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How to Take Control of your Employee’s Fuel Reimbursements

Leen Shami

October 13, 2022

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Many companies require in-person meetings, site visits, or attending events. Whatever the business-related travel may be, fuel reimbursement comes into the picture.

What is Fuel Reimbursement?

In a nutshell, fuel reimbursement is when an employer reimburses you for the cost of fuel used for business purposes.

While other countries may consider this a travel expense or a mileage reimbursement, the UAE considers this a 'fuel reimbursement.'

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Why Did Reimbursing Travel Expenses Grow?

In a post-pandemic world, where many companies are going back to the norm of office work, it is common for travel reimbursement costs to increase.

The mileage reimbursement rate has risen with regular office hours, more in-person meetings, and less remote work. But that's not the only reason.

Due to the surge in fuel costs globally, it's no surprise that consumers are becoming more aware of their travel expenses.

The UAE alone has seen a significant spike of 74% in fuel prices and petrol prices over the last 7 months, indicating that reimbursing travel expenses grew.

Subsequently, UAE companies have seen a 38% increase in fuel reimbursements and travel reimbursement requests from their employees. Inflation alongside a post-pandemic world, fuel reimbursement expenses have become the most requested reimbursement category in the UAE.

A study by Bayzat has shown that fuel is among the most requested reimbursements category for UAE employees, with an increase of 18% in the average amount per reimbursement since January.

This indicates that companies and employees have spent more time managing and filing fuel reimbursement expenses. 

Unsurprisingly, the cost of average travel reimbursements has increased with the significant spike in fuel prices and petrol prices these past few months.

With Pluto's corporate cards, companies can wave goodbye to everyday fuel reimbursement expenses' pain points by issuing their employees fuel cards to keep track of their fuel expenses and travel reimbursement costs.

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Why Use Pluto Fuel Cards For Fuel Reimbursement?

There are many advantages to using Pluto fuel cards for business travel expenses:

Create unlimited fuel cards

Create and distribute as many virtual or physical fuel cards as needed for your employees, so you won't have to worry about travel expenses, mileage reimbursement requests, or having to reimburse employees.

Create fuel cards
Create Fuel Cards on Pluto's Platform

Set limits on fuel cards

Create fuel cards for employees with daily, weekly, or monthly spending limits to keep track of employees' fuel expenses.

Set Custom Limits on Fuel Cards

Track fuel expenses in real-time

Expense tracking in real-time
Real-time Transactional Data

It's essential to keep track of what is being spent and where. With Pluto, you can:

  • Get notified as soon as a fuel expense is made so you know who spends what, where, and when.
  • Keep track of average travel reimbursements' costs, travel expenses, and employee expenditure data to avoid going over budget on fuel expenses.

No more end-of-month expense reports on fuel!

Digitized receipt reconciliation

Whether your employees are using personal vehicles or company vehicles, they can simply make a transaction with their personal card, snap a picture of the receipt and upload it to the Pluto dashboard for fuel reimbursement.

Alternatively, UAE companies can issue their employees virtual or physical cards, and the receipt can be attached to the business expense by dragging and dropping it onto the Pluto dashboard.

No more searching through piles of paper receipts! 

Fill up your tank anywhere

Once you issue your UAE employees a virtual or physical fuel card, they can use it at any gas station in the UAE for business travel expenses.

While requested reimbursements for fuel expenses grew over five-fold over the past couple of years, there is a solution to make CFOs' and finance teams' lives easier; Pluto Card.

With Pluto, finance teams have an all-in-one integrated platform for fuel reimbursements, budget & spend control for business travel expenses, and fuel receipt reconciliation.

Fuel Reimbursement vs. Mileage Reimbursement

When looking for information about fuel reimbursement, another term that you may stumble on frequently is mileage reimbursement. While they are similar and sometimes interchangeable, they are not the same.

What is Mileage Reimbursement?

Mileage reimbursement refers to the practice of reimbursing employees for business-related travel expenses.

While it accounts for fuel, it also considers lease, vehicle depreciation, and other car-related expenses. This type of reimbursement is usually given per mile driven.

In some countries, mileage reimbursement refers to accounting rules and categories that help standardize expenses.

What is Fuel Reimbursement?

Fuel reimbursement, on the other hand, only covers the cost of fuel used for business travel. It doesn't take into consideration any other car-related expenses. This type of reimbursement is usually given based on receipts.

The difference between fuel reimbursement and mileage reimbursement is that mileage reimbursement takes into account all car-related expenses, while fuel reimbursement only covers the fuel cost.

How Does Fuel Reimbursement Work?

If you use your car for business purposes, you can be reimbursed for the fuel costs incurred. The reimbursement is usually calculated based on the number of kilometers traveled or miles driven.

However, to qualify for fuel reimbursement, you will need to keep accurate records of your travel expenses. This includes maintaining a logbook of your travels and keeping receipts for all fuel purchases.

To ensure that employees are reimbursed correctly, they need a receipt and an accurate logbook. Fuel and travel expenses can be included as costs, but you must show all travel logs if necessary.

What Counts as Business-Related Fuel Reimbursements?

Here are some examples of obvious and less obvious fuel expenses that you can get reimbursed for when you are an employee:

  • Traveling for a client meeting;
  • Driving to pick up anything on behalf of the company;
  • Driving to the airport to pick up a client or a colleague;
  • Going to another city for a business-related event;

Anything done to advance the business, big or small, is business related.

Is Commuting to Work a Business-Related Expense?

While some big corporations may reimburse you for commuting to and from work, typically, commuting is not considered a business expense.

What to Track For Fuel Reimbursement?

Keeping a gas log is one of the best ways to ensure employees are correctly reimbursed while companies have a clear overview of their travel expenses.

Last but not least, when you put fuel reimbursements into your profit and loss statement to apply them as costs (which you should), you must have a detailed log of travels - in case the tax authority wants a record.

Here is the main employee expenditure data that you should store in your fuel reimbursement logbook:

  • Date of each journey
  • Start time and end time of driving.
  • Purpose of the trip.
  • Kilometers driven.

If a company provides employees with company cars, this is all. But, if you're filing for fuel reimbursement while traveling with your personal vehicle, you will have to provide the following:

  • Brand of the car and the year it was made.
  • Average fuel consumption as per the car documentation.
  • Engine size or engine capacity.
  • Copy of car technical documentation.

Does an Employer Have to Pay For Fuel?

Most companies reimburse fuel expenses for employees who need to travel for business, but there might be some limitations. For example, a company may ask you to use its corporate Careem account for business travel.

Typically, if you incur the cost of fuel, your company will reimburse you as it is a cost tightly associated with the business.

Is Fuel Reimbursement Tax Deductible?

A massive shift for UAE companies will be the introduction of corporate taxes in 2023. With a corporate tax rate of 9%, UAE companies must keep track of all their spending. Fuel reimbursements fall under that category, as they can help reduce the amount of taxable income that a company has.

If you have a fuel reimbursement policy in place, it will help ensure that all of your employees are mindful of their spending on fuel and that they only claim back what they have spent.

Pluto allows UAE companies to issue unlimited fuel cards while centralizing the expense in one dashboard, so you can see in real-time how much is being spent and the number of tax-deductible costs your employees are making.

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