A-43306, JULY 21, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 96

A-43306: Jul 21, 1932

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ARE NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS. 1932: THERE HAVE BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTERS OF JULY 5 AND 12. THE FOLLOWING IS QUOTED FROM THE LETTER OF JULY 5: THE FIELD EMPLOYEES OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE OPERATE WITHIN CERTAIN ZONES OF ACTIVITY IN WHICH THE USE OF THE PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE IS THE MOST ECONOMICAL AND EXPEDITIOUS MODE OF TRAVEL. THE EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO THESE ZONES HAVE BEEN USING THEIR OWN AUTOMOBILES FOR MAKING SUCH TRIPS ON A MILEAGE BASIS AT A GREAT SAVING OF TIME TO THE GOVERNMENT. SINCE IT IS NOW HELD THAT PAYMENT ON ACCOUNT OF MILEAGE CAN NOT BE MADE FOR SUCH TRIPS. IT IS MORE THAN LIKELY THAT THE EMPLOYEES WILL TURN TO THE SLOWER AND OFTEN INADEQUATE MEANS OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT CAN BE CLAIMED AND PAID WHICH WILL ENTAIL LONGER ABSENCES FROM POSTS OF DUTY WITH ALLOWANCES FOR EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE.

A-43306, JULY 21, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 96

MILEAGE - USE OF OWN AUTOMOBILE - FRACTIONAL DAYS AS EMPLOYEES ABSENT FROM THEIR DUTY STATION ONLY BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. ARE NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS, THEY MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR THE USE DURING SUCH ABSENCES OF THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES ON A MILEAGE BASIS UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JULY 21, 1932:

THERE HAVE BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTERS OF JULY 5 AND 12, 1932, RELATIVE TO THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE TO THE EFFECT THAT THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR USE BY AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT OR NEAR HIS STATION BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M.

THE FOLLOWING IS QUOTED FROM THE LETTER OF JULY 5:

THE FIELD EMPLOYEES OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE OPERATE WITHIN CERTAIN ZONES OF ACTIVITY IN WHICH THE USE OF THE PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE IS THE MOST ECONOMICAL AND EXPEDITIOUS MODE OF TRAVEL. MANY OFFICIAL TRIPS WITHIN SUCH ZONES CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED BY AUTOMOBILE IN A DAY'S ABSENCE FROM POST OF DUTY BETWEEN 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. THOUGH NOT REQUIRED, THE EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO THESE ZONES HAVE BEEN USING THEIR OWN AUTOMOBILES FOR MAKING SUCH TRIPS ON A MILEAGE BASIS AT A GREAT SAVING OF TIME TO THE GOVERNMENT. SINCE IT IS NOW HELD THAT PAYMENT ON ACCOUNT OF MILEAGE CAN NOT BE MADE FOR SUCH TRIPS, IT IS MORE THAN LIKELY THAT THE EMPLOYEES WILL TURN TO THE SLOWER AND OFTEN INADEQUATE MEANS OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT CAN BE CLAIMED AND PAID WHICH WILL ENTAIL LONGER ABSENCES FROM POSTS OF DUTY WITH ALLOWANCES FOR EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE. THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF PASSENGER-CARRYING MOTOR VEHICLES AND THE USE OF THE PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE CAN NOT BE AUTHORIZED ON THE OPERATING EXPENSE BASIS; THEREFORE, YOUR DECISION IS OF GRAVE CONCERN IN THAT DOUBTLESS MANY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS WILL BE LOST IN REVENUE BECAUSE OF THE SLOWING DOWN OF TRAVEL OF DEPUTY COLLECTORS AND INTERNAL REVENUE AGENTS, AS IT WILL NOW REQUIRE FROM TWO TO THREE DAYS' TIME TO CALL UPON A TAXPAYER A COMPARATIVELY SHORT DISTANCE AWAY WHO OTHERWISE COULD BE VISITED IN AN ABSENCE FROM POST OF DUTY IN A DAY AND BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. WE HAVE NO REASON TO EXPECT THAT THE EMPLOYEES WILL USE THEIR OWN AUTOMOBILES FOR PERFORMING AUTHORIZED OFFICIAL TRAVEL AND STAND THE WEAR AND TEAR ON TIRES AND DEPRECIATION ON THE AUTOMOBILE GENERALLY WITHOUT AT LEAST RECEIVING REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE COST OF GASOLINE AND OIL CONSUMED.

