A-42101, MAY 10, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 425

A-42101: May 10, 1932

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1932: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 20. WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE AUTOMOBILE USED IN THE TRAVEL WAS NOT THE PROPERTY OF MR. WAS PURCHASED BY THE UNDERSIGNED FOR MRS. THE CAR IS USED PRINCIPALLY BY MRS. IT IS THE VIEW OF THIS OFFICE THAT IN SO FAR AS THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14. IS CONCERNED THE AUTOMOBILE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED HIS PERSONAL PROPERTY AND THE TRAVELER ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT UPON THE MILEAGE BASIS FOR THE USE OF SAME. THE AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE TO CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS FOUND IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14. WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED AND PAYMENT ON SUCH MILEAGE BASIS IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES.

A-42101, MAY 10, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 425

MILEAGE FOR USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AUTHORIZING PAYMENT FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON OFFICIAL TRAVEL ON A MILEAGE BASIS, LIMITS SUCH PAYMENT TO THE EMPLOYEE'S "OWN AUTOMOBILE," AND PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS MAY NOT, THEREFORE, BE MADE TO A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE FOR THE USE OF HIS WIFE'S CAR.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, MAY 10, 1932:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 20, 1932, REQUESTING REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT OF VOUCHER NO. 17146, WHEREIN CREDIT IN THE NOVEMBER, 1931, ACCOUNTS OF R. D. ALLISON, DISBURSING CLERK, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, IN THE SUM OF $5.32 AS MILEAGE PAID WILLIAM J. WEST, SPECIAL AGENT, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE AUTOMOBILE USED IN THE TRAVEL WAS NOT THE PROPERTY OF MR. WEST, BUT THAT OF L. F. WEST, HIS WIFE.

IN YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW YOU QUOTE THE FOLLOWING FROM MR. WEST'S LETTER OF MARCH 12, 1932:

IN FURTHER EXPLANATION OF THE ABOVE, IT CAN ONLY BE SAID THAT THE ABOVE CAR, AS STATED, WAS PURCHASED BY THE UNDERSIGNED FOR MRS. WEST IN 1928, HAS BEEN REGISTERED IN HER NAME SINCE THEN AND HAS BEEN INSURED IN HER NAME AGAINST FIRE, THEFT, COLLISION, AND PERSONAL LIABILITY. THE UNDERSIGNED PAID THE PURCHASE PRICE OF THE CAR AND SINCE THEN HAS, NATURALLY, AS THE WAGE EARNER OF THE FAMILY, PAID ALL REGISTRATION FEES, INSURANCE PREMIUMS, GARAGE RENT AND ALL COSTS OF UP KEEP AND OPERATION. THE CAR IS USED PRINCIPALLY BY MRS. WEST AND THE CHILDREN AND OCCASIONALLY BY THE WRITER.

AND ADD THERETO YOUR VIEW OF THE MATTER AS FOLLOWS:

IN VIEW OF THE TRAVELER'S DEFINITE STATEMENT TO THE EFFECT THAT HE PERSONALLY PURCHASED THE AUTOMOBILE IN QUESTION AND REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT THE TITLE THEREOF MIGHT BE REGISTERED IN THE NAME OF HIS WIFE, IT IS THE VIEW OF THIS OFFICE THAT IN SO FAR AS THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931 (46 STAT. 1103), IS CONCERNED THE AUTOMOBILE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED HIS PERSONAL PROPERTY AND THE TRAVELER ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT UPON THE MILEAGE BASIS FOR THE USE OF SAME.

THE AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE TO CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS FOUND IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, WHICH ROVIDES:

THAT A CIVILIAN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE ENGAGED IN NECESSARY TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY MAY BE PAID, IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION, UNDER REGULATIONS TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, NOT TO EXCEED 3 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF HIS OWN MOTOR CYCLE OR 7 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE FOR SUCH TRANSPORTATION, WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED AND PAYMENT ON SUCH MILEAGE BASIS IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES. THIS ACT SHALL TAKE EFFECT JULY 1, 1931, AND ALL LAWS OR PARTS OF LAWS ARE HEREBY MODIFIED OR REPEALED TO THE EXTENT SAME MAY BE IN CONFLICT HEREWITH.

GENERALLY, IN THE REGISTRATION OF AUTOMOBILES THE PERSON APPLYING FOR REGISTRATION MUST CERTIFY AS TO THE FACTS RELATING TO OWNERSHIP. UNDER THE LAWS OF MASSACHUSETTS, THE OWNER OF A MOTOR VEHICLE APPLYING FOR REGISTRATION MUST ACCOMPANY HIS APPLICATION WITH A SIGNED AFFIDAVIT SHOWING THE OWNER'S NAME, RESIDENCE, FULL DESCRIPTION OF THE VEHICLE, MAKE, SERIAL NUMBER, ETC., OBTAIN COMPULSORY INSURANCE, AND APPOINT THE REGISTRAR OF MOTOR VEHICLES HIS ATTORNEY UPON WHOM MAY BE SERVED ANY PROCESS GROWING OUT OF ANY ACCIDENT OR COLLISION IN WHICH HE OR HIS AGENT MAY BE INVOLVED WHILE OPERATING THE MOTOR VEHICLE WITHIN THE COMMONWEALTH DURING THE PERIOD OF REGISTRATION, WITH PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE STATUTES.

THE AUTOMOBILE INVOLVED IN THE PRESENT CASE, HAVING BEEN PURCHASED "FOR MRS. WEST IN 1928" AND REGISTERED IN HER NAME, AS REQUIRED BY STATE STATUTES, THE EMPLOYEE MAY NOT NOW BE ALLOWED TO SET UP FACTS CONTRARY TO THE ESTABLISHED RECORD, IN AN ENDEAVOR TO ESTABLISH HIS CLAIM FOR MILEAGE UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, SUPRA, WHICH AUTHORIZES PAYMENT OF MILEAGE ONLY "FOR THE USE OF HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE.'

ACCORDINGLY, UPON REVIEW THE DISALLOWANCE OF THE CLAIM MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED.