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Thread: Ethical Dilemma

  1. #1
    Hillary 2016
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    Ethical Dilemma

    Usually my ethical dilemmas have something to do with how hard to kick couch in the beanbag. This one is a little bit different.

    I started a new job in July. This job offers mileage reimbursement. The policy says the reimbursement is for "miles traveled while performing job duties." There is no mention of driving or a car in policy. Since I use a bike for most trips, is it ethical to accept reimbursement?

    At the job interview, I specifically asked about using a bike for travel. I was told that I get an hour for lunch and thirty minutes in breaks. How and when I use that time is up to me. I took that to mean if it took under 90 minutes to travel by bike I was OK.

    Just so we are clear, I am not asking if this is right by policy. It is. I am asking if it is ethically right to accept this money when the intention is to reimburse people for gas and maintenance.

  2. #2
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    I assume when you present your reimbursement request the HR person would thank you for pointing out the ambiguity in the letter of their policy and revise it on the spot. Will you argue to be grandfathered in?

  3. #3
    Chepooka StupidlyBrave's Avatar
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    I think not. This is largely controlled by the IRS which omits bicycles in the description of mileage reimbursement.

    This is something that should probably change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hillary 2016 View Post
    Usually my ethical dilemmas have something to do with how hard to kick couch in the beanbag. This one is a little bit different.

    I started a new job in July. This job offers mileage reimbursement.
    The policy says the reimbursement is for "miles traveled while performing job duties." There is no mention of driving or a car in policy. Since I use a bike for most trips, is it ethical to accept reimbursement? At the job interview, I specifically asked about using a bike for travel. I was told that I get an hour for lunch and thirty minutes in breaks. How and when I use that time is up to me. I took that to mean if it took under 90 minutes to travel by bike I was OK.

    Just so we are clear, I am not asking if this is right by policy. It is. I am asking if it is ethically right to accept this money when the intention is to reimburse people for gas and maintenance.
    were you both talking about the same thing? it seems they will reimburse you for use during work and then when asked if you could use your bike they menntioned on your breaks.

  5. #5
    Blasted Weeds Tude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StupidlyBrave View Post
    I think not. This is largely controlled by the IRS which omits bicycles in the description of mileage reimbursement.

    This is something that should probably change.
    Huh, interesting, never really gave it at thought ... have a co worker who rides about 75% of the time and has been using his bike to travel to community sites, etc (of which vehicles would be reimbursed) and he has not submitted time - hmm - will take a look at his stuff the next time it crosses my desk.

  6. #6
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    You cannot deduct the standard mileage rate for use of a two-wheeled vehicle of any kind, motorized or not, or any aircraft, or any vehicle with more than four wheels. You must use the actual cost as your deduction, adjusted to the proportion of mileage during the year that was used for business.

    You must track, record, and save the receipt, for any costs you incur in the maintenance and upkeep of your two-wheeled vehicle, including using a DOT-certified mileage measuring device (sorry, bicycle owners - this means a factory odometer), or factory-installed hobbs meter on aircraft.
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  7. #7
    Blasted Weeds Tude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehidle View Post
    You cannot deduct the standard mileage rate for use of a two-wheeled vehicle of any kind, motorized or not, or any aircraft, or any vehicle with more than four wheels. You must use the actual cost as your deduction, adjusted to the proportion of mileage during the year that was used for business.

    You must track, record, and save the receipt, for any costs you incur in the maintenance and upkeep of your two-wheeled vehicle, including using a DOT-certified mileage measuring device (sorry, bicycle owners - this means a factory odometer), or factory-installed hobbs meter on aircraft.
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  8. #8
    Hillary 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jynx View Post
    were you both talking about the same thing? it seems they will reimburse you for use during work and then when asked if you could use your bike they menntioned on your breaks.
    I was using that to indicate that work is fine with my using the bike to get from place to place. As long as I put in eight hours of work, they are very flexible about what I do. I've worked with this place (not for this place) for a long time. They know that I use a bike for about 85% of my travels.

  9. #9
    Hillary 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehidle View Post
    You cannot deduct the standard mileage rate for use of a two-wheeled vehicle of any kind, motorized or not, or any aircraft, or any vehicle with more than four wheels. You must use the actual cost as your deduction, adjusted to the proportion of mileage during the year that was used for business.

