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Old 08-09-2006, 08:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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So this girl I know was talking to me, and it just didn't seem right.

She said her husband works for a company that makes them use their OWN vehicles for work. Ok... That's normal in someplaces.

So you need to be reimbursed for milage, and gas right? Well, I guess this company only reimburses $1.08 per gallon.

With gas around $3 that didn't seem right.. nor the wear and tear on the vehicles.

Then she said they don't reimburse for the tolls either.

That's when I said it just couldn't be right.

I'm not looking for a definitive answer here, but does that hit anyone else as just wrong? Sure he should leave and find a new job... but that's another story.


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Old 08-09-2006, 08:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes very wrong. If he is using his vehicle to conduct business , then the business is liable for insuring the vehicle when being used on company time, as well fuel and mileage. Unless he is 1099'd as an independant contractor. if that is the case then he can claim the mileage and fuel as a tax deduction. Although I am not a lawyer, it is something that the person should take up with his states labor department. One is usually listed in the blue pages of the phonebook. Specifically he should look for a labor law enforcement and violations department, they will explain the rules to him pretty clearly.
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Old 08-09-2006, 09:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Also, usually companies reimburse based on mileage.. that's almost standard.

We get reimbursed at $0.445 per mile.. which is based on a federal rate.

My insurance company won't cover me for business travel in my own vehicle.. so I rent a car for those few times when I need to travel to a site for work... but I'm fortunate my company will reimburse for rental vehicles.

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Old 08-09-2006, 09:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadawg
Yes very wrong. If he is using his vehicle to conduct business , then the business is liable for insuring the vehicle when being used on company time, as well fuel and mileage. Unless he is 1099'd as an independant contractor. if that is the case then he can claim the mileage and fuel as a tax deduction. Although I am not a lawyer, it is something that the person should take up with his states labor department. One is usually listed in the blue pages of the phonebook. Specifically he should look for a labor law enforcement and violations department, they will explain the rules to him pretty clearly.
Are you sure? I know plenty of folks who use their own vehicles for company use and none of them are insured by the business. And everyone I know who does this gets mileage as well as what gas they used for business (tolls too). But I would imagine that it would all depend on the agreement between parties. Lots of folks think they have legal rights to things they simply do not. Drum can tell you about this, as well as anyone working in NH.

Don’t get me started on what employers can and can’t do compared to what you would THINK would be covered by some sort of law, but isn’t.
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Old 08-09-2006, 09:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It's my understanding that companies do not have to reimburse for mileage at all. If the company does not pay mileage or pays partial mileage, the employee can then claim the unpaid mileage on their taxes, up to $.445/mile. I have never seen or even heard of a company paying per gallon. The company I work for as a building inspector used to pay $10/job within 50 miles from my house. But a couple years ago they gave us shiny new pickups and a company Visa.
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Old 08-09-2006, 09:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Agreed Sam. That's why I asked... it didn't SEEM right, but heck, I know it could be completely legal.

Most likely if it wasn't legal, someone would have done something.
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Old 08-09-2006, 09:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nunrleft
It's my understanding that companies do not have to reimburse for mileage at all. If the company does not pay mileage or pays partial mileage, the employee can then claim the unpaid mileage on their taxes, up to $.445/mile. I have never seen or even heard of a company paying per gallon. The company I work for as a building inspector used to pay $10/job within 50 miles from my house. But a couple years ago they gave us shiny new pickups and a company Visa.
According to the guy who used to do my taxes, this is why the gov't. allows you to claim "unreimbursed business expenses". Basically, if you spend money on something that is strictly work-related (ie: shop clothes, protective gear, use of a vehicle, etc) that your employer does not reimburse you for, you can claim a tax deduction. Sure, it's not the same as getting a valid reimbursement, but it's better than nothing.

States may have regulations regarding the use of personal vehicles or equipment for work, but I figured the feds put those tax loopholes in there as a safeguard to help prevent people from getting too badly screwed by their respective states.

