Expenses Policy 2013 Edition Part 2: Travel Policy. Financial Services & Procurement Division

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1 Financial Services & Procurement Division Expenses Policy 2013 Edition Guide to personal expenses and allowances when travelling on College business. Valid from November 2013

2 Contents 1. Introduction What you can claim for business travel What you cannot claim Private travel costs which cannot be claimed Foreign currency and rates of exchange Fines Travel insurance Health and safety when travelling Medical costs associated with business travel Extended travel (private travel) Personal business conducted during period of travel Public transport What you can claim Rail travel Classes of rail travel Booking rail travel Rail refunds Rail receipts Ferry, bus, coach and Underground Taxis What you can claim Mileage What you can claim Mileage rates Use of private motorcars What you cannot claim Page 2 of 22

3 14. Car hire Approval What you can claim Tolls, congestion and parking charges What you can claim Tolls Congestion charges Car Parking Air travel What you can claim Classes of air travel Air miles Airport lounges Baggage charges Group travel Approval What you can claim Overnight costs and allowances Hotels Room Rates Incidental Overnight Expenses (IOEs) Hotel minibar, films, etc Telephone, fax and internet charges Meals Breakfast Lunch Evening meal What is the difference between subsistence meals and hospitality? Rented accommodation What you can claim Staying with family or friends Page 3 of 22

4 Appendix A: Overseas travel insurance Appendix B: Contacts for enquiries Page 4 of 22

5 1. Introduction This part of the Expenses Policy contains information on: Travel in general Trains/Underground/buses/ferries Taxis Mileage Car hire Tolls, congestion and parking charges Air travel Group travel Hotels, overnight costs and allowances Rented accommodation Staying with family or friends Sections 2-10 give the rules for what you can claim if you have travel expenses and more information to help you make your claim. There are further sections on specific modes of transport or other expenses associated with travel. 2. What you can claim for business travel Travelling on College business You can claim the cost of business travel, that is, journeys away from your normal place of work while undertaking College business. You should claim any actual additional costs you incur, above what you would normally spend for commuting to work (which you cannot claim as a business expense). Always choose the cheapest and most efficient way of reaching your destination. Always minimise the duration of your trip, to the extent possible without compromising the objective of your visit. Section 9 explains the circumstances where you may extend your travel, but in these cases you will normally be required to make good any costs associated with private or family travelling. In rare cases, religious convictions may preclude travelling or working on particular days. The College will always endeavour to take such matters into account, but advanced discussions with the employee s line manager, to consider alternatives, should be held before travel plans are finalised. Page 5 of 22

6 The College has put in place a preferred travel agreement with Egencia for airline, hotel and car hire bookings, details of which can be found on the Purchasing website at: Egencia should always be used for travel bookings in the first instance and can accept payment for travel by use of your own personal credit card. Similarly Red Spotted Hanky is the College s preferred supplier for rail travel and should be used in the first instance. Details can be found at: 3. What you cannot claim Trading down of travel tickets, i.e. travelling by less expensive travel class in order to claim an extra ticket for a family member or friend is not permitted. The costs claimed for travel must be incremental. Consequently, if for example you have a travel and/or oyster card that you use for your daily commute you cannot use this card and then make an expense claim as you have not incurred any additional costs whilst travelling for the College Private travel costs which cannot be claimed Travel between home and your normal place of work. Business travel broadly similar to your normal commute. If you travel from your home directly to a business meeting outside College you should deduct from your claim anything you save on your normal commuting costs. This is a simplification of some enormously complicated HMRC rules on triangular travel, and how to define your normal workplace and temporary workplaces: Recreational travel. Hotel accommodation at or near your normal workplace. This applies even if you are required to work exceptionally late, when is impracticable to return home. In such cases, with the agreement of your Head of Department, the cost of local hotel accommodation should be grossed up and paid out through payroll (see section in part 1). Travel or accommodation for family or friends accompanying you on the business journey. If a spouse or companion does accompany staff on a trip the costs must be separated or apportioned appropriately. For example, if a single room costs 70 and a twin 100, the 30 difference must be deducted from the claim (or refunded to the College if paid initially via the College s travel agent). Page 6 of 22

7 If a spouse or children are accompanying staff on a business trip please note that they are covered by the College s travel insurance policy and are not required to make their own travel insurance arrangements. For trips where family members are travelling separately, or where the duration of the trip exceeds six months, they must contract the insurance manager before travelling (see Appendix A for contact details). 4. Foreign currency and rates of exchange Buying foreign currency is not a genuine business expense and cannot be claimed. You should claim for the actual expenses that you incur when overseas. However, any commission charges incurred when buying foreign currency can be claimed. See also part 1 section 11 for information on claiming expenses incurred in foreign currencies. 5. Fines The College does not pay any fines or fixed penalties or any administration fee charged by third parties for recovering fines. 6. Travel insurance You cannot claim for travel insurance. The College already provides cover for business travel. If a claim is received for travel insurance it will be rejected, except in the case of previously-agreed insurance costs incurred by non-employees. These should be approved by Faculty Finance Officers. Overseas travel insurance is provided automatically for staff and students travelling on College business. Details of the policy and a downloadable cover note can be found at: If you have an existing medical condition and are not travelling against your doctor s orders, this is still covered by the College s travel insurance policy, but you are advised to obtain a fit-to-travel note from your GP. 7. Health and safety when travelling Please contact the College s Occupational Health Service before travelling as they provide advice and vaccinations for staff and students when travelling abroad as part of their work or studies. For further information please refer to: Page 7 of 22

8 The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also provide advice and guidance concerning safety in areas of conflict. This may be found at: Staff and students travelling abroad are responsible for ensuring that they are not travelling against the advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. If an employee still wishes to travel to an area that the Foreign Office advises against visiting, then he/she must: Complete a risk assessment form obtainable from the Safety department. Obtain authority to undertake the journey from the relevant Head of Department. Contact the Insurance Manager to determine if special travel insurance is required as such a journey may not be covered by our existing group travel policy. Contact details for all of the above can be found in Appendix A. 8. Medical costs associated with business travel The College will reimburse claimants for costs associated with vaccinations and other necessary medical requirements for overseas business travel. Receipts for vaccination/other medical charges are required to be submitted with any claim. Please refer to the Occupational Health department for further guidance and advice. Over the counter medication (pain relief, cough medicines, etc.) are not reimbursable as these are deemed to be inherently personal in nature and not uniquely associated with business travel. 9. Extended travel (private travel) Extended travel are travel trips which include time spent on non-college business, such as earlier arrival or later departure. Prior approval (evidenced by ) for extended travel beyond the maximum days required for business purposes must be obtained from your Head of Department. It is also appropriate for the Head of Department to consider other relevant costs and factors against the savings in airfare, including the inherent cost of being away from the College for a longer period of time. The College will not reimburse the cost of accommodation, local transportation, meals or other costs in excess of the maximum days necessary for business travel or conference attendance. Page 8 of 22

9 The costs related to an earlier departure and/or later return for travel may be reimbursed when the total cost of the travel is clearly documented and demonstrated to be equal to or lower than it would have been for the dates required for business travel. Savings in travel costs cannot be used to justify the College meeting other costs (e.g. recreational trips) during the non-business extended days. 10. Personal business conducted during period of travel Personal expenses, as well as any incremental travel costs incurred for personal business during the course of a College business trip, are the responsibility of the member of staff or student. Incremental travel costs include expenses that would not have been incurred on the business portion of the trip, except for the fact that the staff or student conducted personal business at some point during the trip. Personal expenses may not be charged to College accounts, even if the intention of the staff, student or a third party is to later reimburse the College for these expenses. Reservations for personal travel made using the College travel agency (i.e. Egencia) should be charged to a personal credit card and not billed to the College. 11. Public transport This section gives the rules on what you can claim if you take any public transport while on business either in the UK or overseas. For Season Ticket Loans please refer to our Payroll section at: What you can claim Public transport journeys that is, those made on rail, bus, ferry, river boat, Underground, metro or tram services can be claimed. Always choose the most economical method of travel. For example, if you use public transport in London regularly, use an Oyster card rather than paying for single journeys by cash. The costs claimed for public transport journeys must be incremental Rail travel Classes of rail travel Rail journeys should be standard class. This rule applies regardless of the source of funds, including staff accounts. Page 9 of 22

10 If as an exception you do have to travel first class, an explanation must be included in the claim, which will be passed to the relevant Head of Department for approval or rejection Booking rail travel UK travel rail tickets should be booked in advance through our approved supplier, Red Spotted Hanky, and can either be collected at the machines located on the South Kensington and Hammersmith campuses, at the relevant station or by post. European rail travel should be booked through our approved business travel provider Egencia. Further details can be found at: Rail refunds In some circumstances you can claim a full refund for a train ticket you have not used. In such cases you are required to first seek a refund from the train operating company rather than submitting an expense claim Rail receipts Keep any relevant tickets or documentation and submit them as you would other receipts. If you don't have the necessary tickets or documentation, note this with an explanation in your claim. The relevant approver should be made aware that he/she will be contacted if there is a query. Ticket machines will provide receipts if you are expected to give up your ticket at an automatic barrier at the end of your journey. Claimants who have a rail or Oyster season ticket which enables them to use the underground can only claim for travel if they incur extra expense to that already covered by the season ticket and can provide a receipt as proof of the expense Ferry, bus, coach and Underground Ferry, bus, coach and Underground costs incurred whilst travelling on College business can be reimbursed with supporting receipts. If you are using a pay-as-you-go Oyster card for business journeys, enter the details of each individual journey, being specific about locations, dates and times and purpose of journey. Only claim for the relevant journey, not the whole top-up. Claimants who have an Oyster season ticket can only claim for travel if they incur extra expense to that already covered by the season ticket and can provide a receipt as proof of the expense. Travel cards purchased for business travel will be reimbursed, where it is more economic than buying several single journey tickets. Where it is more economic, due to the pattern of travel, single tickets should be purchased. Page 10 of 22

11 Ticket machines will provide receipts if you are expected to give up your ticket at an automatic barrier at the end of your journey. 12. Taxis This section gives the rules on what you can claim for taxi travel expenses What you can claim You can claim for taxi travel as all or part of a journey if you have approval from the relevant approver (see part 1 section 15). Before taking a taxi consider whether this is the most efficient and cost effective way to travel. It is generally acceptable in London only if there are enough people travelling together to make it cheaper than public transport, or if heavy equipment is being carried to another venue. Where staff are required to work exceptionally late (after 11pm) they may, at their manager s discretion, be reimbursed their taxi fare home. If taxi journeys are frequent or regular (i.e. more than 60 times a year) then they may become taxable, and should be marked as such on the expense claim. The College has a number of taxi service agreements in place where you can pre-book your journey. A car sharing agreement provided by Hertz for the main campus sites is also be available to staff when travelling in London using zero or low emission vehicles. Further details on how to book these services can be found on the Purchasing website at: 13. Mileage This section gives the rules on what you can claim if you use a car, motorcycle or bicycle for business trips. It also gives further information to help you make your claim, including mileage rates What you can claim If you are using a car, motorcycle or bicycle on a business trip you can claim a mileage allowance - that is, a sum of money for every business mile you travel. The College has standard rates for these allowances, depending on the circumstances surrounding the trip. Full details are below. You should only claim any actual additional costs you incur, above what you would normally spend for commuting to work (which you cannot claim as a business expense). Page 11 of 22

12 Only use a car if it is cheaper and more efficient than public transport. For the same reasons, share a car with other staff members wherever possible. Your claim should state the start and end points of your journey, along with the number of miles you are claiming Mileage rates Cars: the College pays mileage at the HMRC approved mileage allowance of 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles per annum and 25p per mile thereafter. Motorcycles: 24p per mile. Bicycles: 20p per mile. Car passengers: 5p per passenger per mile, payable in addition to the car rate above. If several employees are travelling together in the same vehicle, only the driver may submit a motor mileage claim (including the 5p per mile for passengers, as appropriate) Use of private motorcars It is important that you have adequate insurance cover for occasional business use, as your own car, bicycle or motorcycle is not covered by the College s insurance. You cannot claim for the cost of insurance, which has already been factored into the mileage rates above. If a staff member uses or allows another member of staff to use a vehicle on College business that is insured for third party risks only, the College will not be held liable for any of the following: Damage or repairs to the vehicle. Property lost or damaged. Personal injuries sustained or caused during or as a result of such use. If using your own car for business travel, you must ensure that it complies with the College s policy on motor vehicles, which can be found at: What you cannot claim Insurance cover for private cars is not a recoverable expense. You cannot claim for accident or breakdown recovery costs, such as AA membership. Page 12 of 22

