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Oddest expense claim? Toll booth crash fine

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 in Income Tax, Moneyville, Quality of Life | 0 comments

By: Sheryl Smolkin

Read this article and comments at Moneyville.ca 

It always seemed to me that I should be able to expense boarding my pets because they are a legitimate cost I have to incur in order to travel for business. But needless to say, I have resisted the temptation to ever try and get pet care and other even more obscure expenses past the eagle eyes of the company comptroller.

But others don’t share my reticence. A survey of 1,600 Canadian and U.S. chief financial officers of companies with at least 20 employees by Robert Half Management Resources reveals that employees try to expense the strangest things.

Here are some of the most questionable deductions the surveyed CFOs have encountered:

•    Cosmetic surgery
•    Lottery tickets
•    $12,000 family trip
•    A speeding ticket
•    Replacement for a cell phone lost in the office
•    Naughty movies in the hotel room
•    A day at the spa
•    Expensive meals without clients
•    Flowers for an employee’s wife
•    A wedding anniversary dinner
•    A fine for crashing into a toll booth

I can see how someone might try to come up with justification for expencing some of these items like “cosmetic surgery will make me a more beautiful, confident salesperson so I can sell more for you,” or “a day at the spa will make me more productive,” but we both know that neither the boss or the Canada Revenue Agency are likely to be won over.

I don’t know about you, but if I made a habit of watching porn on business trips, crashed into a toll booth or got a speeding ticket, there is no way I would want to share the intimate details with my boss. I’d gladly pick up the tab just to spare myself the embarrassment.

And given the economic pressure of the last few years and the tight job market, I can’t imagine why anyone with a regular pay cheque is trying to expense a measly $5 lottery ticket. Besides, this guy’s boss would have the last laugh if his ticket won the $30 million and the company could successfully claim the prize because they actually paid for it!

What do you think? Would you blow the whistle on someone who cheats on their expense accounts?

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