Top 3 Ridiculous Reimbursement Requests

Expense reimbursement is usually pretty ho-hum: meals, mileage, rental cars and hotel charges make up the bulk of requests. Employees submit expense forms (with receipts!) for all manner of expenses – some of which are justifiable business expenses, and some of which are most certainly not.

Top 3 Ridiculous Reimbursement Requests

1. Bail money

“A junior sales officer submitted a request for reimbursement categorized as ‘miscellaneous’…when I asked him for more information, he admitted he was arrested for public intoxication after spending four hours matching a distillery client’s whiskey knowledge and consumption and attempting to stumble back to his hotel afterward. While we admired his dedication to client relations, we denied his request to reimburse him for bail.”

–HR representative, large Northwest alcohol/beverage distribution company

Even if the reason you wound up in jail was because you were entertaining the Vice President of North American Sales at the rooftop bar of the Wynn and couldn’t decline his offer to join him in the water feature, your bail money isn’t a reimburse-able expense. Nor, for that matter, are traffic tickets, parking tickets, or other municipal violations incurred during the course of your ordinary business or out-of-town travel. Which may make you rethink jaywalking, even if you are late to lunch with the CEO.


2. Adult movies (or any other kind) 

“I’m never approving a request for reimbursement for Girls Gone Wild 14. Ever.”

–HR manager, mid-sized manufacturing company

Unless your in-room entertainment is a pay-per-view documentary about the industry you specialize in, it’s unlikely to be reimbursable by your employer… and you certainly want to think twice before submitting a request for adult films, which HR managers report seeing regularly on hotel receipt/reimbursement requests!

When you travel for business, you are entitled to reimbursement for your meals and certain other costs related to your business, but not your personal entertainment. If you entertain clients or business associates, those same expenses may be reimbursable (or, if not, possibly deductible if you itemize business expenses on your personal taxes). Otherwise, you should ask the hotel to issue you a separate receipt for your non-expensable in-room charges.

3. Weddings… and any other non-work-related parties

“Our client entertainment fund is pretty robust, which is why, I suppose, one partner thought that somehow we would approve a request to finance his beachfront wedding rehearsal dinner – which he justified because dozens of our firm’s clients had attended. Nonetheless, the request was roundly rejected.”

–HR associate at large California law firm

Mixing business with pleasure still doesn’t transform your personal entertainment costs into reimbursable business expenses. The general rule of thumb is that the business purpose of the activity must be substantial; while it’s possible your client-guests talked some business at your wedding festivities, it’s unlikely that business development was actually a substantial part of the evening.


An integrated HR system can help your business keep track of expense reimbursement requests and simplify the approval and reimbursement process. Contact us today to find out how a StarGarden HR system can help your business thrive.

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