A-51413, DECEMBER 8, 1933, 13 COMP. GEN. 165

A-51413: Dec 8, 1933

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NO PAYMENT OF MILEAGE IN EXCESS OF SUCH COST IS AUTHORIZED ON THE BASIS THAT THE TRAVELER WAS ACCOMPANIED BY OTHER OFFICIAL TRAVELERS. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE FOLLOWING NOTICE OF EXCEPTION ISSUED BY YOUR OFFICE UNDER DATE OF AUGUST 28. THE ADVANTAGE AND ECONOMY TO THE GOVERNMENT WAS INDICATED BY A COMPARATIVE SHOWING OF THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER BASED ON THE BUS FARES FOR HIMSELF AND ONE PASSENGER. ARE CONTAINED IN A AND C MIMEOGRAPH. COPIES OF WHICH ARE INCLOSED. THESE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS PROVIDE THAT OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE MAY USE THEIR OWN AUTOMOBILES FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL ON THE MILEAGE BASIS AT THE RATE OF NOT TO EXCEED 5 CENTS PER MILE WHEN THE USE OF SUCH CONVEYANCE IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES.

A-51413, DECEMBER 8, 1933, 13 COMP. GEN. 165

TRAVELING EXPENSES - JOINT - MILEAGE FOR USE OF PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE WHERE THE APPLICABLE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, PROVIDE THAT MILEAGE FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY THE TRAVELER'S OWN AUTOMOBILE BETWEEN POINTS OF TRAVEL CONNECTED BY COMMON CARRIER SHALL NOT EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL THEREBY, INCLUDING INCIDENTAL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND SUBSISTENCE SAVINGS, NO PAYMENT OF MILEAGE IN EXCESS OF SUCH COST IS AUTHORIZED ON THE BASIS THAT THE TRAVELER WAS ACCOMPANIED BY OTHER OFFICIAL TRAVELERS, BUT ANY SAVING BY REASON OF TWO OR MORE OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES TRAVELING TOGETHER MAY BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING THE ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE TO THE UNITED STATES OF AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY SUCH MEANS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, DECEMBER 8, 1933:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO THE MATTERS CONTAINED IN YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 2, 1933, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE FOLLOWING NOTICE OF EXCEPTION ISSUED BY YOUR OFFICE UNDER DATE OF AUGUST 28, 1933, RELATING TO THE MARCH 1933 DISBURSING ACCOUNT OF DAN G. STEWARD, FORMER COLLECTOR OF INTERNAL REVENUE, KANSAS CITY, MO.:

"VO.NO. 173--- EDWIN B. PATTERSON, CHIEF, FIELD DIVISION, $3.20. FEBRUARY 6, 1933, THE TRAVELER HAS CLAIMED MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF HIS PERSONALLY OWNED CAR, TO THE EQUIVALENT OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER FROM KANSAS CITY, MO., TO ST. JOSEPH, MO., AND RETURN, ACCOMPANIED BY SUPERVISOR DAILY. THE ADVANTAGE AND ECONOMY TO THE GOVERNMENT WAS INDICATED BY A COMPARATIVE SHOWING OF THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER BASED ON THE BUS FARES FOR HIMSELF AND ONE PASSENGER. THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT TO AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FOR HIS TRAVEL IN HIS PERSONALLY OWNED CAR AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AUTHORITY TO MAKE ADDITIONAL PAYMENT ON ACCOUNT OF TRANSPORTATION FURNISHED OTHER GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL. SEE A-49323, DATED JUNE 27, 1933.'

THE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS OF THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE GOVERNING THE USE OF PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, ARE CONTAINED IN A AND C MIMEOGRAPH, COLL. NO. 3801, R.A. NO. 594 DATED JULY 28, 1931 (AMENDED AS TO MAXIMUM RATE OF MILEAGE ALLOWANCE BY A AND C MIMEOGRAPH COLL. NO. 4006, R.A. NO. 651, DATED MARCH 10, 1933), COPIES OF WHICH ARE INCLOSED. THESE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS PROVIDE THAT OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE MAY USE THEIR OWN AUTOMOBILES FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL ON THE MILEAGE BASIS AT THE RATE OF NOT TO EXCEED 5 CENTS PER MILE WHEN THE USE OF SUCH CONVEYANCE IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES, PROVIDED THAT IF POINTS OF TRAVEL ARE CONNECTED BY RAILROAD, THE MILEAGE PAYMENT SHALL NOT EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL BY RAILROAD (INCLUDING INCIDENTAL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND SUBSISTENCE SAVINGS), OR IF NOT CONNECTED BY RAILROAD BUT BY BUS LINE, THE MILEAGE PAYMENT SHALL NOT EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL BY BUS (INCLUDING INCIDENTAL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND SUBSISTENCE SAVINGS).

THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE HAS A LARGE MOBILE FIELD FORCE TRAVELING CONTINUOUSLY, NOT ONLY IN VERIFYING TAX RETURNS BUT ALSO IN SEEKING OUT DELINQUENT TAXPAYERS IN CITIES, TOWNS, AND RURAL SECTIONS IN EVERY PART OF THE COUNTRY. THESE OFFICERS ARE REQUIRED TO PLAN THEIR OWN ITINERARY AND PERFORM TRAVEL ON THEIR OWN INITIATIVE WITHIN PRESCRIBED AREAS. THE BUREAU DOES NOT REQUIRE THEM TO USE THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES BUT DOES NOT ENCOURAGE THEM TO DO SO WHENEVER SUCH MEANS OF TRAVEL WILL BE FOR THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT. THOSE OFFICERS WHO USE THEIR AUTOMOBILES FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL DO SO AT A PERSONAL LOSS, SINCE THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE DOES NOT ADEQUATELY COMPENSATE FOR THE OPERATING EXPENSES PLUS THE WEAR AND TEAR ON THE CAR, AND WITH THE DESIRE TO EXPEDITE THE WORK AT HAND AND TO COLLECT THE GREATEST AMOUNT OF TAXES IN THE LEAST TIME POSSIBLE, WHICH IS DECIDEDLY ADVANTAGEOUS AND ECONOMICAL TO THE GOVERNMENT.

