Mileage reimbursement and when does "time" start for you?

  1. OK, I am considering what sounds mostly like a great job that I would enjoy, but, and it is a big but, even though you receive your orders, etc. on your fax at home, and you go from home to the first patient, the company does not consider that "mileage" from the standpoint of reimbursement. They say the IRS doesn't allow them to reimburse until you are already with the first patient, then mileage reimbursement starts when you drive to the second one.

    I always understood that if you worked at a regular place every day, driving there was "driving to work." But if you drove, either from the office or your home, to your first place of business, and that place changed from day to day because of the nature of the task (it would here--admissions nurse), then "business miles" started when you left the house, because you were doing the driving as a work related task, whereas if you are driving to work, you aren't "at" work yet.

    All bets will be off for this job if it turns out the salary clock doesn't start until you arrive at the first patient either--they cover a large territory and I am not interested in donating both miles and my time....

    Any experiences you would care to share in this regard? Am I being too picky? (I'm still a little shocky from the last clowns I worked for--wound up buying supplies and some meds, as well as marketing materials, out of my own pocket and did not get reimbursed for those~!)

    Thanks in advance, all.....
    Last edit by chris_at_lucas_RN on Apr 22, '07
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    About chris_at_lucas_RN

    Joined: Nov '03; Posts: 3,081; Likes: 233
    RN/LMFT; from US
    Specialty: 7 year(s) of experience


  3. by   wonderbee
    I think this is an expansion of my "corporate, do they have a clue?" thread.

    In my company, and I'm guessing most everyone's, that first trip of the day and the last one too is gratis. It's your dime, your gas, your time and yes, it's based on the logic that we all have to drive to and from work. Also you might find that travel time in between patients is not counted either as it is not considered "productivity." You might want to look at my thread I posted a couple of days ago on this forum.

    Now being salaried it doesn't matter whether I work 3 hours a day or 23 hours a day. I get paid the same. So I'm really not worried though I'm always being harrassed about how to make it look like I'm more productive using corporate's definition of productivity which in essence is only what I do during the actual patient visit.

    It is very frustrating. Look before you leap but I think this is pretty standard fare. Now of course you could drive to your office every day first thing and then count mileage. You need supplies, drop of paperwork, etc. But who wants to do that? I put around 350 miles on my car a week. If I claim half of that for reimbursement, it's a good week.
  4. by   DutchgirlRN
    Companies will not pay you to get to work or go home from work just like if you worked at a hospital, clinic or LTC.

    We used to get time paid and mileage from the office to first patient, all patients in between and mileage back to the office. If I chose to see a patient before stopping at the office then I didn't get paid.

    If the office is closed then we did get paid from home to the patient and back home again. Now we only get mileage but it still works the same way. I always go to the office on the way out and the way home.
  5. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    Dutchgirl--there is a difference between commuting (driving to and from a regular place of business, like you describe) and deductible miles (which the IRS allows you to claim against your taxes as a business expense).

    If I were driving to and from the office, then no, I should not be reimbursed.

    But if my work day starts by receiving orders on my fax at home, and I am driving to the patient/client's home, then I am driving for the business, not to get to the office, and it is deductible mileage, whether they reimburse or not.

    It is not the same as driving to and from the office. If you are going to an office daily, probably when you hired on, you knew it was going to be, say 20 miles round trip. Usually reimbursable miles coincide with deductible miles. But company policy would dictate that. (I can assure you that the "IRS won't let me pay you to drive to the first patient" is hooey. Maybe company policy, but it's not IRS policy. Google it.)

    In this case, the office is 40 miles or so away, but that first patient could be 20 miles or 90 miles.

    Kitty, I'll go look at the "got a clue" thread. I was afraid it would also be "my time." I may wait a while to work, as I am not interested in donating any more time, gas, wear and tear on the car, etc., to someone else's benefit.

    Don't get me wrong, I am happy to drive to work. I'm just not willing to donate miles to a company.

    Thanks--I'll watch for more reflections as well, if there are any.
  6. by   DutchgirlRN
    Quote from chris_at_lucas_RN
    If I were driving to and from the office, then no, I should not be reimbursed. But if my work day starts by receiving orders on my fax at home, and I am driving to the patient/client's home, then I am driving for the business, not to get to the office, and it is deductible mileage, whether they reimburse or not.
    I see what you're saying now that I know that you are receiving orders at home by fax. Yes, I definately think you would count that mileage.

    I had 5000+ miles in 2006 that I was not reimbursed for. That company didn't pay any mileage. I was not able to deduct it on my taxes because I was paid by the company per visit and taxes were taken out as usual. I was told by the IRS that the only way I could claim those miles on my income tax would be if I had received a W-1099 from my employer. So they were useless to me. :angryfire
    Last edit by DutchgirlRN on Apr 22, '07
  7. by   NRSKarenRN
    general rule is: transportation expenses between your home and first business contact are nondeductible commuting expenses

    irs regs:

    [color=#661c80]tax topic 510, business use of car

    revenue procedure 2006-49

    publication 463 (2006), travel, entertainment, gift, and car expenses
    office in the home. if you have an office in your home that qualifies as a principal place of business, you can deduct your daily transportation costs between your home and another work location in the same trade or business. (see publication 587, business use of your home, for information on determining if your home office qualifies as a principal place of business.)

    examples of deductible transportation. the following examples show when you can deduct transportation expenses based on the location of your work and your home.
  8. by   Hospice Nurse LPN
    We are paid from the first visit to the last -- not from home -- for regular 0830 to 1630 visits. Now if your first visit is more than 15 miles from your home you get to count the miles in excess of 15. HOWEVER, on call visits are different. On call mileage is counted from home to home as this is your office. I always make sure my first (or last) visit is close to home during the week.