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“Want Me to Add $5 to Help Screw Over The Man?”

One of the strangest part of doing expense reports for work trips are my taxi cab receipts.

Everything else I do for work gets a professional looking, official receipt, whereas for taxis, I’m still handed a piece of photo copied paper to write in the amount I spent.

For a system where your entire trip is recorded and metered, this seems bizarre to me.  And easy to manipulate.

In fact, I was recently in a cab for a work trip where I asked for a receipt and the taxi driver actually asked me, “Want me to add $5 to help screw over the man?”

This was slightly less subtle than the cab drivers who ask me how much I want them to write on the receipt.  (Which, having a taxi driver write in an amount is rare!)

When I’m writing in the amount myself and the taxi ride was more expensive than usual, I feel uneasy about writing in the correct amount.  It’s not that I think my employer won’t believe me if I explain, but it does look weird to suddenly have a series of $30 receipts and then a $60 receipt for the same distance on another day.

I’ve also supervised people who travel for work.  And I’m lucky to have people who are very trust-worthy.  But this system makes it really easy to rip off your employer.

When trying to search for taxi receipt laws, my first results were:  1.  A discussion with people about which taxi cab websites have download-able receipts and how to take public transportation and then estimate how much your cab would have been.  2.  A website where you can generate taxi and restaurant receipts for the town you were in.

taxi#1 might not seem so bad to people since the employer was willing to pay for a taxi and the employee took the more “arduous” route of travel.  But when I’m letting employees take taxis, it is so they can be less tired for their meetings and be more productive on the road.  This would defeat that whole purpose.  And it’s ripping the company off.

This is fraud, flat out, but a fraud that would be hard to prove. Which makes me more comfortable with things like UberX because it shows the fare and exactly where the person went.  It’s hard to game.

Some places do require taxi drivers to give out receipts printed from their machines.  And this can cut down on fraud.

But what do you think?

Is this type of fraud a big deal, or something that just tends to happen?

 

Lost your receipt and want to find it again?  Check out my guide for that.

 

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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7 comments

  1. You’d be surprised how many people commit expense fraud. I probably caught a couple dozen people engaging in it when I supervised accounting for a corporate group with 200-300 travelers at any given time. The ones I caught did really stupid things though. One turned in the same blank taxi receipt for a half dozen different cities over three months (generic cab company name, same 555-xxxx number). We only caught it because we pulled his file and were flipping through receipts to help resolve a billing issue for a project. Another bought a book of generic order pad/receipts (like you’d see in a diner) and turned in meal receipts (always right at the expense limit) for several weeks but used different restaurant names/cities on them. His mistake was that he used them all in sequential order with the printed numbers.

  2. I don’t consider it fraud on my part, but many times I have been on business trips where I get to the end of a trip and half my taxi receipts are blank and frankly I don’t remember all the amounts so I end up guesstimating (some were probably in favor of the employer and some were in my favor) One of the reasons I love Uber so much is it helps me actually remember how much I spend on car service.

  3. I heard a story of a person traveling for work regularly, he wound up renting an apartment and buying a used car – but kept sending in receipts for air/hotel/car – just editing the dates. Of course the story goes that he was caught and terminated, but likely had some delusion that he was not doing anything wrong. I much prefer a direct bill and corporate card system, less paperwork and no ambiguity about where the money was spent.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      With these stories about real crazy things people went through to do this–it makes me wonder how many throw in an extra $5 or $10.

  4. As a former HR guy, I can’t even count how many fraudulent resumes I flagged (sorry, rejectees) to hiring managers for listing degrees and experience that didn’t really happen. “I got a degree here in this, then” or “I managed that”.

    Word of advice: clever phrasing still falls apart. Sorry to sound like mom, but honesty truly is the best policy.

  5. Uber offers corporate accounts that can be synced with employee devices so that work trips can be direct billed to the employer..Easy way to reduce fraud and often save some money, too.

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