B-10467, JUNE 15, 1940, 19 COMP. GEN. 988

B-10467: Jun 15, 1940

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ARE SUCH AS ORDINARILY ARE PERMANENTLY ATTACHED TO. REMOVABLE SEAT COVERS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE INCLUDED IN THE PRICE LIMITATION. 1940: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 20. THE OPINION OF THIS DEPARTMENT WAS ASKED AS TO WHETHER SUCH A PURCHASE MIGHT PROPERLY BE MADE INASMUCH AS THE UPHOLSTERY OF THE AUTOMOBILE WAS DETERIORATING AND SEAT COVERS WERE NEEDED TO PROTECT THE VALUE OF THE CAR. THE SLIP COVERS ARE NOT PERMANENTLY ATTACHED TO THIS AUTOMOBILE AND MAY BE USED ON OTHER SIMILAR AUTOMOBILES. THEY WILL NO DOUBT BE USED ON SEVERAL CARS BEFORE THEIR LIFE IS EXHAUSTED. BASING ITS CONCLUSION ON THE FACT THAT THEY WERE NOT IN FACT A PART OF THE CAR. THE INSTALLATION OF SLIP COVERS TO PROTECT THE UPHOLSTERY OF THE CAR IS.

B-10467, JUNE 15, 1940, 19 COMP. GEN. 988

PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES - PURCHASE PRICE LIMITATION - APPLICABILITY TO ACCESSORIES IN APPLYING THE STATUTORY LIMITATION ON THE PRICE OF AUTOMOBILES PURCHASED FOR THE GOVERNMENT'S USE, THERE MUST BE INCLUDED AS A PART OF THE PRICE OF THE AUTOMOBILE THE COST OF ALL ACCESSORIES REQUIRED FOR THE COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE OF THE PASSENGERS AND THE EFFICIENT OPERATION OF THE VEHICLE AS AN ORDINARY PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLE PROVIDED SUCH ACCESSORIES, WHEN IN USE, ARE SUCH AS ORDINARILY ARE PERMANENTLY ATTACHED TO, AND BECOME A PART OF, THE VEHICLE. THE COST OF AN AUTOMOBILE HEATER MUST, ORDINARILY, BE INCLUDED AS A PART OF THE COST OF THE AUTOMOBILE IN APPLYING THE STATUTORY LIMITATION ON THE PRICE OF PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES PURCHASED FOR THE GOVERNMENT'S USE, BUT SKID CHAINS, FIRE EXTINGUISHERS, SAFETY FLARES, AUTO ROBES, AND REMOVABLE SEAT COVERS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE INCLUDED IN THE PRICE LIMITATION.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, JUNE 15, 1940:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 20, 1940, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ATTENTION OF THIS DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN CALLED TO EXCEPTION RAISED ON D.O. VOUCHER NO. 455, MARCH 1939, IN THE ACCOUNTS OF CAPTAIN HARVEY DELANO, UNITED STATES NAVY, SUPERVISOR, NEW YORK HARBOR, DISALLOWING A PAYMENT OF $24.70 FOR THE PURCHASE OF SEAT COVERS FOR AN AUTOMOBILE USED IN THAT ORGANIZATION FOR THE REASON THAT THE ORIGINAL PURCHASE PRICE OF THE CAR, $749.70, ADDED TO THE COST OF THE SEAT COVERS, CREATED AN EXCESS OF $24.70 OVER THE STATUTORY PRICE LIMITATION OF $750.

PRIOR TO THE PURCHASE, THE OPINION OF THIS DEPARTMENT WAS ASKED AS TO WHETHER SUCH A PURCHASE MIGHT PROPERLY BE MADE INASMUCH AS THE UPHOLSTERY OF THE AUTOMOBILE WAS DETERIORATING AND SEAT COVERS WERE NEEDED TO PROTECT THE VALUE OF THE CAR. THE SLIP COVERS ARE NOT PERMANENTLY ATTACHED TO THIS AUTOMOBILE AND MAY BE USED ON OTHER SIMILAR AUTOMOBILES. THEY WILL NO DOUBT BE USED ON SEVERAL CARS BEFORE THEIR LIFE IS EXHAUSTED.

