Expenditure Claim Process

From October 2016 the way you claim for eligible expenditure has changed, find out more information about the changes and how it may affect you.

In response to feedback from our customers we have been trying to streamline our claims process to make it easier to claim eligible expenditure with more certainty of financial return.

Customers have queried why some expenditure was deemed eligible under one programme and not another. Invest NI have established a set of expenditure policies that will provide clarity and consistency across all our programmes. Ultimately we want to make the claims process less onerous for you when preparing your claim and supporting evidence and for Invest NI when processing your claim.

You should be reassured that these policies will not reduce the value of grant that is contained in any offer, although it might mean a change in how you draw down your grant.

To facilitate customers managing their claims on previous policies we have given you:

  • Up to 31 December 2016 to pay for the expenditure.
  • Up to 31 March 2017 to claim the expenditure.

Examples of Customer claims

Letter of offer date Expenditure date Expenditure Paid date Claim date Policy application old/ new
November 2014 June 2016 September 2016 December 2016 Old
May 2015 June 2016 November 2016 April 2017 New
November 2016 December 2016 December 2016 January 2017 New

The expenditure policies being introduced are:

  • Project Labour Costs
  • Travel and Accommodation
  • Acceptable Methods of Payment

If you are a University/Further Education establishment or other Public Body in receipt of a Letter of Offer, a policy has been introduced to detail eligible project labour costs and travel and accommodation expenditure. Please check with your Client Executive how this will affect you.

 

Project Labour Costs

Invest NI are removing the requirement for you to calculate the Gross Equivalent Hourly Rate (GEHR) when claiming for eligible project labour costs. From January 2016 we have introduced a Scheme Rate for R&D offers and from October 2016 we are introducing an equivalent rate through a Published List (PDF) for all other offers. Please note that for pre 2016 R&D offers using Gross Equivalent Hourly Rate (GEHR) you will revert to an equivalent project hourly rate contained in the Published List (PDF) ,if your R&D offer issued prior to 2016 uses Scaled Costs you will be unaffected. You will still be required to provide payroll records for vouching purposes.

We are introducing a ‘standard day’ or 8 hour cap on project hours to safeguard customers against the increased vouching requirements that arise when claims are submitted for hours additional to a ‘standard’ day.

You can claim for hours additional to the 8 hour cap but this needs to be agreed with your Client Executive prior to the offer of support being agreed and Letter of Offer being issued, you also need to be aware of the additional vouching requirements that are required to vouch payment of additional hours.

 

Travel and Accommodation Policy

The aim is to have simple and clear guidance as to which expenditure can be claimed by customers ensuring that grant can be obtained with proportionate effort. The tables below outline what is covered and what is not, so you can be clear on what you can claim for.

NICS rates are applicable to any claim for accommodation expenditure in the UK and Republic of Ireland. For Central London (i.e. 5 miles from Charing Cross) and Republic of Ireland receipted actuals for bed and breakfast up to a ceiling of £120 including VAT should be applied.

Elsewhere in GB and Northern Ireland receipted actuals for bed and breakfast up to a ceiling of £80 including VAT should be applied.

HMRC rates are applicable to any claim for accommodation expenditure outside of the UK and Republic of Ireland, follow this link to the HMRC website for further guidance.

Travel claims  
1. Travel claims:
Must be related to the project.

Evidenced by original invoice/receipt and confirmation of payment.

Economy class only.
2. Eligible Expenditure
  • Flights (including luggage & taxes)
  • Buses
  • Ferries
  • Trains
  • Car rental (basic rental cost only)
  • Arrangement/booking fees*
*The booking fee has to be for the specific expenditure being claimed for and not as part of an annual/quarterly invoice which may include fee for other non Invest NI expenditure.
3. Non-Eligible Expenditure
  • VAT
  • Seat allocation, additional optional premiums
  • Travel insurance
  • Mileage
  • Car rental fuel costs and other fuel costs
  • Taxi fares
  • Car parking
The only exception to the above is for specific rates that may be set for Invest NI arranged trade missions or similar events.
Accommodation claims  
1. Accommodation claims:
Must be related to the project.

Evidenced by original invoice/receipt and confirmation of payment.

Includes breakfast invoiced on hotel bill

NICS rates are applicable to any claim for accommodation expenditure in the UK and Republic of Ireland. For Central London (i.e. 5 miles from Charing Cross) and Republic of Ireland receipted actuals for bed and breakfast up to a ceiling of £120 including VAT should be applied.

Elsewhere in GB and Northern Ireland receipted actuals for bed and breakfast up to a ceiling of £80 including VAT should be applied.

HMRC rates are applicable to any claim for accommodation expenditure outside of the UK and Republic of Ireland, follow this link to the HMRC website for further guidance.
2. Eligible Expenditure
  • Hotel bed and breakfast
  • Tourist tax
  • Private rental* (rent only)
*The option for rental must have been agreed by the Client Executive / Invest NI during offer negotiation and the property must not be owned by the customer.
3. Non-Eligible Expenditure
  • VAT
  • Newspapers
  • Media services
  • Meals other than breakfast
  • All other food and drink (bar bills)
  • Extras (room services, cleaning, laundry etc)
  • Any other expense
Note: Accommodation is not eligible in training grants.

The only exception to the above is for specific rates that may be set for Invest NI arranged trade missions or similar events.
 

Acceptable Methods of Payment Policy

The aim is to provide customers with clarity and consistency through a guide to acceptable payment methods in relation to reimbursement of payment for claims. All expenditure must be evidenced by an original invoice and evidence of payment by the claimant.