13 The College will not, in any instance, reimburse fines for motoring offences. 14. Car hire This section gives the rules on what you can claim if you have to hire a car while on business Approval Obtain approval from the relevant approver (see Part 1, section 15) before you hire a car What you can claim If hiring a car is the cheapest and most environmentally friendly way of reaching your destination, book through the College s approved car hire providers at: The car should only be used for business purposes. Rates are inclusive of appropriate insurance, i.e. CDW (Collision Damage Waiver), TPI (Third Party Insurance) and PAI (Personal Accident Insurance). Please note that the College has its own fleet of approximately 60 vehicles, including minibuses, which are under departmental or Student Union control. Please check the availability of these vehicles before hiring externally. Use of College vehicles for purely private purposes is prohibited. Alternatively, vehicles which are commercially hired in the UK are can be insured by the College motor insurance policy provided the Insurance Manager is notified in advance of the hire. For car hire overseas you can also book through our business travel provider Egencia. When hiring vehicles outside the UK, the hire company s insurance should be used. The insurance cover for cars hired abroad (especially in North America) needs special care. Third-party cover offered by car hire companies is sometimes wholly inadequate by UK standards. Please read the hire document carefully, and if you are not sure, please ask the Insurance Manager for guidance. Similarly, where private vehicles are borrowed from third parties for College business abroad, the hirer must be satisfied as to the adequacy of motor insurance arrangements. Where there is an option to pay extra for better cover you are strongly recommended to take it. The College s insurance cannot bolster inadequate cover obtained externally. It is the legal responsibility of the driver to ensure that the hiring company is informed of any penalty points and/or changes to his/her driving licence. Page 13 of 22

14 Where vehicles are hired then expense claims should reflect the cost of the fuel purchased and used for business purposes, rather than the mileage rates which are claimed when a private car is used. Obtain a VAT receipt. Reimbursement of receipted fuel costs incurred whilst on College business should not give rise to any tax liability. 15. Tolls, congestion and parking charges This section gives the rules on what you can claim if you have to pay road tolls or congestion charges What you can claim Tolls You can claim for toll charges paid in the course of a business journey. Toll bridges or roads rarely give receipts, so make sure you give the name of the toll bridge or road in the expense claim Congestion charges The College will not reimburse the cost of any congestion charge for staff or visitors except in exceptional circumstances, e.g. where a member of staff has to collect/deliver equipment to a location and the journey could not be completed on public transport. This must be approved in advance by your Departmental Operations Manager. The College does not pay any fines or fixed penalties, or any administration fees charged by third parties for recovering fines Car Parking You can claim reasonable parking costs on business visits and journeys away from the office. You can claim hotel parking costs if they are charged separately on your bill. If you drive to the office as part of a business journey, e.g. to collect equipment, you can claim parking costs. Include details of the reason with the claim. You may not claim for the cost of parking at an entertainment venue. You can reclaim VAT (where it is charged) on parking fees which cost less than 25 even if you are not able to obtain a VAT receipt. The College does not pay any fines or fixed penalties, or any administration fees charged by third parties for recovering fines. Page 14 of 22

15 16. Air travel This section gives the rules on what you can claim if you have flown while on College business What you can claim You should wherever possible book your air travel using the College s preferred travel provider, Egencia: The lowest available fare should always be selected. The College prefers employees to reserve airfares well in advance and to book lower fares, based on non-flexible flight arrival and departure times which cannot be changed. Where there is a need for some flexibility in departure or arrival times, you will have to request a different ticket option. However flexible tickets for flights under three hours require approval by the Head of Department or the Departmental Operations Manager. The College does not meet the travelling costs of: o Employees of contractors. o Spouses, partners, other family members or friends Classes of air travel All staff should use the same class of travel: For flights of five hours or less, staff should book restricted tickets in economy. For flights lasting five hours or longer, staff may travel premium economy. Where a long international flight is immediately followed by a presentation or meeting or a documented medical condition requires it, staff may travel by business/premium class. This however must be pre-approved by the Head of Department. If an individual elects to fly business/premium class and cannot provide evidence to meet the conditions above, they will be reimbursed only for an amount equivalent to a restricted economy or premium economy air fare. The above rules apply regardless of the source of funds (including staff accounts) Air miles In general air miles (or credit card points) acquired by a member of staff are not taxable. Page 15 of 22

