Accounting and Tax Services
Feb 07

Expense reimbursements: 2 options for physician employers

Like any business, reimbursements to physician medical practice employees for business-related overnight lodging and meals are generally handled in 2 ways: 1. under an accountable plan or 2. under a nonaccountable plan. 

1.    Accountable plans. To be nontaxable to the employee under an accountable plan and not reported on the W-2, the advance or reimbursement must meet 3 IRS conditions: 

·         there must be a business purpose (that is, the expense would be deductible if claimed on the employee’s personal tax return); 

·         the amount, time, use, and business purpose of the advance or reimbursement must be substantiated within a “reasonable” time; and 

·         the employee must return the unsubstantiated amount within a reasonable period of time. 

If these 3 conditions are not met, apply FITW, FICA and FUTA only to portions unsubstantiated or unreturned. 

2.    Nonaccountable plans do not have the 3 requirements for an accountable plan, so 100% of advances and reimbursements are subject to FITW, FICA and FUTA and appear on the employee’s W-2. In other words, the employee will have to take any possible business expense deductions on his or her tax return. 


About Reed Tinsley, CPA

As a top advisor to physicians, I help increase practice profits by delivering hands-on, expert medical accounting/tax support, practice counsel, and revenue-building strategies. Read more →