Itemised Ticket Receipts for Expense Claims

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by AndyCK, 17 Feb 2020.

  1. AndyCK

    AndyCK Member

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    Hopefully this is in the right place, apologies if not!

    I've recently purchased a 1st Class Single from the East Midlands to London, for a Saturday afternoon. I originally intended to purchase a Standard Class ticket (£30.50), but when I went to book the EMR website showed me an upgrade offer of an extra £5 for 1st class, with a tick box to select if I wanted it - sounded like a bargain, so I did!

    I'm travelling for work on that Saturday, however I now can't claim any of the cost of this ticket back, as the company policy is Standard Class tickets only for expense claims. As I'm travelling with a couple of big bags, I'm hoping 1st Class will be a more pleasant experience than Standard, and in this case am willing to pay the £35.50 out of my own pocket without claiming anything back.

    However, when travelling for work at other times, I may be also be tempted with a 1st Class upgrade at my own expense but would still like to claim the cost of a Standard Class ticket back, particularly if the cost of a Standard Class ticket is higher than £30.50. Is there any way to have an itemised receipt I can use for expense claims in this situation if I did upgrade? For example in this case if the ticket receipt was broken down to (as an example)

    £30.50 Standard Class
    £5.00 1st Class Upgrade

    I could then use the receipt to at least claim the £30.50 back in expenses, but not claim the £5.00 back as that is at my own expense.

    I do realise it's probably not possible, given the complexities of ticketing as it currently is, but wondered if it was.
     
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  3. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    At the weekend, yes, except it would be £12 rather than £5 for an upgrade.

    In the case of the fares you quote it's not technically an upgrade being issued so it would not be itemised or issued separately.

    So in this case your options are:
    - Work pay £30.50; you pay £12
    - You pay £35.50

    Edit: actually the above may not be available on the day if the Standard fare is an Advance fare as EMR don't officially allow Weekend 1st upgrades for Advance fares. In practice I am not convinced many Guards would turn your £12 down though.

    (As details of your journey are not provided the above post assumes you are travelling with EMR but this may not be correct; also depending on where you are travelling from, you may wish to look at a split ticketing site e.g. Nottingham to London was often cheaper on split ticket sites than EMR's own site when I last looked)

    Another option may be to obtain a Standard ticket and exchange it for a 1st class one by paying the difference; this may incur a £10 admin fee depending on retailer and how soon you make the amendment. This may or may not be practicable depending on what documetation has to be submitted for expenses.
     
    Last edited: 17 Feb 2020
  4. Grumpy Git

    Grumpy Git Member

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    Why don't you screenshot the webpage showing the £30.50 standard fare and ask work to pay you back that amount, (I assume they'll know you made some journey or other, otherwise you'd be absent)?

    I was working with a young employee of the principal that was contracting me a few weeks ago and he had hired the car. When we filled-up at the airport before coming home the self-service pump wouldn't issue a receipt for the €50 -odd worth of fuel and he was distraught as he told me that he wouldn't be able to claim it back.

    I wrote a simple email to his boss when I arrived home and he explained that it would be no problem, but the young lad would maybe have (wrongly) taken that €50 on the chin?
     
    Last edited: 18 Feb 2020
  5. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    If it were me personally, I’d purchase the Standard Class ticket on the CrossCountry website (whilst logged in) and print the booking confirmation showing the price paid.

    I would then ‘change’ the ticket to the First Class fare I wanted, paying the new higher fare & having the old one refunded. CrossCountry does not charge a fee to change tickets.
     
  6. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    That's an interesting idea.

    Other than that I think what I'd do is look up the Standard fare at the same time on the same train for the same level of flexibility, screenshot it, and put in a claim for that Standard fare but include the First Class ticket. I would be surprised if that was not paid in most companies. We are certainly allowed to self-upgrade so far as I know.

    That said, some organisations bar travelling in First Class on business because of a specific impression they want to project (even if it's cheaper). In such a case it'd be misconduct regardless of who paid.
     
  7. 35B

    35B Member

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    As someone who has regularly claimed for travel, my experience is that it depends on the employer, not the operator. My employer doesn't mandate itemised receipts, so in the OP's scenario I would personally just submit the claim with an unitemised receipt, deducting (if appropriate) any personal expenditure. This - as will be obvious - provides a loophole that can be used to claim for first class travel without declaring it as such; something that I have seen done (and tolerated) on certain journeys despite, strictly speaking, being against policy. Other companies I've known have been much more pedantic in their requirements for evidence to support a claim, in one case I can think of going beyond just asking for a receipt and demanding screenshots of the booking screen to "prove" that the chosen ticket was the cheapest possible for that specific journey.

    In the OP's situation, and assuming that the employer objects to paying for first class rather than employees using it, I would also consider only making a partial claim. If doing this, I would talk to the manager who would review the claim first of all, and then make sure that I provided reasonable supporting detail.

    However, as others have pointed out, some employers (particularly public sector) refuse the use of First Class on principle. This may be to be seen to be obeying a particular political agenda, or simply as a way to enforce a policy. If so, then I would take this claim on the chin and think very hard about whether I wanted to be seen to be cutting across my employer's travel and expenses policy in future. I have seen a senior management group from a government department waiting tamely in line for standard for a 3 hour journey, with the Permanent Secretary amongst their number - I would not have cared to have been of that department and observed in First... I remember, a good few years back, a colleague getting very clear "advice" about use of first class despite it not being specifically barred, because VPs were being asked to "discourage" it and those travelling in First risked being seen as extravagant in their behaviour.
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    FWIW, as a note, what I don't think is acceptable is if the company wants you to purchase a Standard Anytime instead purchasing a First Advance, unless you're willing to take on the chin without complaint or argument the need to yourself purchase a new ticket to get home if a meeting overruns. The company most likely offered to purchase you an Anytime because it wanted the flexibility of your return time depending on its needs.
     
  9. Journeyman

    Journeyman Established Member

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    This is the best way of doing it as far as I can see, and I've previously done it myself.
     
  10. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Have XC stopped charging the £10 where it's just Standard->First on the same train? I'm near certain they used to.

    But I might do that in future, it does make things easier. Only time I've done it so far was paying for Weekend First myself which does make it easier (or the very similar separately issued "Klassenwechsel" on SBB which is to all intents and purposes just an excess), and I suspect Avanti's £50 "Weekday First" offer (which is at guard discretion) is aimed at precisely this market.
     
  11. Journeyman

    Journeyman Established Member

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    I've done it by going up to ticket office counters and paying an excess, which I'm pretty sure isn't charged for.
     
  12. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    I think the real answer here is to speak to your employer about what they would consider reasonable. There are a few technical ways of making it work that have been suggested above but at my current work place and my previous (both charities to be fair) it was acceptable to submit a screen shot of the train you were booking showing the standard class price along with the first class ticket and then claiming the standard class fare. Much less admin involved than faffing with excesses!
     
  13. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    At a company that I used to work for, we were told that first-class travel was no longer permitted as they needed to cut overheads to restore the company to profitability. I was entitled to travel first-class, explicitly written into my contract of employment, but decided that I would play ball if it was for the good of the company. A week later, I spotted our MD and several directors who were visiting our office alighting from first class......
     
  14. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    That certainly applies to "ordinary" tickets (opens, off-peaks, etc.) but I am fairly certain that the OP bought an advance, and I don't think that you can excess them in the same way. Even if you could, you would probably be excessed to the current first advance fare, which could cost significantly more. Or be charged the weekend first upgrade, which again would be significantly more than £5 (and with some TOCs, weekend first can't be used with advance tickets). On the EMR web-site, you can frequently get first advances for little extra - and occasionally even for less than standard!

    As ainsworth74 says, the real answer is for the OP to find out how pragmatically his company applies the policy. One company that I worked for had a policy that all rail travel had to be booked by a couple of nominated secretaries through the company travel agent. After a couple of occasions when I asked for a certain ticket, and the secretary spent ages failing to find it, I was told to book the tickets myself and claim back on expenses. So much for company policy!
     
  15. Grumpy Git

    Grumpy Git Member

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    OT but relevant. Before I went self-employed, I had a company car and probably averaged 50,000 a year. It was overdue for replacement (@ ~3 years old and ~150,000+ miles) and the MD said the business could not justify replacing it due to the economic climate. He lived about five miles from the office and did not drive regularly on business. About three months later had new company car (his "old" one was newer than mine). I took great delight telling him he was hypocrite and that he could stuff his job up his backside.

    Best decision I have ever made as I took a £100K contract from under their nose a couple of years later.
     
  16. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    Yes it really does depend on the expense policy.

    Have you read the Advance Fare FAQ (a copy of which is in our Fares Guide)?

    It states you can upgrade a standard advance to first class.

    Also if the date and time remains the same it doesn't count as a 'change of travel plans'; a ticket office should therefore only charge the difference (£5 in this case). That said, it may be difficult to obtain from some ticket offices.
     
  17. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    I think the difficulty is in the wording of "the appropriate first single". I was told by one EMT (as was) booking office that I could only upgrade from a standard advance to the cheapest walk-up first single. I declined, as the price was exorbitant.

    And as I stated in my original post, even if the booking office does allow you to upgrade to a first advance, you run a significant risk that the price of the first advance has risen considerably between buying the standard ticket on-line and getting to a booking office to get it excessed.
     
  18. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    It's certainly true that you can't rely on ticket office staff being correct at some locations and also that the availability of Advance fares may change at any moment.
     
  19. AndyCK

    AndyCK Member

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    Thank you for all the replies and info!

    It was a 1st Class Advance I purchased in the end - it was the wording on the website that stated "upgrade to 1st Class for £5" as an enticement, and triggered the thinking about self upgrading and splitting the expense claims. As an aside, having not upgraded to weekend first for a long time, I also didn't realise the actual cost of a weekend first upgrade was £12, even though £5 seems too good to be true!

    I must admit I hadn't thought of that - I think they require some sort of auditable record of why the amount was paid out, and they may accept the screenshot as this, thank you!

    Interesting!

    It's purely to save on expense costs, which I definitely don't have any issues with.
    It's interesting though that this can open its own can of worms - previous companies I've worked for have had a blanket no 1st class policy for the reason of cost savings, even if it means in reality this can cause situations where you have to purchase a standard class ticket at a higher price. Many years ago, around summer of 2002/3 I think, Virgin West Coast had a special promotion on where I could travel to Liverpool from Milton Keynes for a work trip cheaper by 1st Class than any standard class ticket, yet the company's internal travel desk wouldn't entertain the idea of my purchasing a 1st class ticket even though it saved them money! One of the Directors paid for me to go 1st class on his credit card in the end, and claimed it back as normal expenses.

    Both great suggestions, thank you!
     

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