16 Staff will not be reimbursed for airline tickets, upgrades or accommodation purchased or partially purchased using air miles or frequent flyer points Airport lounges Annual memberships to airport lounges will not be reimbursed by the College, regardless of the source of funds. The College however recognises that there may be occasions where, due to travel connections, staff may be between flights for a number of hours and would wish to utilise this time effectively for business purposes. Where the waiting time at the airport between connecting flights exceeds two hours, the cost of accessing an airport lounge will be reimbursed Baggage charges When travelling by air, airlines may charge for a first or second checked bag. The College will reimburse that charge if the bag is needed on a business trip (e.g. when travelling with heavy or bulky materials, or equipment that is required for business). If the trip includes business and personal travel (in the case of extended travel) the extra charge used specifically for pleasure will not be reimbursed. 17. Group travel This section gives the rules on what you can claim if you are arranging travel for a group, e.g. a staff conference or student field trip Approval Obtain approval from your Head of Department before arranging a group trip What you can claim The same rules apply for each category of travel and overnight costs as for travelling as an individual. All travel (including coach hire) and overnight costs should be booked in advance. The College s travel provider, Egencia, provides a group travel and conference booking facility, where all elements of the trip can be arranged. This can be used for arranging a business conference, as well as student field trips. A block travel insurance policy is permanently in force for overseas travel on behalf of the College undertaken by staff and students. Details can be found at: Page 16 of 22

17 A copy of the cover note/emergency cover telephone number should be carried when travelling abroad. 18. Overnight costs and allowances Hotels Hotels can be booked via the College s approved travel provider, Egencia, for both overseas and UK hotels. Further details can be found at: When staying in a hotel, you should claim for the room cost, breakfast, dinner and relevant necessary incidentals against receipts (but see below regarding incidental overnight expenses) Room Rates The cost of a hotel (room only) in the UK should not exceed 150 including VAT in London or 105 including VAT outside of London. When staying in a hotel overseas, you should discuss your choice of hotel with your Departmental Operations Manager or equivalent before making a booking. Please refer to the Civil Service/HM Revenue quoted rates for guidance: The full day rates are intended to cover accommodation in a reasonable hotel (i.e. three star rating). If a hotel cost is higher than these limits, this should be pre-approved by the relevant approver (see part 1 section 15) Incidental Overnight Expenses (IOEs) (Previously Personal Incidental Expenses) Employees staying away from home overnight on business often incur minor additional expenses of a personal nature, e.g. newspapers, laundry, phone calls home, etc. Since these expenses are not incurred wholly in the performance of employment duties such expenses would not normally be allowable against tax. However, a special tax exemption permits employers to refund up to a fixed daily amount for periods away from home, without requiring details of expenditure or submission of receipts. The daily allowances are available for a maximum of thirty days. For longer stays please contact the Tax Department for advice. Please note if the following daily limits are exceeded then the whole amount becomes taxable not just the excess. The maximum daily amounts are: Page 17 of 22

18 Within the UK: 5 per night Outside the UK: 10 per night Claims for Incidental Overnight Expenses may be described on expense claims simply as e.g. IOE 9 5 = 45. When claiming IOE allowances, please delete everything except the bed and breakfast component from the hotel bill. Alternatively, if the incidentals do not exceed the daily IOE allowance you may simply claim the actual hotel bill in full without claiming anything for IOE Hotel minibar, films, etc. When staying at a hotel you should note that items of a personal nature such as alcoholic minibar drinks, health and beauty facilities or film hire will not be reimbursed. Where these items are included on a bill the costs should be deducted by claimants prior to the submission of the claim for reimbursement Telephone, fax and internet charges You can claim the cost of business calls, fax and internet access charges for business use as long as they are itemised on your bill and have not already been included in a claim for Incidental Overnight Expenses. If you are working overseas and purchase a telephone card to reduce the cost of local calls, you may charge the cost of this instead of calls from your hotel Meals Note: in all cases below, if the service charge is not included in the bill a maximum of 10% may be given as a gratuity; however, this is included in the maximum allowance for the meal quoted below Breakfast If breakfast is not included in your room rate you can claim the cost, which should be receipted and claimed as part of the overnight stay to a maximum of 7 including VAT and service. If it is not possible to obtain a receipt, 5 may be claimed for breakfast Lunch If you are working away from your normal place of work, you may claim lunch up to 7 including VAT and service. Page 18 of 22

