Saturday, January 30, 2010

Expense Reimbursements

I used to be terrible about submitting my expense reimbursements on time. As a matter of fact, my employer created a new policy requiring expenses to be submitted by the 15th of the following month, just for me because I would put it off for quarters at a time. So, thanks to the new policy, I'm pretty good about submitting them on time. I have to.

But now I also have expenses to track for medical and dependent care reimbursements. (I'm talking about Medical Savings Accounts and Dependent Care Savings Accounts where you contribute pre-tax money out of each paycheck and then get reimbursed when you submit receipts for qualified expenses) My plan really couldn't be easier--you enter the expenses on a web form, print it out and fax it in and they directly deposit the reimbursement in your checking account within a few days.

Provided you haven't misplaced your receipts. I need a system. That's something I'm going to work on this year. It helps with the cash flow. And, for medical reimbursements at least, I actually can get reimbursed even if the deduction hasn't come out of my paycheck yet. In other words, I buy a $750 pair of glasses (yes progressive lenses for nearsighted old people like me are expensive!) and I get reimbursed for them before my savings plan balance for the year reaches $750.

One good thing is that my plan administrator has instituted a debit card for qualified medical expenses. So I don't have to pay out of pocket for co-pays, prescription & non-prescription drugs, and medical transportation and the like. But I still have to submit the receipts or else I have to reimburse my employer for the stuff I charge on the debit card. This should be interesting.

Another category of expense reimbursements that I am NOT good at is my volunteer expenses. The youth organization for which I volunteer owes me hundreds of dollars because I'm too disorganized to reimburse myself for my expenses. It's always something: I missplaced the checkbook, or the receipts, or I'm registering for an event online that only takes credit cards.

This year I got smart and twisted the arm of another volunteer to be the treasurer. She will hound me for my receipts. And she will not lose the checkbook. (This is also much sounder fiscal policy...more than one person should have access to the money, and there should be checks and balances on spending.)

In the meantime, I still have to dig out the receipts from last year. They're here. On my desk. Somewhere. I think.

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