IN VIEW OF THE CONDITIONS AS SET FORTH ABOVE, IT WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED IF YOUR RECENT RULING MAY BE MODIFIED TO THE EXTENT THAT PAYMENT ON THE MILEAGE BASIS MAY BE ALLOWED FOR THE USE OF THE PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR TRAVEL REQUIRING ABSENCE FROM POST OF DUTY FOR TEN HOURS OR LESS BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. UNTIL THE MATTER MAY BE SUBMITTED THROUGH PROPER CHANNELS TO THE CONGRESS FOR SUCH REMEDIAL LEGISLATION AS THE CONGRESS MAY SEE FIT TO ALLOW. IN THIS CONNECTION IT MAY BE ADDED THAT THERE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN A GENERAL MISUNDERSTANDING ON THE PART OF PRACTICALLY ALL DEPARTMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT AS TO THE MEANING AND SCOPE OF THE GENERAL STATUTE AUTHORIZING THE USE OF THE PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN LIEU OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES, AND THEY FIND THEMSELVES IN THE SAME UNFAVORABLE SITUATION AS THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE OF THIS DEPARTMENT.

THE LETTER OF JULY 12 TRANSMITTED A MEMORANDUM DATED JULY 7, 1932, FROM THE CHIEF OF THE SECRET SERVICE DIVISION, PRESENTING A SIMILAR ARGUMENT WITH RESPECT TO THE USE OF AUTOMOBILES IN THAT SERVICE.

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, PROVIDES:

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.

THE FOREGOING ACT PERMITS THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES ONLY WHEN ENGAGED IN "NECESSARY TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF TY.' WHEN FIRST INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS THE BILL CONTAINED AUTHORIZATION FOR THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE WHEN THE AUTOMOBILES WERE USED "AT OFFICIAL STATIONS," BUT THIS LANGUAGE WAS ELIMINATED BEFORE ITS PASSAGE. SEE 11 COMP. GEN. 67, 271, 339.

AS YOU ARE AWARE, IT HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY HELD PRIOR TO THE PASSAGE OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED ACT THAT A TRAVEL STATUS ENTITLING TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE DID NOT ARISE WHERE THE EMPLOYEE'S ABSENCE FROM HEADQUARTERS OR POST OF DUTY WAS CONFINED BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. (5 COMP. GEN. 100, 128, 215, 449.) THE SAME RULE HAS BEEN APPLIED WITHOUT EXCEPTION TO ABSENCES FROM HEADQUARTERS BY EMPLOYEES MAKING USE OF THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES. A-41236, MARCH 15, 1932; A-41238, MARCH 23, 1932; A-41455, MARCH 29, 1932; A 41723, APRIL 18, 1932; A-41688, APRIL 30, 1932; A-42233, MAY 24, 1932. IT WOULD BE INCONSISTENT TO HOLD THAT ABSENCES BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. CONSTITUTE A TRAVEL STATUS FOR MILEAGE PURPOSES BUT NOT FOR SUBSISTENCE PURPOSES.

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW UNDER WHICH AN EXCEPTION COULD BE MADE BY THIS OFFICE IN FAVOR OF EMPLOYEES OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE OR THE SECRET SERVICE OF YOUR DEPARTMENT.

IT IS NOTED THAT THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE SECRET SERVICE DIVISION CONTAINS A SPECIFIC PROVISION FOR "HIRE, MAINTENANCE, REPAIRS, AND OPERATION OF MOTOR-PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES WHEN NECESSARY.' ACCORDINGLY, THERE WOULD BE NO OBJECTION TO REIMBURSING SUCH AGENTS FOR THE USE OF THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES UPON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS, THAT IS, THE ACTUAL COST OF GASOLINE AND OIL CONSUMED SOLELY ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, EVEN BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. ..END :