Keeping receipts for business expenses is essential for their reimbursement. Whether it is for a lump-sum allowance or the reimbursement of actual expenses, these receipts allow the employee to benefit from the employer’s coverage, and the employer to justify the allowances in order to comply with the legal framework for contributions exemption. Keeping proof of payment for transportation, meals, and lodging is not only a matter of trust between the employee and employer: the company may have to present these documents in the event of a URSSAF audit, in which case they are crucial accounting documents that prove the conformity of both the expense and the exempted allowances to which it gave rise. Today Notilus reminds you of the rules and exceptions in this matter.
Expense report: what is the rule?
Proof of payment can be an invoice or a receipt, in paper or electronic format, as long as the document includes the following:
- The identity of the supplier/dealer,
- The date on which the expense was incurred,
- The description of the purchase/expense,
- The VAT, if applicable.
In some cases, the name of the company and the name of the employee must also appear.
As a general rule, a receipt or a sales slip holds the same legal value as a business expense report. Depending on whether or not the company has a digital expense management platform, it may be necessary to print dematerialized receipts.
Special cases for some expense receipts
Some types of expenses require that the receipt include additional information. Otherwise, the reimbursement may be refused by the company for non-compliance with the requirements of the tax authorities.
Actual mileage expenses
Claims for reimbursement of actual mileage expenses must be manually submitted by the employee unless the company has a telematics application that makes the calculations automatically. The manual receipt will include a reconstruction of the itinerary as well as the following mandatory information:
Reason for the trip,
Names and addresses of the places visited (training centres, partner companies, company sites, customers, etc.),
Fiscal horsepower of the vehicle used, with a copy of the vehicle registration document.
All additional documents that demonstrate the reality of the trip and its conformity should be included in the file, such as toll tickets, gas station receipts, etc.
With our OCR, all fields such as VAT, currency or amount are automatically detected. With the electronic archiving, your expense receipts are stored in a secure cloud, no more paper.
When an employee travels for business reasons, his or her transportation expenses are also reimbursed by the employer and this reimbursement is exempt from contributions provided that it is justified with train or plane tickets, car rental invoice, or, in the case of a company vehicle, toll tickets and fuel receipts.
Meal or Guest Expenses
When a public relations officer, sales representative, or any other department of a company invites a client or a partner from outside the company to a restaurant for business reasons (business dinner, commercial gesture, etc.), the expenses may be covered by the company if they fall within its expense report policy. In this case, the receipt should include:
The name of the client/guest partner,
The name of their company,
His/her position within the company
Names of other colleagues present, if any
The purpose of this information is to justify the meal from a professional point of view, which can be for network development, customer loyalty, contract signing, etc.
The receipts for expenses related to accommodation, in the context of a business trip or training, must also include certain additional information:
The number of nights booked,
The category of the room,
Additional expenses if their reimbursement is provided for by the company’s expense policy.
The travel that generates these accommodation expenses must itself be justified from a professional standpoint and the distance from home or the usual place of work must also be documented.
What is the difference between a receipt and an invoice?
If a receipt contains all the necessary information for the reimbursement of expenses, what is the actual difference with an invoice? It is often wrongly believed that an invoice is a more complete document than a receipt, by virtue of it being nominative and more detailed. In reality, the difference lies elsewhere: the receipt attests to the payment of the service, while the invoice attests to the delivery of the service. An invoice does not prove that payment has been made unless it expressly states so. A credit card receipt, on the other hand, contains too little information to constitute, on its own, proof of payment for business expenses, although an exception can be made for credit card receipts issued by self-service fuel stations.
What should I do if I lose my expense report?
When the employee cannot provide a receipt for his expenses, because he has lost it, was not provided with one, or because his receipt is illegible, there are different ways to react:
Systematically refuse expense reports without supporting documents, despite the employee’s evident good faith, or
Accept alternative proofs such as sworn statements, duplicates, bank statements, and credit card receipts.
The last solution must remain exceptional for two reasons: on the one hand, because it is time-consuming for the administrative services; on the other hand, because it exposes the company to the risk of a tax reassessment if it occurs repeatedly.
Only a strict expense report management can prevent the employer from being at fault with tax authorities.
Our solution is dedicated to the moblity management. In addition to the expense reports management you can plan, book and track your business trips. It is also possible to manage your car fleet.