job site, they’re paid:

  • $22.02 per day when the employer doesn’t offer transport free of charge, or
  • $3.95 per day if employer offers transport free of charge.

More than 50 kilometres from the registered office or depot

When employees start and/or finish work on the job site and their employer doesn’t offer transport free of charge, they’re paid:

  • $22.02 per day
  • their ordinary hourly rate for time spent travelling beyond 50 kilometres, with a minimum payment for 15 minutes.

Employees will also be reimbursed for incidental expenses actually incurred while travelling, such as toll charges. They won’t be reimbursed for motor vehicle expenses if they’re being paid the motor vehicle allowance.

When employees start and/or finish work on the job site and the employer offers transport free of charge, they’re paid:

  • $3.95 per day
  • their ordinary hourly rate for time spent travelling beyond 50 kilometres.

All rates contained in this article are current as at the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2022.

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Printed from fairwork.gov.au Content last updated: 2022-07-01 © Copyright Fair Work Ombudsman


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