A-82099, DECEMBER 18, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 604

A-82099: Dec 18, 1936

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MILEAGE - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - REGISTRATION IN NAME OF EMPLOYEE AND WIFE AN AUTOMOBILE REGISTERED JOINTLY IN THE NAME OF AN EMPLOYEE AND HIS WIFE IS THE EMPLOYEE'S "OWN AUTOMOBILE" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT TERM AS USED 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.'. IT WAS STATED THAT THE CITED ACT OF FEBRUARY 14. IT ACCORDINGLY WAS HELD IN THAT DECISION. MAY NOT BE PAID TO AN EMPLOYEE WHEN THE TRAVEL IS PERFORMED IN AN AUTOMOBILE REGISTERED. AN ADVANCE DECISION IS REQUESTED WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO BE MADE FROM PUBLIC FUNDS COVERING THE TRAVEL OF A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL IN HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY.

A-82099, DECEMBER 18, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 604

MILEAGE - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - REGISTRATION IN NAME OF EMPLOYEE AND WIFE AN AUTOMOBILE REGISTERED JOINTLY IN THE NAME OF AN EMPLOYEE AND HIS WIFE IS THE EMPLOYEE'S "OWN AUTOMOBILE" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT TERM AS USED IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AND THE AMENDMENT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, AND MILEAGE MAY BE PAID FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY AN EMPLOYEE IN AN AUTOMOBILE SO REGISTERED WHERE OTHERWISE PROPER.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, DECEMBER 18, 1936:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 3, 1936, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ACT APPROVED FEBRUARY 14, 1931 (46 STAT. 1103), AS AMENDED BY SECTION 9, TITLE II, OF THE ACT APPROVED MARCH 3, 1933 (47 STAT. 1516; 5 U.S.C., SEC. 73A), PROVIDES, IN PART, THAT A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT 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 * * * 5 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.'

IN A DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES OF SEPTEMBER 10, 1934 (14 COMP. GEN. 197), IT WAS STATED THAT THE CITED ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, AUTHORIZED PAYMENT OF MILEAGE ONLY "FOR THE USE OF HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE" AND THAT "THE AUTOMOBILE BEING REGISTERED IN THE NAME OF THE EMPLOYEE'S WIFE OWNERSHIP MUST BE REGARDED AS SHOWN BY THE RECORD AS BEING VESTED IN HER.' IT ACCORDINGLY WAS HELD IN THAT DECISION, QUOTING THE SYLLABUS:

"MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF A PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 9, ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, MAY NOT BE PAID TO AN EMPLOYEE WHEN THE TRAVEL IS PERFORMED IN AN AUTOMOBILE REGISTERED, AND THE LICENSE PLATES THEREFOR ISSUED, IN THE NAME OF THE EMPLOYEE'S WIFE.'

AN ADVANCE DECISION IS REQUESTED WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO BE MADE FROM PUBLIC FUNDS COVERING THE TRAVEL OF A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL IN HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY, WHERE THE AUTOMOBILE USED IN SUCH TRAVEL IS REGISTERED JOINTLY IN THE NAMES OF THE CLAIMANT AND HIS WIFE.

THE WORDS "OWN AUTOMOBILE" AS USED IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AND IN THE AMENDMENT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, HAVE BEEN CONSTRUED BY THIS OFFICE AS REQUIRING LEGAL OWNERSHIP. THE NAME IN WHICH AN AUTOMOBILE IS REGISTERED CONSTITUTES RECORD EVIDENCE OF THE LEGAL OWNERSHIP THEREOF WITH RESPECT TO CLAIMS FOR MILEAGE UNDER SAID ACT; FOR THAT REASON A CAR REGISTERED IN THE NAME OF A PERSON OTHER THAN THE EMPLOYEE CLAIMING THE MILEAGE IS NOT CONSIDERED THE EMPLOYEE'S PERSONAL PROPERTY WITHIN THE LAW. 16 COMP. GEN. 23. A JOINT TITLE IN PERSONAL PROPERTY IMPLIES JOINT OWNERSHIP--- THAT IS, A COMMON PROPERTY INTEREST ENJOYED BY TWO OR MORE PERSONS, EACH HAVING THE SAME RIGHT TO THE USE OR BENEFIT OF THE PROPERTY. WITH RESPECT TO AN AUTOMOBILE REGISTERED JOINTLY IN THE NAME OF HUSBAND AND WIFE EACH MAY BE CONSIDERED AS LEGAL OWNER THEREOF. YOU ARE INFORMED THAT WHERE THE AUTOMOBILE USED BY AN EMPLOYEE, PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL IN HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY, UNDER THE ACT OF 1931, AS AMENDED, IS REGISTERED JOINTLY IN THE NAME OF SUCH EMPLOYEE AND HIS WIFE, THE AUTOMOBILE WILL BE CONSIDERED AS THE EMPLOYEE'S "OWN AUTOMOBILE" WITHIN THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AS AMENDED.