The underlying principle is that the payment made is identifiable and actual payment is capable of confirmation to a financial account under the control of the customer identified in the Letter of Offer. The table below provides an outline of what methods are deemed acceptable and not acceptable.

Acceptable methods of payment
  • BACS transfer
  • Direct debits/standing orders
  • Any other electronic transfer
  • Corporate credit/debit cards
  • Company credit/debit cards used by staff to pay staff expenses (where staff are liable for payment directly and must claim expenses for project related activity)
  • Cheque
Not acceptable methods of payment
  • Bitcoins/crypto currencies
  • Cash
  • Credit notes/vouchers/recharges
  • Directors loan account
  • Escrow
  • Inter company off sets/journal entries
  • Over the counter trades/barter
  • Postal orders
  • Travellers cheques
 
Expenditure Claim Process - Frequently asked questions  
1. Why are you disallowing expenditure from my claim that was deemed eligible in previous claims?
The new policies are aimed to provide consistency and clarity for Invest NI Customers and staff. Some expenditure was onerous to provide sufficient evidence for vouching purposes and in many instances concerned relatively small amounts of money. The policies will ultimately make it easier for customers to claim eligible expenditure with more certainty of financial return.

The full grant agreed in any offer is still available, if you think the policies will have a major impact on your ability to claim your grant discuss this with your client executive.
2. What programmes are the policies relevant to?
The policies are relevant to all programmes where project labour, travel and accommodation costs can be claimed for reimbursement.
3. Who do the eligible costs apply to?
Eligible costs apply only to persons ‘employed’ by the legal entity to which the Letter of Offer was issued. For labour costs claims the basic pay for individual employees is vouched to payroll records, you must be able to provide these records for a successful claim. There may be a need to vouch basic salary / wage amounts to employment contracts.
4. What rate do I claim for labour if I have an R&D offer?
For R&D offers issued from January 2016 a specific scheme rate has been introduced where the Project Hourly Rate is expressly determined in the Letter of Offer. R&D offers issued prior to 2016 will move from a GEHR calculation to an equivalent hourly rate per employee from a Invest NI Published List (PDF). R&D offers issued prior to 2016 using Scaled Costs will be unaffected.
5. What if my offer does not specify a labour hourly rate?
Invest NI are introducing a Published List (PDF) that identifies the project hourly rate to be claimed for an employee.

The Project Hourly Rate for an individual employee is specified by identifying the corresponding Basic Annual Gross Salary band / Gross Basic Hourly Rate (but not higher than) and reading across to the column titled Project Hourly Rate.
6. What is included within the Gross Basic Salary Cost?
The Gross Basic Salary Cost of an employee is determined by the gross basic salary (including paid holidays) but before payment of shift premiums, overtime, bonuses etc. For clarification, the Gross Basic Salary Cost does not include Employer’s National Insurance costs nor any other employer costs (eg Employer’s Pension contributions, in-kind costs etc).
7. Do I still have to maintain attendance sheets for project hours?
Yes daily attendance records must be maintained for all hours worked on eligible project activity.
8. If I have a system to generate weekly or monthly attendance records – will this be sufficient going forward?
Records can be weekly or monthly but they must be able to break down hours daily.
9. Why is the restriction on the numbers of hours worked daily being introduced?
Capping support to a ‘standard day’ or 8 hours is to safeguard customers against the increased vouching requirements that arise when claims are submitted for hours additional to a “standard” day. This is extremely difficult to vouch when employees are salaried and the claim specifies they are claiming for additional hours to a standard day.
10. Can a cap in excess of the standard day be set?
You can claim for hours additional to the 8 hour cap but this needs to be agreed with your Client Executive prior to the offer of support being agreed and Letter of Offer being issued, you also need to be aware of the additional vouching requirements that are required to vouch payment of additional hours. Invest NI must be satisfied that:
  • The customer pays for hours worked in excess of 8 hours per day (TOIL/FLEXI arrangements are NOT sufficient for this purpose)
  • The customer has robust and sufficient systems in place to record and clearly demonstrate the payment of 'additional' daily hours
  • The customer must be aware of and is in agreement to the additional vouching requirements that are required to vouch payment of additional hours
11. What happens if I book travel at any other than economy rate?
We only support economy rate travel. The only exception to this is when specific rates have been set for Invest NI arranged trade missions or similar events.
12. What happens if I pay an annual fee to a travel company to arrange bookings/flights etc?
Arrangement/booking fees should be paid on individual Invest NI items claimed. Annual/quarterly fees are not eligible and should not be claimed.
13. What happens if I claim for preselected seats, newspapers and food?
These items are no longer eligible and will be disallowed if they are claimed as part of travel expenditure.
14. What happens if I claim for mileage?
Mileage is no longer a claimable expense and will not be reimbursed if claimed.
15. What happens if I claim breakfast that was purchased outside the hotel?
Breakfast can only be claimed if invoiced on the hotel bill, therefore other receipts and claims for breakfast outside of this cannot be claimed.
16. Are evening meals on the hotel bill allowed?
No, only breakfast is eligible.
17. What is the rationale for excluding taxis?
Receipts for taxi travel are usually hand written, paper based, and paid by cash. Claims for these types of transaction are the most likely to be disallowed due to the inability to vouch back through petty cash and payment records.
18. When can renting accommodation be eligible?
In order to be eligible, renting, as the preferred method of accommodation, must have been agreed, in advance, with the Client Executive as part of the offer negotiation.

If you have any further questions or queries about the policies and how they affect you please discuss this with your Client Executive.

Download the Streamlining Claims leaflet (PDF).

 

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