A-4904, SEPTEMBER 30, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 331

A-4904: Sep 30, 1924

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SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES - FRACTIONAL DAYS - INTERNAL REVENUE EMPLOYEES AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS ABSENT FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS FOR A PERIOD OF TEN HOURS OR LESS BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. IS NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAWS AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES. IS CONSEQUENTLY NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ANY SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCURRED THEREIN. IN WHICH THERE WAS DISALLOWED ON VOUCHERS 607 AND 640 OF HIS ACCOUNTS FOR SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER. OF WHICH AMOUNT $1.40 WAS PAID TO SAMUEL G. WERE DEPUTY COLLECTORS OF INTERNAL REVENUE WITH HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON. IN SUPPORT OF THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW ATTENTION IS INVITED TO INTERNAL REVENUE MANUAL.

A-4904, SEPTEMBER 30, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 331

SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES - FRACTIONAL DAYS - INTERNAL REVENUE EMPLOYEES AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS ABSENT FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS FOR A PERIOD OF TEN HOURS OR LESS BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M., IS NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAWS AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES, EITHER ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS OR A PER DIEM IN LIEU OF BASIS, AND IS CONSEQUENTLY NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ANY SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCURRED THEREIN.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, SEPTEMBER 30, 1924:

GALEN L. TAIT, COLLECTOR OF INTERNAL REVENUE, BALTIMORE, MD., BY A LETTER DATED AUGUST 16, 1924, REQUESTS REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT C-11369-TI, IN WHICH THERE WAS DISALLOWED ON VOUCHERS 607 AND 640 OF HIS ACCOUNTS FOR SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER, 1923, THE SUM OF $2.80, OF WHICH AMOUNT $1.40 WAS PAID TO SAMUEL G. COALE, AND A SIMILAR AMOUNT TO JOHN E. SHAW, BOTH OF WHOM, FROM THE FACTS DISCLOSED, WERE DEPUTY COLLECTORS OF INTERNAL REVENUE WITH HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

IT APPEARS THAT THESE DEPUTIES AT 10.30 A.M. ON SEPTEMBER 18, 1923, IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES, LEFT WASHINGTON AND WENT TO ROCKVILLE, MD., WHERE THEY HAD DINNER AT $1.25 EACH, PLUS TIP, 15 CENTS EACH. THEY RETURNED TO WASHINGTON AT 4.30 P.M.

IN SUPPORT OF THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW ATTENTION IS INVITED TO INTERNAL REVENUE MANUAL, PART IV, AND THE COLLECTOR, IN LETTER DATED JULY 2, 1924, STATES:

AS THESE DEPUTIES WERE AWAY FROM THEIR RESPECTIVE POSTS OF DUTY BETWEEN THE HOURS FROM 10.30 A.M. TO 4.30 P.M. AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH INTERNAL REVENUE MANUAL, PART IV, SECTION 1555, PAR. 5, THIS OFFICE IS OF THE OPINION THAT EMPLOYEES ARE ENTITLED TO THEIR MIDDAY MEAL.

THE INTERNAL REVENUE MANUAL, TITLE XII,"TRAVELING EXPENSES," SECTION 1555, PARAGRAPH 5, PROVIDES:

IN CONNECTION WITH THE DEPARTURE OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FROM HIS POST OF DUTY ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND HIS RETURN THERETO, SUCH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WILL NOT BE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT FOR BREAKFAST IF HE ARRIVES AT HIS POST OF DUTY AT OR BEFORE 7 A.M. OR DEPARTS THEREFROM AT OR AFTER 8 A.M., NOR FOR A MIDDAY MEAL IF HE ARRIVES AT HIS POST OF DUTY AT OR BEFORE 12 NOON OR DEPARTS THEREFROM AT OR AFTER 1 P.M., NOR FOR AN EVENING MEAL IF HE ARRIVES AT HIS POST OF DUTY AT OR BEFORE 6 P.M. OR DEPARTS THEREFROM AT OR AFTER 7 P.M.

THE PROVISION JUST QUOTED MUST BE CONSTRUED AS PERTAINING ONLY TO MEALS TAKEN IN CONNECTION WITH THE BEGINNING OR END OF A PERIOD OF TRAVEL, AND AS HAVING NO APPLICATION TO SUCH SHORT PERIODS OF ABSENCE AS ARE HERE INVOLVED.

THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1875, 18 STAT. 452, PROVIDES:

* * * HEREAFTER ONLY ACTUAL TRAVELING-EXPENSES SHALL BE ALLOWED TO ANY PERSON HOLDING EMPLOYMENT OR APPOINTMENTS UNDER THE UNITED STATES * * *; AND ALL ALLOWANCES FOR MILEAGES AND TRANSPORTATION IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT ACTUALLY PAID, * * * ARE HEREBY DECLARED ILLEGAL; AND NO CREDIT SHALL BE ALLOWED TO ANY OF THE DISBURSING-OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES FOR PAYMENT OR ALLOWANCES IN VIOLATION OF THIS PROVISION.

THE FOREGOING PROVISION IS SUPPLEMENTED BY THE ACT OF APRIL 6, 1914, 38 STAT. 318, WHICH PROVIDES:

ON AND AFTER JULY FIRST, NINTEEN HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN, UNLESS OTHERWISE EXPRESSLY PROVIDED BY LAW, NO OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL BE ALLOWED OR PAID ANY SUM IN EXCESS OF EXPENSES ACTUALLY INCURRED FOR SUBSISTENCE WHILE TRAVELING ON DUTY OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY, NOR ANY SUM FOR SUCH EXPENSES ACTUALLY INCURRED IN EXCESS OF $5 PER DAY; * * *.

UNDER THE TERMS OF THE ACT, SUPRA, IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THE DEPUTIES BE IN A TRAVEL STATUS IN ORDER TO ENTITLE THEM TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE MEALS IN QUESTION. THE FACTS SHOW THAT THEY WERE NOT IN SUCH A STATUS. THEY WERE MERELY IN THE STATUS OF EMPLOYEES OPERATING FROM A CENTRAL OFFICE TO NEAR-BY POINTS IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY, INVOLVING AN ABSENCE OF SUCH SHORT DURATION AS WOULD NOT NECESSARILY CAUSE ANY INCREASE IN THE EMPLOYEE'S EXPENSES FOR SUBSISTENCE. SEE DECISIONS OF MARCH 7, 1924, 3 COMP. GEN. 598; MARCH 31, 1924, REVIEW 6243; APRIL 10, 1924, 3 COMP. GEN. 739; MAY 3, 1924, A-2226; MAY 6, 1924, A-669; JUNE 16, 1924, 3 COMP. GEN. 966; JULY 19, 1924, RE. REVIEW 6243; SEPTEMBER 6, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 274. IN THIS CONNECTION IT MAY BE STATED GENERALLY THAT IN NO CASE CAN AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE BE REGARDED AS IN A TRAVEL STATUS AND ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHEN THE ABSENCE FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION IS ONLY FOR A PERIOD OF 10 HOURS OR LESS BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M.

AS HAS BEEN HELD BY THIS OFFICE HERETOFORE, THE PURPOSE OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCE IS TO REIMBURSE AN EMPLOYEE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL NECESSARY EXPENDITURES THAT HE HAS MADE THROUGH TRAVEL ON THE PUBLIC BUSINESS, AND AS WAS STATED IN 3 COMP. GEN. 739, 740---

* * * AN EMPLOYEE ABSENT FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION FOR SUCH SHORT PERIODS DURING THE DAY AS WOULD NOT ORDINARILY AND NECESSARILY CAUSE THE EMPLOYEE TO INCUR EXPENSES FOR SUBSISTENCE IN ADDITION TO SUCH EXPENSES AS WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED IF HE HAD REMAINED AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION IS NOT ENTITLED TO ANY REIMBURSEMENT ON ACCOUNT OF SUBSISTENCE EITHER ON A PER DIEM OR AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS.

ANY REGULATION WHICH PURPORTS TO AUTHORIZE AN ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE IN SUCH CASES TRANSCENDS THE LAW AND IS TO THAT EXTENT NULL AND VOID. SEE DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 6, 1924, A-4482, 4 COMP. GEN. 274.

IN VIEW OF THE PRACTICE WHICH OBTAINED WITH THE APPARENT SANCTION OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS PRIOR TO THE PUBLICATION OF THE DECISIONS OF MARCH AND APRIL, 1924, HEREINBEFORE CITED, DISALLOWANCES WILL NOT BE MADE IN THE SETTLEMENT OF DISBURSING OFFICERS' ACCOUNTS COVERING PERIODS PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1924, ON ACCOUNT OF PAYMENTS MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH SAID PRACTICE IF OTHERWISE CORRECT AND PROPER.