THIS DEPARTMENT EXPRESSED THE OPINION THAT THE SEAT COVERS MIGHT BE PURCHASED, BASING ITS CONCLUSION ON THE FACT THAT THEY WERE NOT IN FACT A PART OF THE CAR, BUT SIMPLY USED TO PROTECT THIS CAR AND WOULD NO DOUBT BE ULTIMATELY USED ON SEVERAL OTHER CARS. THE INSTALLATION OF SLIP COVERS TO PROTECT THE UPHOLSTERY OF THE CAR IS, IN THE OPINION OF THIS DEPARTMENT,"PROTECTIVE MAINTENANCE" AS WOULD BE WAXING THE EXTERIOR TO PROTECT THE PAINT SURFACE. THIS DEPARTMENT, OF COURSE, IS AWARE OF YOUR PREVIOUS RULING THAT ACCESSORIES MUST BE CONSIDERED IN THE STATUTORY LIMITATION OF THE PURCHASE PRICE. IT, HOWEVER, HAS CONSIDERED THAT AN ACCESSORY WAS SOMETHING WHICH WAS ATTACHED TO AND BECAME AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE AUTOMOBILE, WHICH IS NOT TRUE IN THIS CASE. THESE ARTICLES ARE MERELY PLACED IN THE CAR AND ARE PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO THE SERVICE WHICH WILL BE RENDERED TO AUTOMOBILES IN GENERAL AND SHOULD NOT BE CHARGED TO ANY ONE CAR. A NUMBER OF OTHER ITEMS OF PURCHASE SHOULD BE SIMILARLY CONSIDERED.

SINCE THIS QUESTION FREQUENTLY ARISES IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE OR USE OF SERVICE ARTICLES USED ON OR WITH A CAR, A RULING AS TO WHAT CONSTITUTES "ACCESSORIES" IS REQUESTED. THIS DEPARTMENT IS OF THE OPINION THAT ARTICLES USED WITH A CAR BUT NOT PERMANENTLY ATTACHED TO OR NOT AN INTEGRAL PART THEREOF SHOULD NOT BE SO CLASSED. AT THE TIME OF ORIGINAL PURCHASE THE NEED FOR THESE OFTEN CAN NOT BE FORESEEN, SINCE IT IS USUALLY DICTATED BY CONDITIONS OF USE OR SAFETY REQUIREMENTS. THE ARTICLES ARE CARRIED IN WAREHOUSE STOCK, USED TEMPORARILY ON ONE AUTOMOBILE, AND RETURNED FOR USE ON OTHERS. INCLUDED IN THIS CLASS OF ARTICLES ARE THE FOLLOWING:

SKID CHAINS

FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

SAFETY FLARES

AUTO ROBES

HEATERS

SEAT COVERS.

YOUR OPINION IS, THEREFORE, REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE PURCHASE PRICE OF ARTICLES USED ON AN AUTOMOBILE BUT NOT ATTACHED TO, OR A PART OF, THE AUTOMOBILE, MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE STATUTORY PRICE LIMITATION. THIS AUTOMOBILE HAS BEEN PURCHASED FROM RIVER AND HARBOR FUNDS WHICH ARE A LUMP SUM APPROPRIATION FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENT OF RIVER AND HARBOR WORKS.

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MAY 6, 1939, 53 STAT. 682, PROVIDES:

SEC. 3. NO APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1940, WHETHER CONTAINED IN THIS ACT OR ANY OTHER ACT, SHALL BE EXPENDED---

(A) TO PURCHASE ANY MOTOR-PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLE (EXCLUSIVE OF BUSSES, AMBULANCES, AND STATION WAGONS), AT A COST, COMPLETELY EQUIPPED FOR OPERATION, AND INCLUDING THE VALUE OF ANY VEHICLE EXCHANGED, IN EXCESS OF $750, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR IN THE APPROPRIATION.

(B) FOR THE MAINTENANCE, OPERATION, AND REPAIR OF ANY GOVERNMENT OWNED MOTOR-PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLE NOT USED EXCLUSIVELY FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES; AND "OFFICIAL PURPOSES" SHALL NOT INCLUDE THE TRANSPORTATION OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES BETWEEN THEIR DOMICILES AND PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT, EXCEPT IN CASES OF MEDICAL OFFICERS ON OUT PATIENT MEDICAL SERVICES AND EXCEPT IN CASES OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES ENGAGED IN FIELD WORK THE CHARACTER OF WHOSE DUTIES MAKES SUCH TRANSPORTATION NECESSARY AND THEN ONLY AS TO SUCH LATTER CASES WHEN THE SAME IS APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED. THE LIMITATIONS OF THIS SUBSECTION (B) SHALL NOT APPLY TO ANY MOTOR VEHICLES FOR OFFICIAL USE OF THE PRESIDENT, OR OF THE HEADS OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS.