IN PERFORMING NECESSARY OFFICIAL TRAVEL IT FREQUENTLY HAPPENS THAT TWO, OCCASIONALLY MORE, EMPLOYEES CAN TRAVEL TOGETHER IN ONE EMPLOYEE'S AUTOMOBILE AT A SAVING OF TIME AND EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT. WHILE THE LAW AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS OF THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE DO NOT SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZE THE OWNER OF THE AUTOMOBILE IN SUCH CASES, IN DETERMINING HIS MILEAGE CLAIM, TO INCLUDE THE EXPENSE SAVED THE GOVERNMENT BY TRANSPORTING A FELLOW EMPLOYEE, NEITHER DO THEY SPECIFICALLY PROHIBIT ALLOWING CREDIT FOR SUCH SAVINGS.

IN FIXING THE MILEAGE RATE AT NOT TO EXCEED 5 CENTS PER MILE, THE CONGRESS MANIFESTLY CONSIDERED 5 CENTS PER MILE AS A REASONABLE AND NOT EXCESSIVE RATE OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO ALLOW ITS OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES FOR CONTRIBUTING THE USE OF THEIR OWN AUTOMOBILES FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL WHEN THE USE OF SUCH CONVEYANCE IS DETERMINED TO BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES. THE SAVING OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF A FELLOW EMPLOYEE OBVIOUSLY IS ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT AND IT IS THE VIEW OF THIS DEPARTMENT THAT THE LAW AND REGULATIONS IN THE MATTER SHOULD BE CONSTRUED LIBERALLY TO ALLOW MILEAGE AT THE 5 CENTS RATE WHENEVER THE COST OF TRAVEL FOR TWO OR MORE FELLOW EMPLOYEES BY AUTOMOBILE IS LESS THAN WHAT THEIR TRANSPORTATION BY PUBLIC CARRIER WOULD HAVE COST THE GOVERNMENT.

YOUR DECISION A-49323, DATED JUNE 27, 1933, REFERRED TO IN THE EXCEPTION WAS APPARENTLY RENDERED ON THE BASIS OF THE SPECIFIC TRAVEL ORDER INVOLVED IN THAT PARTICULAR CASE, AND WOULD NOT SEEM APPLICABLE TO THE ITEM IN QUESTION IN FORMER COLLECTOR STEWART'S ACCOUNT. IT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT THE EXCEPTION BE RECONSIDERED AND THE ITEM OF $3.20 ALLOWED.

THE DECISION OF JUNE 27, 1933, A-49323, TO WHICH YOU REFER, HELD THAT THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE TO AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE WHEN PAYMENT ON SUCH MILEAGE BASIS IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES, DOES NOT CONTEMPLATE REIMBURSEMENT TO THE OWNER FOR OTHER THAN HIS PERSONAL TRAVEL; DOES NOT AUTHORIZE PAYING THE OWNER AS A CARRIER OF OTHER GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL, AND, THEREFORE, PROVIDES NO LEGAL BASIS FOR PAYING AN INCREASED MILEAGE RATE TO THE OWNER BECAUSE HE IS ACCOMPANIED BY OTHER OFFICIAL TRAVELERS.

IN THE PRESENT CASE THE APPLICABLE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE REGULATIONS EXPRESSLY PROVIDED THAT MILEAGE FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY THE TRAVELER'S OWN AUTOMOBILE BETWEEN POINTS OF TRAVEL CONNECTED BY COMMON CARRIER SHOULD NOT EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL THEREBY, INCLUDING INCIDENTAL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND SUBSISTENCE SAVINGS. IF THE TRAVELER IN THIS INSTANCE, MR. PATTERSON, HAD TRAVELED ALONE, OBVIOUSLY THE MILEAGE PAYMENT TO HIM, UNDER THE REGULATIONS, COULD NOT HAVE EXCEEDED THE COST OF TRAVEL ALONE BY COMMON CARRIER, AND, AS THERE WAS NO LEGAL AUTHORITY TO PAY HIM ANY EXTRA AMOUNT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF OTHER PERSONNEL, IT FOLLOWS THAT THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT FOR SUCH ADDITIONAL PAYMENT WAS PROPER AND MUST BE SUSTAINED.

YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED, HOWEVER, TO MY DECISION OF TODAY, A 50711, 13 COMP. GEN. 163, ADVISING THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IN A SIMILAR MATTER THAT WHILE THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO PAY INCREASED MILEAGE RATES FOR THE USE OF HIS AUTOMOBILE BY A TRAVELER FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF OTHER OFFICIAL TRAVELERS, ANY SAVING TO THE GOVERNMENT BY REASON OF MORE THAN ONE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE TRAVELING TOGETHER IN THE AUTOMOBILE OF ONE OF THEM MAY BE INCLUDED IN DETERMINING THE ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE OF AUTHORIZING AUTOMOBILE TRAVEL ON A MILEAGE BASIS PURSUANT TO THE SAID ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931.