    You must track, record, and save the receipt, for any costs you incur in the maintenance and upkeep of your two-wheeled vehicle, including using a DOT-certified mileage measuring device (sorry, bicycle owners - this means a factory odometer), or factory-installed hobbs meter on aircraft.
    Well, that explains it. I never thought something like this would be covered by law. Maybe now, I will point out that I will be saving them a bit of cash. The finance department already love me because I don't use their insurance.

  10. #10
    Blasted Weeds Tude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hillary 2016 View Post
    Well, that explains it. I never thought something like this would be covered by law. Maybe now, I will point out that I will be saving them a bit of cash. The finance department already love me because I don't use their insurance.
    What about the Commuter Act - for the woohoo $20 tax credit/month (hey it was voted in last year) from employers to employees commuting on bicycles? You ever try it - I have run into people who ARE receiving it. I approached my useless human resources dept with the Dean of my campus in my back pocket (I ride with him and many other professors on campus) and ... that was last year. We have a new college president now, may try again. Hey it's something, and I surely do take some wear and tear on the bike from winter, every year new cables all way round, brake pads at least to the back, rebuild bottom bracket -and now they say (although it doesn't look that bad) my back cassette is shot. Bike is 3 yrs old. Oh and tires, etc etc. Stuff wears in the winter from the cinder and salt.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehidle View Post
    You cannot deduct the standard mileage rate for use of a two-wheeled vehicle of any kind, motorized or not, or any aircraft, or any vehicle with more than four wheels. You must use the actual cost as your deduction, adjusted to the proportion of mileage during the year that was used for business.

    You must track, record, and save the receipt, for any costs you incur in the maintenance and upkeep of your two-wheeled vehicle, including using a DOT-certified mileage measuring device (sorry, bicycle owners - this means a factory odometer), or factory-installed hobbs meter on aircraft.
    This is an IRS policy not an employer policy. I provide on my expense report a map and route of the most logical way to get from point A to point B. It doesn't matter how I get there. Case in point, I have on numerous occasions taken a train from Charlotte to Greensboro with my bike. I pay out of pocket the cost of the train ride and claim the mileage. The accounting department is well aware of what I do as. So long as I can provide them with a logical route from point A to point B they don't care. When my employer pays for my travel expenses, airfare, car rental, taxi, etc..., I do not get reimbursed for mileage.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member skiahh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehidle View Post
    You cannot deduct the standard mileage rate for use of a two-wheeled vehicle of any kind, motorized or not, or any aircraft, or any vehicle with more than four wheels. You must use the actual cost as your deduction, adjusted to the proportion of mileage during the year that was used for business.

    You must track, record, and save the receipt, for any costs you incur in the maintenance and upkeep of your two-wheeled vehicle, including using a DOT-certified mileage measuring device (sorry, bicycle owners - this means a factory odometer), or factory-installed hobbs meter on aircraft.
    Not sure I agree with this. I'm in the military and they use the Government's standard rates for reimbursement, based off the IRS tables. When I travel, I have the option to use a POV (personally owned vehicle). There are several options for the type, each with different reimbursement rates. I can use a car or a motorcycle or an airplane. I can look up the reimbursement rates on military sites or the GSA site (http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/con...asic.jsp&P=MTT). Currently, it's $1.25/mile for a plane, $.55/mile for a car and $.52/mile for a motorcycle.

    But $0.00 for bicycles.
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  13. #13
    K2ProFlex baby! ilikebikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hillary 2016 View Post
    Usually my ethical dilemmas have something to do with how hard to kick couch in the beanbag. This one is a little bit different.

    I started a new job in July. This job offers mileage reimbursement. The policy says the reimbursement is for "miles traveled while performing job duties." There is no mention of driving or a car in policy. Since I use a bike for most trips, is it ethical to accept reimbursement?

    At the job interview, I specifically asked about using a bike for travel. I was told that I get an hour for lunch and thirty minutes in breaks. How and when I use that time is up to me. I took that to mean if it took under 90 minutes to travel by bike I was OK.

    Just so we are clear, I am not asking if this is right by policy. It is. I am asking if it is ethically right to accept this money when the intention is to reimburse people for gas and maintenance.

    gas = food, maintenance = maintenence, you have to eat to keep your strenth up, and you have to keep your bike in tip top if you want to get to and from work right? don't sweat it, it's legit.
    You see, their morals, their code...it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these...These "civilized" people...they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve

  14. #14
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    this thread is not ****** in the least. this makes me confused.
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    I hate this thread.

