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Are You Getting Mileage?

Andi writes in:

I’m an Office PA working on a low budget feature film in LA. I’ve typically worked on bigger features that have their own rented production vehicles for me to drive.

Must be nice. I’ve worked on massive budget television series, and always had to drive my own car. Film has a different way of doing things than TV.

Due to the nature of this film, they want me to drive my own car for runs, which was fine until they told me that they would not pay for my mileage, only gas receipt reimbursements. My question is, is it legal for them to deny me mileage reimbursement if I’m using my own vehicle for job-related tasks?

I’ve racked up over 200 miles in the 7 days I’ve worked on this show, and if they are legally obligated to pay me that 57.5 cents per mile, I definitely want that.

I was surprised to learn that no, your employer does not have to pay you mileage, or even reimburse gas. Almost everybody does, because, come on, what kind of asshole doesn’t pay mileage?

Well, the assholes Andi works for, obviously.

This is why you should always check, before accepting a job, if they’ll be paying mileage. At the rates PAs get paid, your miles can be a significant portion of your paycheck.

Besides the fact that everyone fudges the reporting on their mileage sheet, mileage is not taxable. That’s because it’s a business expense, and technically, they’re just reimbursing you.

Which is why they don’t have to pay it. If they don’t, you can write it off on your taxes. In fact, if they pay less than the IRS rate of 57.5 cents/mile, you can calculate the difference and write that off, even though you got paid something.

Don’t forget to copy your mileage forms every week before you turn them in!

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3 Responses

  1. If you can’t get a production vehicle, you MUST get mileage. If you can’t get mileage, find a new job. Being an office PA is simply not worth it if you can’t get bumps from mileage, kit rentals and overtime. I am working as an office PA on a network TV show and my paycheck is routinely $300-$400 more dollars per week than my last office PA gig on an independent movie. The difference? Mileage, paid hourly and not flat, kit rental for my laptop.

  2. My last job didn’t do mileage, but bought our gas receipts off us. So what we ended up doing was we didn’t turn in our receipts until our tank was empty, so they paid for the gas we didn’t use for production, and we ended up essentially making money. But this is also after being given the okay by our coordinator. Otherwise, feign ignorance!

  3. I know a key high-level crew member who just had his gas receipts handed back to him by an accountant on a film production. The accountant said, “We’re not paying gas receipts anymore.” After 20 years in this business, NOW they’re not paying gas receipts on some film productions? That’s right. So, he took it like a man and saved the receipt that she had scribbled NO on… in black sharpie. He plans to submit it as expenses on his taxes. Welcome to Hollywood folks: the land of unpaid internships and no gas reimbursement.

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