A-10604, SEPTEMBER 9, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 179

A-10604: Sep 9, 1925

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - NOTARY FEES AS A STATE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO RESTRICT OR INTERFERE WITH THE OPERATION OF A FEDERALLY-OWNED AND OPERATED VEHICLE. IS NOT A NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSE AND IS NOT REIMBURSABLE. WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED CREDIT FOR REIMBURSEMENT AS A TRAVELING EXPENSE TO JOSEPH H. IN SUPPORT OF THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW IT IS STATED THAT NO CHARGE IS MADE BY THE STATE FOR A TAG WHEN ISSUED FOR A MOTOR VEHICLE OWNED AND OPERATED BY THE UNITED STATES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND IT IS CONTENDED THAT THIS PAYMENT WAS IN NO SENSE A TAX BY THE STATE. WAS PAID TO THE NOTARY PUBLIC FOR HIS SERVICE IN ATTESTING AN AFFIDAVIT REQUIRED BY THE STATE IN CONNECTION WITH AN APPLICATION FOR A LICENSE OR IDENTIFICATION TAG FOR A NEWLY PURCHASED MOTOR VEHICLE.

A-10604, SEPTEMBER 9, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 179

TRAVELING EXPENSES - NOTARY FEES AS A STATE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO RESTRICT OR INTERFERE WITH THE OPERATION OF A FEDERALLY-OWNED AND OPERATED VEHICLE, A FEE PAID TO A NOTARY PUBLIC FOR ACKNOWLEDGING AN AFFIDAVIT TO BE USED IN SECURING A STATE IDENTIFICATION TAG FOR A GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILE USED BY AN EMPLOYEE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, IS NOT A NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSE AND IS NOT REIMBURSABLE.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, SEPTEMBER 9, 1925:

E. D. M. FOWLE, SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENT, GENERAL LAND OFFICE, REQUESTED JUNE 22, 1925, REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. C-21019-I, DATED FEBRUARY 2, 1925, WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED CREDIT FOR REIMBURSEMENT AS A TRAVELING EXPENSE TO JOSEPH H. FAVORITE, FOR A PAYMENT OF 50 CENTS TO A NOTARY PUBLIC AS A FEE FOR ACKNOWLEDGING AN AFFIDAVIT OR OATH TO BE USED IN SECURING AN AUTOMOBILE IDENTIFICATION TAG FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA.

IN SUPPORT OF THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW IT IS STATED THAT NO CHARGE IS MADE BY THE STATE FOR A TAG WHEN ISSUED FOR A MOTOR VEHICLE OWNED AND OPERATED BY THE UNITED STATES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND IT IS CONTENDED THAT THIS PAYMENT WAS IN NO SENSE A TAX BY THE STATE, BUT WAS PAID TO THE NOTARY PUBLIC FOR HIS SERVICE IN ATTESTING AN AFFIDAVIT REQUIRED BY THE STATE IN CONNECTION WITH AN APPLICATION FOR A LICENSE OR IDENTIFICATION TAG FOR A NEWLY PURCHASED MOTOR VEHICLE.

AS NO PAYMENT TO THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA ITSELF IS INVOLVED THE PAYMENT IS NOT OBJECTIONABLE AS A STATE TAX UPON A FEDERAL INSTRUMENTALITY. HOWEVER, THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1875, 18 STAT. 452, PERMITS THE ALLOWANCE, AS TRAVELING EXPENSES, ONLY OF SUCH EXPENSES AS ARE ACTUALLY AND NECESSARILY INCURRED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. IT BECOMES NECESSARY THEREFORE TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE EXPENDITURE WAS AN ACTUAL AND NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSE; THAT IS, HAD THE STATE THE RIGHT TO REQUIRE AN OATH OF A FEDERAL OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IN CONNECTION WITH HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE AUTOMOBILE WAS THE PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES. SUCH BEING THE CASE, THE STATE WAS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO RESTRICT OR INTERFERE WITH ITS USE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, JOHNSON V. MARYLAND, 254 U.S. 51. ANY REQUIREMENT BY THE STATE THAT AN EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES MAKES AN AFFIDAVIT AS TO THE OFFICIAL USE OF A GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS NOT COMPULSORY AND THE PAYMENT OF THE NOTARY FEE FOR SUCH AN AFFIDAVIT WAS NOT AUTHORIZED. 24 COMP. DEC. 540. BEING AN UNNECESSARY EXPENSE THE DISALLOWANCE WAS CORRECT.