Having worked as a field tech in the office machine arena for 6 years and 4 different employers, I've seen all sorts of arrangements. The first place I worked, I got a flat-rate reimbursement of $500/month. Except for the first couple months I worked there (note: leaky Mustang GTs make horrible field service vehicles), this more than covered my car payment, insurance, gas, tolls, even a monthly oil change (yes, I was packing on nearly 3,000 miles a month). Also, when time came for a raise, they'd sometimes up that reimbursement rather than give me an hourly wage increase. I think when I left, I was up to like $800/month, tax free. Yeah, it sounds legally iffy (and probably is), but I didn't argue. Every other place I worked had a system of mileage, tolls & maintenance or some combination thereof. I just hated keeping track of all that crap, though.
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Old 08-09-2006, 10:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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My understanding was that an employee could write off on taxes, car usage that is not reimbursed by an employer, based either on actual expenses or mileage at the federal specified rate. I don't believe an employer has any obligation to reimburse. The vehicle usage that is tax deductible is for travel to a place other than the standard place of employ. Going to work at your main office in the morning is not reimbursable. Picking up lunch for the boss, or going to an alternate office in the morning is deductible.

At my job, we are reimbursed for actual mileage, despite the cost incurred by the employee. When I drive my 74 Jeep and get 8mpg, I lose money to drive. When I drive my motorcycle for a delivery, I make money after considering wear and tear.

Some of our employees have reported to their insurance companies that they have a job related need to use their vehicle for work. They pay a premium on their insurance for coverage. This is not reimbursed. In the yearly tax guides that are sold, there is a whole section on proper travel expenses. Also consider, if you go out of town overnight, you can claim meal expense at about $30 if you are gone midnight to midnight, or 2/3 or 3/4 for partial days. This is in addition to vehicle expense.

You can write off actual expense (gas, repairs, maintenance while on the job), or actual mileage incurred (this amortizes any expenses beyond gas). You can document mileage with a simple mileage log. Any repair that is required during the course of work should be documented if using actual expense. I’m guessing tolls would be deductible in full either way, as a non-reimbursed employment expense. Blow an engine on the clock, you can probably write off the full repair on taxes if using the actual expense method. Insurance premium I have no clue.

I would recommend documenting all vehicle expenses for taxes. You might be able to claim mileage then subtract the amount reimbursed by your employer. Things change each year, so you can't just take someones word for it. Read the tax guides.

Note: In consideration of Wycke's post. Some local tech companies around here hire "independent contractors". Probably a whole new mess if are self-employed.

Last edited by PaintedRat; 08-09-2006 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 08-09-2006, 04:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Generally speaking, an employer would never be responsible for insuring an employee's vehicle, regardless of how or when it is being used, unless the vehicle is owned by the employer or unless such an arrangement is specifically contracted between the employer and the employee.

As several have stated, so called "private contractors" are basically the same as the rest of us with respect to the cars we use to get to/from work. The government will reimburse via tax credits to a limited extent (I am no tax lawyer!) so be sure to keep track as best you can.
I keep an electronic diary of my travels and every few months, my accountant (wife) will add it all up and then she submits it with the taxes.

Most everywhere you go in this country you will find that the state laws support a thing called "at will" employment. Notwithstanding various minimum employment standards that protect employees from abuses (40 hour week, child labor laws, workmans' comp, etc), most states will allow an employer and a prospective employee to enter into contracts of all types pretty freely. If you as an employee agree to a job which requires you to drive thousands of miles on your own wheels, then the state will not interrupt that right, your right to contract and sell your labor.

Only you can decide how much or how little "crap" you will take at a job.

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Old 08-09-2006, 06:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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A friend of mine is an employment attorney, I’ll ask her.

It seems however whenever I ask any legal questions the answer is always the same: “It depends on what state you’re in.” She’ll be able to give me a California answer, but California the law is different from New Hampshire law.
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