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Paying Volunteer Expenses

It is reasonable for anyone who is volunteering to claim back expenses they have incurred whilst undertaking voluntary work. However, there are some rules and regulations regarding payment of expenses which you should adhere to:

1.    Volunteers may be reimbursed for the following expenses:

       i.    Travel 
       ii.    Refreshments taken while volunteering

2.    Proof of purchase

A ticket or receipt must be presented by the volunteer and copied/kept by the organisation for each claim. You must only reimburse the volunteer after they have submitted their receipt. These receipts must be provided to Northamptonshire Community Foundation with the End of Grant report.

3.    DO NOT pay volunteers a daily allowance, however small, not even £5 a day

4.    DO NOT make payments to them not related to expenses actually incurred

5.    DO NOT pay unaccountable round sums to cover expenses

IF YOU DO, your volunteers could be considered to be employees in the eyes of the Inland Revenue and the Contributions Agency, with the following result:

i. For the organisation: this means that the volunteer becomes an employee, entitled to the minimum wage, 4 weeks paid holiday and employer’s National Insurance may have to be paid.

ii. For the volunteer: this means that they become employed, will have to pay tax and employee’s National Insurance and may lose any means tested benefits.

If you provide volunteers with money incorrectly, you could be end up liable for large amounts of money at a later date.

For more information about payment of volunteer expenses or developing guidelines for your group, have a look at the following websites:

Inland Revenue

You can also contact your local Council for Voluntary Service or the National Centre for Volunteering Information Service on 020 7529 8900.