    Couch
    This thread needs more Chipcom!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    this thread is not ****** in the least. this makes me confused.
    Don't worry, it's ****** my friend.

    Couch
    This thread needs more Chipcom!

  17. #17
    K2ProFlex baby! ilikebikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    this thread is not ****** in the least. this makes me confused.
    [IMG]http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y167/stumpyspic/******.jpg[/IMG]

    ****!
    You see, their morals, their code...it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these...These "civilized" people...they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve

  18. #18
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    if that is hillary, he needs a new hair cut and style.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  19. #19
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    Based on my limited understanding of the tax law...

    Your company can reimburse for whatever they want to reimburse you for. However, if it is not an allowable IRS reimbursement (for example car mileage, train fare etc) then it should be reported as taxable income.

    Another example is that when I relocated, I received reimbursement for the move, and also a tax allowance to offset the taxes on the moving expenses... In other words, my taxable income that year included my moving costs, plus the allowance... I paid taxes on my salary, the moving expense reimbursement and the tax allowance.
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    Its been years since I got reimbursed for travel but back when I did they never required any real proof, i.e they didn't ask for any before or after odometer readings, they just asked for the total miles driven. There were times when I would detour on the return home and explore things in the area I was sent to so I would just go to a mapping site (I think mapquest was the one then) and plot the route from the office to the customer then use that mileage. As long as I was pretty close to what other employees returned for the same drive everything came out Ok. So how woould the IRS know what kind of vehicle was being used for the transporation?

  21. #21
    T-Shirt Guy ehidle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh View Post
    Not sure I agree with this.
    Probably because we're talking about two different things. Deductions and reimbursement are separate animals. The GSA sets the reimbursement rate for their employees, just as most companies do. The IRS says what is deductible.

    Generally, a company will reimburse an employee at the same rate as the deduction to make the employee's taxes easier. If the company reimburses at a greater rate, the employee must report the difference as income. If the employer reimburses below the rate, the employee can sometimes claim an unreimbursed business expense (and sometimes they cannot).

    The GSA is required by law to set reimbursement rates for A/C and motorcycles, even though the IRS does not allow standard mileage deductions for these types of vehicles. The employee may be reimbursed $1.25/mile for aircraft, but there is nothing in the IRS rules that says an employee can deduct that rate for the miles traveled.

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 5707(b), the Administrator of General Services
    has the responsibility to establish POV mileage reimbursement rates that
    Federal employees are entitled to when they use a POA, motorcycle or
    airplane for official business
    . To set the rates, GSA is required to
    periodically investigate the cost to Government employees of operating
    a POV while on official travel, and consult with the Secretaries of
    Defense and Transportation, and representatives of Government employee
    organizations. GSA conducted investigative reports on the mileage rates
    for motorcycles and airplanes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
    conducted an investigative report on the mileage rates for a POA to
    compute the deductible cost of operating passenger vehicles for
    business purposes.
    GSA analyzed the data in the IRS report and adopted
    the findings.
    (emphases mine - note the italicized section mentions POA, but not A/C or M/C)

    The data that the GSA uses to set reimbursement rates does not only come from the IRS, and the only information they do get from the IRS concerns POA - not motorcycles or aircraft. There are no set IRS mileage rates for aircraft and motorcycles.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tude View Post
    What about the Commuter Act - for the woohoo $20 tax credit/month (hey it was voted in last year) from employers to employees commuting on bicycles? You ever try it - I have run into people who ARE receiving it. I approached my useless human resources dept with the Dean of my campus in my back pocket (I ride with him and many other professors on campus) and ... that was last year. We have a new college president now, may try again. Hey it's something, and I surely do take some wear and tear on the bike from winter, every year new cables all way round, brake pads at least to the back, rebuild bottom bracket -and now they say (although it doesn't look that bad) my back cassette is shot. Bike is 3 yrs old. Oh and tires, etc etc. Stuff wears in the winter from the cinder and salt.
    How does one approach an employer about this?
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  23. #23
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    I see no ethical dilemma, only question I would have, "Will I get caught?"

  24. #24
    Senior Member RedRider2009's Avatar
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    I think you should accept however much it costs you to maintain your bike...80 dollars for tires, and whatever else you commonly use, that is an expense to you only because you ride to work.

  25. #25
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    I sometimes use car and sometimes use bicycle when moving from place to place at work. They will reimburse car mileage but not bicycle mileage. I asked when I started.

    ...But they will let me charge my electric bike at my main site.
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

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