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Travel reimbursement…what’s the rule of thumb for when a client is considered out of town? Mileage, distance etc? And, what’s required to be covered? Been out of the traditional consulting model for a few years now…

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Typically what I’ve seen is: If a flight/train is required it’s all reimbursable, including mileage to/from airport/train. If you drive, reimbursable less whatever you’d drive for your standard commute. If you are sort of within driving distance and want to stay the night it really just depends on the project and your team.

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If you drive yourself I don’t think mileage is reimbursable but parking is for flight, at least everywhere I’ve been.

Per the IRS, “You are traveling away from home if: - Your duties require you to be away from the general area of your tax home (defined later) substantially longer than an ordinary day's work, and - You need to sleep or rest to meet the demands of your work while away from home.” Broad categories of travel expenses that are typically covered include transportation, lodging, and meals. If you’re using your own car, you can claim mileage (there’s a standard federal reimbursement rate that’s updated at least 1x a year), but that’s expected to cover gas, repairs, and wear and tear on your car. I think the real question is, who’s going to decide what counts as out of town travel or what expenses are covered? If you work for a firm, I’m sure they have policies on this. Likewise, some clients may have policies around what expenses they will and don’t pay for.

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Typically demons on your firm policy or what you negotiate with the client

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At Deloitte, anything under 50 miles from your assigned home office is considered local, but we reimburse for commmuting costs in excess of your commute from home to your local office.

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That’s definitely ridiculous. I’m running a project DTLA and my Irvine team members occasionally stay in a hotel that the client reimburses.

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50 miles away from your office that you are aligned to is a policy thing. When you submit resignation, T&E folks will audit this in all your travel to-date.

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As others have said 50 miles is the typical IRS cut off for things like meals and hotels. That said, clients typically bill it all as “consulting expenses” and not “meals” so it ends up falling into a weird area. But if you want real advice ask your accountant and follow your company’s written policy.

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I would typically say any distance that makes a daily commute highly burdensome (subjective, I know). Not really a hard and fast distance (e.g., NYC area north of Westchester or west/south of Jersey City/Hoboken would be out of town) as much as would it be easier/make more sense to stay in a hotel. Typically hotels, transportation (air/rail/car mileage, car rental and gas, Uber/taxis, public transit), and meals are covered.

This captures the ambiguity well. If I had to quantify it, I’d say travel time up to an hour by car, or 90 minutes by public transit, almost certainly isn’t out of town; trips over 2 hours 1way almost certainly are. If it’s borderline, you need to look at context, i.e., if the trip can take anywhere from 75 minutes to >2 hours depending on traffic, if long commutes are common in that area, if you regularly work very long days.

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So, for example, some of people consider Southern California to be one market. That means San Diego and Los Angeles are lumped as one. It has taken me, at times, up to 4 hours to drive home from LA. One would be crazy to think that San Diego and LA are within one local market?

As an EP I agree - I work by the number of cities you cross and drive time.

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Of its longer than your commute to your office, claim it

Check with IRS

I am talking to a company that considers So Cal to be one market. I can’t imagine paying out of pocket for travel for a project outside of San Diego.

That’s ridiculous!

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All our companies make millions each here. A 100$ gas bill ain’t gonna affect their EBITDA

Why would you submit gas? Submit the mileage!!

Thank you all. I am sure it will all work out. Too much competition between consulting firms to not be in alignment.

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