Disburse vs. Reimburse

By Jaxson

  • Disburse

    A payment is the trade of value from one party (such as a person or company) to another for goods, or services, or to fulfill a legal obligation.

    Payment can take a variety of forms. Barter, the exchange of one good or service for another, is a form of payment. The most common means of payment involve use of money, cheque, or debit, credit or bank transfers. Payments may also take complicated forms, such as stock issues or the transfer of anything of value or benefit to the parties. In US law, the payer is the party making a payment while the payee is the party receiving the payment. In trade, payments are frequently preceded by an invoice or bill.

    In general, the payee is at liberty to determine what method of payment he or she will accept; though normally laws require the payer to accept the country’s legal tender up to a prescribed limit. Payment is most commonly effected in the local currency of the payee, unless if the parties agree otherwise. Payment in another currency involves an additional foreign exchange transaction. The payee may compromise on a debt, ie., accept a part payment in full settlement of a debtor’s obligation, or may offer a discount, for example, for payment in cash, or for prompt payment, etc. On the other hand, the payee may impose a surcharge, for example, as a late payment fee, or for use of a certain credit card, etc.

    The acceptance of a payment by the payee extinguishes a debt or other obligation. A creditor cannot unreasonably refuse to accept a payment, but payment can be refused in some circumstances, for example, on a Sunday or outside banking hours. A payee is usually obligated to acknowledge payment by producing a receipt to the payer. A receipt may be an endorsement on an account as “paid in full”. The giving of a guarantee or other security for a debt does not constitute a payment.

  • Reimburse

    Reimbursement is the act of compensating someone for an out-of-pocket expense by giving them an amount of money equal to what was spent.Companies, governments and nonprofit organizations may compensate their employees or officers for necessary and reasonable expenses; under US

    law, these expenses may be deducted from taxes by the organization and treated as untaxed income for the recipient provided that accountability conditions are met. UK law provides for deductions for travel and subsistence. Reimbursement is also provided for supply, day care, mobile, medical, or education expenses, as determined by the payer. Similarly, a university, academic conference, or business conference may reimburse the expenses of an invited speaker or attendee.

    Reimbursement is also used in insurance, when a provider pays for expenses after they have been paid directly by the policy holder or another party. This is especially relevant in health insurance, due to urgency, high costs, and administrative procedures which may cause a healthcare provider to incur costs pending reimbursement by a private or public provider (in the US, e.g., Medicare or a Health Reimbursement Account). Segments of the healthcare industry, such as medical device manufacturers, rely on reimbursement for income and produce resources assisting their customers (hospitals, physicians, etc.) in obtaining reimbursement.Governments may reimburse taxpayers in several ways. A tax refund reduces the net tax paid, such as income tax, potentially to zero. Taxpayers may receive complete reimbursement for other taxes, such as for Value-added tax due to low income, subsequent export of the goods sold, or not being the final recipient. A local government may use reimbursement to reduce property taxes for a favored organization or low-income individual.

  • Disburse (verb)

    To pay out, expend; usually from a public fund or treasury.

  • Reimburse (verb)

    To compensate with payment; especially, to repay money spent on one’s behalf.

    “imburse|q1=one sense, obsolete”

    “The company will reimburse you for your expenses for the business trip.”


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