A-25243, JANUARY 12, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 357

A-25243: Jan 12, 1929

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LIMITING REIMBURSEMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OR PER DIEM WHEN TRAVEL IS BY OWN AUTOMOBILE TO NOT EXCEEDING WHAT THE EMPLOYEE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO HAD HE TRAVELED BY TRAIN. THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION SO FAR AS SUBSISTENCE IS CONCERNED ONLY THE TIME WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED FOR THE JOURNEY BY TRAIN. IF SUCH TIME IS LESS THAN 24 HOURS ONLY ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR THE NUMBER OF MEALS INVOLVED ARE PAYABLE. THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE LEGALITY OF A PAYMENT OF $4.50. LEWIS WAS AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO PROCEED FROM WASHINGTON. IT WAS STATED THEREIN THAT HE WOULD BE ALLOWED $6 PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE AWAY FROM WASHINGTON. MEMORANDUM ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER SIGNED BY AN ASSISTANT DEPUTY COMMISSIONER EXPLAINS THAT THE EMPLOYEE COULD HAVE LEFT WASHINGTON AT 2 A.M.

A-25243, JANUARY 12, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 357

SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES - EMPLOYEE USING OWN AUTOMOBILE UNDER REGULATIONS OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE, LIMITING REIMBURSEMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OR PER DIEM WHEN TRAVEL IS BY OWN AUTOMOBILE TO NOT EXCEEDING WHAT THE EMPLOYEE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO HAD HE TRAVELED BY TRAIN, THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION SO FAR AS SUBSISTENCE IS CONCERNED ONLY THE TIME WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED FOR THE JOURNEY BY TRAIN. IF SUCH TIME IS LESS THAN 24 HOURS ONLY ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR THE NUMBER OF MEALS INVOLVED ARE PAYABLE.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JANUARY 12, 1929:

IN CONNECTION WITH THE AUDIT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF J. L. SUMMERS, DISBURSING CLERK, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE LEGALITY OF A PAYMENT OF $4.50, AS PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, MADE TO THOMAS H. LEWIS, SPECIAL ATTORNEY, BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE, ON VOUCHER 29482.

BY ORDER DATED JULY 16, 1928, LEWIS WAS AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO PROCEED FROM WASHINGTON, C., TO PHILADELPHIA, PA., USING HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE, AND IT WAS STATED THEREIN THAT HE WOULD BE ALLOWED $6 PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE AWAY FROM WASHINGTON. IT APPEARS FROM THE TRAVEL VOUCHER THAT HE LEFT WASHINGTON AT 8 P.M., JULY 16, AND RETURNED TO WASHINGTON AT 9 P.M., JULY 17. HE CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT FOR $14.43 AS TRANSPORTATION COSTS, BEING LESS THAN THE MILEAGE RATE OF 7 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE, AND $3 FOR THREE MEALS. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, HOWEVER, ALLOWED AND PAID $4.50 AS A FRACTIONAL PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IN PLACE OF THE $3 CLAIMED FOR MEALS. MEMORANDUM ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER SIGNED BY AN ASSISTANT DEPUTY COMMISSIONER EXPLAINS THAT THE EMPLOYEE COULD HAVE LEFT WASHINGTON AT 2 A.M., JULY 17, AND RETURNED AT 7 P.M., THE SAME DAY, WHICH WOULD HAVE ENTITLED HIM TO $4.50 PER DIEM IN LIEU OF THE $3 CLAIMED, AND THAT $1.50 WAS ACCORDINGLY ADDED TO THE VOUCHER.

PARAGRAPH 45 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES:

WHEN ABSENT FROM PERMANENT STATION OR DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY FOR LESS THAN ONE DAY NECESSARY ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES ONLY WILL BE ALLOWED AND THEN ONLY IF THE ABSENCE IS OF SUCH DURATION AS CONSTITUTES A TRAVEL STATUS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAW AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY HAVING BEEN GRANTED TO PERMIT EMPLOYEES OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE TO USE THEIR OWN AUTOMOBILES ON OFFICIAL TRAVEL AND RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS, SEE ACT OF MARCH 5, 1928, 45 STAT. 169, THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE ISSUED REGULATIONS JUNE 21, 1928, GOVERNING THE USE OF AUTOMOBILES, IN PARAGRAPH 7 OF WHICH IT IS PROVIDED:

ON TRIPS WHERE DEPARTURE FROM AND RETURN TO POST OF DUTY IS NOT CONFINED TO ONE CALENDAR DAY CHARGES FOR SUBSISTENCE WILL NOT BE REIMBURSED IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE IF THE TRAVEL HAD BEEN BY RAIL OR OTHER PUBLIC CONVEYANCE AND THE EXCESS TIME TAKEN TO MAKE THE TRIP BY MOTOCYCLE OR AUTOMOBILE WILL BE CHARGED TO ANNUAL LEAVE.

BY LETTER OF NOVEMBER 7, 1928, ADDRESSED TO THIS OFFICE BY THE ASSISTANT TO THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, IT IS STATED:

IT IS THE OPINION OF THIS OFFICE THAT PARAGRAPH 45 (A) OF THE GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS DOES NOT APPLY IN THIS INSTANCE IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE ABSENCE FROM OFFICIAL STATION WAS FOR A PERIOD OF MORE THAN ONE DAY (24 HOURS); THAT THE FACT THE TRAVEL COULD HAVE BEEN MADE BY RAIL WITHIN A PERIOD OF 24 HOURS DOES NOT OPERATE TO CHANGE THE SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE FROM A PER DIEM BASIS AS AUTHORIZED BY THE TRAVEL ORDERS TO AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS, AND THAT PER DIEM, THEREFORE, PROPERLY MAY BE ALLOWED FOR THE TIME NECESSARY TO MAKE THE TRAVEL BY RAIL.

PARAGRAPH 7 OF THE REGULATIONS OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE LIMITS SUBSISTENCE TO WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE HAD TRAVEL BEEN BY TRAIN. DETERMINING THE SUBSISTENCE ALLOWABLE, THEREFORE, THE ACTUAL TIME REQUIRED TO MAKE THE TRIP BY AUTOMOBILE IS NOT FOR CONSIDERATION. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE HAS CERTIFIED THAT THE TRIP COULD HAVE BEEN MADE BY TRAIN BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 2 A.M. AND 7 P.M. OF THE SAME DAY; THAT IS, IN LESS THAN ONE DAY, OR 24 HOURS, AND, IN VIEW THEREOF, PARAGRAPH 45 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED TRAVEL REGULATIONS IS APPLICABLE AND ACTUAL EXPENSES ONLY COULD BE ALLOWED. FRACTIONAL PER DIEMS ARE ALLOWABLE UNDER THE STANDARDIZED TRAVEL REGULATIONS ONLY WHEN THE FRACTIONAL PART OF A DAY OCCURS AT THE COMMENCEMENT OR ENDING OF A TRAVEL STATUS FOR A PERIOD EXCEEDING 24 HOURS. 6 COMP. GEN. 330.

ACCORDINGLY, THERE IS FOR DISALLOWANCE IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER THE EXCESS OF $1.50 PAID TO CLAIMANT IN THIS CASE.