(C) FOR THE MAINTENANCE, UPKEEP, AND REPAIR (EXCLUSIVE OF GARAGE, PAY OF OPERATORS, TIRES, FUEL, AND LUBRICANTS) ON ANY ONE MOTOR PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLE, EXCEPT BUSSES AND AMBULANCES, IN EXCESS OF ONE -THIRD OF THE MARKET PRICE OF A NEW VEHICLE OF THE SAME MAKE AND CLASS AND IN NO CASE IN EXCESS OF $400.

IN 17 COMP. GEN. 640, IT WAS HELD:

THE PURCHASE OF HEATERS OR OTHER EQUIPMENT TO BE INSTALLED ON MOTOR PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES NOT PREVIOUSLY EQUIPPED WITH SUCH, IS NOT AUTHORIZED WHEN THE COST THEREOF, TOGETHER WITH ORIGINAL COST OF THE CAR AND EQUIPMENT PREVIOUSLY INSTALLED THEREON, EXCEEDS THE STATUTORY PURCHASE PRICE LIMITATION FOR PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES "COMPLETELY EQUIPPED FOR OPERATION," THE STATUTE CLEARLY INCLUDING IN THE PRICE LIMITATION, THE COST OF THE CAR AS WELL AS ALL EQUIPMENT OR ACCESSORIES, STANDARD OR OTHERWISE, INTENDED FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH ITS OPERATION AND REGARDLESS OF WHETHER FOR COMFORT, SAFETY, OR OTHER PURPOSES.

IN DECISION A-66909, NOVEMBER 22, 1935, IT WAS HELD THAT RADIOS AND FIRE EXTINGUISHERS WERE NOT TO BE CHARGED AGAINST THE $750 PURCHASE PRICE LIMITATION, BUT THAT BULLET-PROOF GLASS, GUN COMPARTMENT, SIREN, SIGNAL LIGHTS, METAL SPARE TIRE COVERS, AND HEATERS WERE INCLUDED WITHIN THAT LIMITATION. HOWEVER, THE ABOVE DECISIONS WERE, IN EFFECT, MODIFIED BY DECISION OF AUGUST 2, 1938, 18 COMP. GEN. 120, IN WHICH IT WAS HELD (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS) AS FOLLOWS:

RADIOS, SIRENS, AND SPOTLIGHTS FOR USE ON AUTOMOBILES IN THE POLICING OF BIRD RESERVES AND THE DETECTION AND APPREHENSION OF GAME LAW VIOLATORS BY THE BIOLOGICAL SURVEY IN CONNECTION WITH THE DUTIES IMPOSED BY THE VARIOUS MIGRATORY BIRD CONSERVATION ACTS, ARE NOT ITEMS OF EQUIPMENT FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH THE OPERATION OF THE CAR AS A PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLE, AND THEIR COST NEED NOT BE REGARDED AS A PART OF THE PURCHASE PRICE OF THE CARS ON WHICH INSTALLED IN APPLYING THE STATUTORY LIMITATION ON THE PURCHASE PRICE OF THE CARS. 17 COMP. GEN. 640, DISTINGUISHED.

SUMMARIZING THE ABOVE RULES, IT MAY BE STATED THAT THE $750 PURCHASE PRICE LIMITATION IS APPLICABLE TO THE COST OF ALL AUTOMOBILE ACCESSORIES REQUIRED FOR THE COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE OF THE PASSENGERS AND THE EFFICIENT OPERATION OF THE VEHICLE AS AN ORDINARY PASSENGER CARRYING VEHICLE PROVIDED SUCH ACCESSORIES, WHEN IN USE, ARE SUCH AS ORDINARILY ARE PERMANENTLY ATTACHED TO, AND BECOME A PART OF, THE VEHICLE.

OF THE ACCESSORIES LISTED IN YOUR PRESENT SUBMISSION, HEATERS MUST ORDINARILY BE INCLUDED IN THE PRICE LIMIT. 17 COMP. GEN. 640; AND A 66909, NOVEMBER 22, 1935. SKID CHAINS, FIRE EXTINGUISHERS, SAFETY FLARES, AUTO ROBES, AND REMOVABLE SEAT COVERS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE INCLUDED IN THE PRICE LIMITATION. 18 COMP. GEN. 120. THE ACCOUNT OF CAPTAIN HARVEY DELANO WILL BE REVISED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING AND CREDIT ALLOWED FOR THE PRICE OF THE SEAT COVERS, IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHER OBJECTION.