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West Sussex
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Invoicing of travel charges

Charges for travel are invoiced and payable on the same terms as other fees, including interest where applicable.  Travel charges are not “disbursements for VAT purposes” and are invoiced as “recharges” – see section 25 of HMRC's VAT guide.

Local travel

For hourly-invoiced work, we treat the first 15 mile driving distance from our Lancing base as a business overhead.  So for a visit to a client at a distance of 20 miles we would charge only 10 miles (5 each way).

“Regular travel” to client's site

Where a contract requires regular attendance at a client's site, a consideration in respect of travel costs is usually deemed to be included in our fee.  Travel and subsistence to attend the site is then treated as our business overhead.

Other travel and subsistence

Public transport fares (includes car hire) and food and accommodation during travel are charged at cost.  Private car mileage is charged at 40p per mile.  We reimburse our employees for out-of-pocket expenses, and Sealand invoices the client at cost and on our normal 30 day terms (except for larger disbursements).  Our employees are never required to claim expenses directly from a client.

Travel on behalf of clients

This is travel undertaken for a client as part of a contract – for example, when moving between client sites or attending a client's customers.  This is charged per “Other travel and subsistence” (above), plus a fair hourly rate based upon the following note.

Fair hourly rate for travel

During office hours (normally 0900–1800) – the hourly rate for the contract is charged.
Outside office hours – half the hourly rate is charged.
During “regular travel” times – there is no additional charge.

The reasoning behind this is that during office hours, travel on behalf of the client is at the client's discretion and is chargeable at the same rate as normal work.

The client can save costs by requesting travel outside of office hours, but there must be a consideration for this, or the client could request our consultant to travel at all hours at no cost.

“Regular travel” times are any times during which the consultant would normally be commuting as agreed in the contract, hence it would not be fair to levy an additional charge.

Long distance travel

Travel costs for longer distances are payable in advance by clients.  For example, our offshore clients book hire cars and international travel and forward the details to us.  Portions of long journeys that are more easily dealt with post hoc, such as short-distance taxi and train fares to and from airports, are treated as chargeable expenses and invoiced on the same terms as other fees up to a maximum of £150 in respect of each journey.

Larger disbursements

Charges in excess of a total of £150 for a single journey, including surcharges that become payable because of booking errors, e.g. excess baggage charges, will be invoiced as a short-term loan advanced to the client, repayable strictly within seven days if interest is to be waived.

These explicit terms were formulated after we had a client who requested us to make a fairly substantial disbursement, promising only to repay it in six weeks if we raised an “expense claim”.

Sealand is very pleased to be a supporter of the Open Document Foundation, Linux Mint, and the Lancing and Sompting Churches’ Food Bank.

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