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Reimbursement of expenses to committee members

By Frank Higginson01 Jul 2009

Many committee members willingly devote a significant amount of their time to assist their bodies corporate. However, they are understandably less enthusiastic about having to pay for the fax, phone, travel and mailing expenses associated with their role.

Accordingly, we are often asked whether a committee member can be reimbursed for the expenses they incur in their role.

S.43 of the Body Corporate and Community Management (Standard Module) Regulation 2008 provides that committee members who incur ‘out of pocket’ expenses in the course of their role can seek reimbursement of their expenses.

Attending a committee meeting – smaller claims

A committee may approve payments of up to $50 for expenses incurred by any one member in attending a committee meeting, providing the reimbursement to that member does not exceed $300 in a 12 month period.

The reimbursement can only relate to the costs of attending a meeting. The committee cannot reimburse a member for expenses for any other matters (ie phone calls about other body corporate issues). These other types of expenses require general meeting approval.

General claims and attending a committee meeting – larger claims

The approval of the owners at a general meeting must be sought where a member:

  • claims over $50 for attending a meeting (ie accommodation, meal or travel expenses) or over $300 in a year; or
  • claims reimbursement of: expenses (such as phone calls); an allowance; or remuneration.

In order to validly reimburse the member, the owners need to be provided with:

  • detailed information about the amounts claimed (a tax invoice, phone account with the relevant calls identified, start and end points of a trip etc); and
  • an explanation as to why the expense was incurred.

There is no limit on the amounts that can be claimed.

While s.43 also permits an allowance or remuneration to be paid, we are not aware of such payments ever being approved.