19 If it is not possible to obtain a receipt, 5 may be claimed for lunch Evening meal You can claim the cost of an evening meal, which should be receipted and claimed as part of the overnight stay, to a maximum of 20 including VAT and service. If it is not possible to obtain a receipt, 10 may be claimed for an evening meal What is the difference between subsistence meals and hospitality? Reimbursement for subsistence meals should be for the business traveller only, not for any colleagues or guests who may be entertained during the course of a business trip. Comprehensive guidance on hospitality and entertainment is provided in part 3, and applies worldwide. The rates for subsistence meals are deliberately rather meagre, because it is assumed that the traveller would have incurred a base cost for feeding themselves anyhow, and it is only the incremental cost which is reclaimable under this Policy. 19. Rented accommodation Please note: This section applies to Imperial College staff and students only. The policy for visiting fellows or researchers is detailed separately (see part 4, section 12) What you can claim If you are working away from home on a longer-term assignment - usually for six months or more the budget holder may require you to rent a property rather than stay in a hotel. If you are obliged to retain living accommodation near your normal place of work for example if your family continues to live in London you may claim the full cost of the living accommodation rented temporarily elsewhere to enable you to fulfil College business obligations. In such cases, take the lease out in your own name if you will be the sole occupant of the property; you will need prior approval from the relevant approver (see part 1 section 15).You can claim the monthly rent, council tax, service charges, TV licence and utility bills (including telephone line rental) including VAT. Alternatively, the College can pay the rent directly by raising a purchase order and paying on invoice via Accounts Payable. If you do not retain living accommodation in London you are only entitled to claim the incremental living costs above those which you would have incurred anyhow. Page 19 of 22

20 If you are working away from home and sharing a property with colleagues working on the same project, only one of you should claim expenses for the cost of the accommodation and associated bills. Please consult with your Departmental Operations Manager for advice before entering into any long-term agreement for accommodation. For trips exceeding 12 months duration please contact the Financial Controller particularly in relation to insurance and income tax liability. 20. Staying with family or friends You can claim an overnight accommodation allowance of 25 without needing receipts if you stay with family or friends, whether in the UK or overseas. This amount includes meals. As this allowance is taxable please submit your claim directly to the payroll office on a paper claim form (not via My Expenses), which will be processed via our payroll department in order to deduct tax at source. Page 20 of 22

21 Appendix A: Overseas travel insurance Summary of Policy: Insured: Imperial College London Insurer: AIG Policy Number: hour Emergency Contact Number: +44 (0) The above policy runs to 31 July each year. Further details, including the policy wording, can be found at: Claims All major medical expenses, emergencies and requests for assistance should be made to the insurers on +44 (0) Minor insured expenses should, where possible, be paid on the spot and claimed via the College Insurance Office upon returning to the UK. The insurer must be contacted as soon as possible in cases requiring hospitalisation (refer to cover note above for contact details). Losses should be reported immediately to the local police or the transport carrier. Obtain copies of police reports etc. Receipts should be obtained to support the claim on return to the UK. Claim forms are obtainable from the College s Insurance Manager. Page 21 of 22

22 Appendix B: Contacts for enquiries Purchasing, Accounts Payable & Expenses Helpdesk (including travel booking enquiries) Tel: +44 (0) Make an enquiry: Website: Level 1 Faculty Building South Kensington Campus Insurance Manager Tel: +44 (0) Website: Level 3 Sherfield Building South Kensington Campus Tax Manager (taxation on benefits in kind, hospitality, etc.) Occupational Health department (travel advice, vaccinations, etc.) Tel: +44 (0) Website: Level 1 Faculty Building South Kensington Campus Tel: +44 (0) Website: Level 4 Sherfield Building South Kensington Campus Safety department Tel: +44 (0)fc Website: Level 4 Sherfield Building South Kensington Campus Page 22 of 22

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