B-153688, DECEMBER 11, 1967, 47 COMP. GEN. 332

B-153688: Dec 11, 1967

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AN EMPLOYEE WHO IN THE PERFORMANCE OF TEMPORARY DUTY IS REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION AND LICENSE PLATES FOR HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE MAY BE REIMBURSED THE EXPENSES HE INCURRED IN COMPLYING WITH THE STATE STATUTE. 1967: THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 7. THE VOUCHER IS IN THE AMOUNT OF $16.22 AND REPRESENTS $2.00 FOR A NONRESIDENT CERTIFICATE OF TITLE FOR REGISTRATION OF MR. MEANS IN PERFORMING TEMPORARY DUTY IN WYOMING FOR MORE THAN 15 DAYS IN CONNECTION WITH WHICH HE USED HIS AUTOMOBILE WAS REQUIRED BY THE STATE OF WYOMING TO REGISTER HIS CAR AS DESCRIBED ABOVE. THE NONRESIDENT PROVISION OF THIS SECTION IS MADE INAPPLICABLE BY A SUBSEQUENT PROVISO REQUIRING REGISTRATION IF THE OWNER "SHALL OPERATE THE SAME FOR THE PURPOSE OF GAIN OR PROFIT TO HIMSELF OR TO OTHERS.'.

B-153688, DECEMBER 11, 1967, 47 COMP. GEN. 332

TRAVEL EXPENSES - VEHICLES - USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED - REGISTRATION AND LICENSE WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY UNDER A STATE STATUTE EXEMPTING A NONRESIDENT VEHICLE OWNER FROM THE REQUIREMENT TO REGISTER HIS AUTOMOBILE AND OBTAIN THE STATE LICENSE PLATES UNLESS THE VEHICLE WOULD BE OPERATED FOR THE GAIN OR PROFIT OF THE OWNER OR OTHERS, AN EMPLOYEE WHO IN THE PERFORMANCE OF TEMPORARY DUTY IS REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION AND LICENSE PLATES FOR HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE MAY BE REIMBURSED THE EXPENSES HE INCURRED IN COMPLYING WITH THE STATE STATUTE, THE EMPLOYEE'S USE OF HIS VEHICLE DURING THE TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT HAVING BEEN ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT IN THE TRANSACTION OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 10.5 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

TO PAUL R. SEESE, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, DECEMBER 11, 1967:

THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 7, 1967, REQUESTING OUR DECISION ON THE VOUCHER OF MR. CURTIS R. MEANS, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE PERFORMANCE OF TEMPORARY DUTY IN THE STATE OF WYOMING.

THE VOUCHER IS IN THE AMOUNT OF $16.22 AND REPRESENTS $2.00 FOR A NONRESIDENT CERTIFICATE OF TITLE FOR REGISTRATION OF MR. MEANS' AUTOMOBILE IN WYOMING AND $14.22 FOR WYOMING LICENSE PLATES. YOU INDICATE THAT MR. MEANS IN PERFORMING TEMPORARY DUTY IN WYOMING FOR MORE THAN 15 DAYS IN CONNECTION WITH WHICH HE USED HIS AUTOMOBILE WAS REQUIRED BY THE STATE OF WYOMING TO REGISTER HIS CAR AS DESCRIBED ABOVE.

WITH RESPECT TO NONRESIDENT OWNERS SECTION 31-68 OF WYOMING STATUTES OF 1957 (1965 CUMULATIVE SUPPLEMENT) PROVIDES AN EXEMPTION FOR THE OWNER OF A MOTOR VEHICLE REMAINING IN THE STATE LESS THAN 120 DAYS. HOWEVER, THE NONRESIDENT PROVISION OF THIS SECTION IS MADE INAPPLICABLE BY A SUBSEQUENT PROVISO REQUIRING REGISTRATION IF THE OWNER "SHALL OPERATE THE SAME FOR THE PURPOSE OF GAIN OR PROFIT TO HIMSELF OR TO OTHERS.' THE ASSISTANT GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE IN A LETTER TO THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF THE DEPARTMENT, DATED SEPTEMBER 29, 1967, STATED:

"IN CONSTRUING THIS LATTER CLAUSE, THE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL OF WYOMING CONCLUDED IN 1943 THAT TRAVELLING BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN LODGING AND PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT CONSTITUTED THE OPERATION OF A MOTOR VEHICLE FOR THE PURPOSE OF GAIN OR PROFIT. THERE ARE, HOWEVER, NO CASES OF WHICH WE ARE AWARE INTERPRETING THIS PROVISION. IT WOULD BE OUR VIEW THAT SUCH AN INTERPRETATION IS LEGALLY QUESTIONABLE.' THE RECORD FURTHER INDICATES, HOWEVER, THAT AS LATE AS 1962 WYOMING AUTHORITIES WERE STILL INTERPRETING AND APPLYING THE STATUTE AS THEY DID IN 1943.

OUR OFFICE HAS HAD CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF COLORADO REGARDING A SOMEWHAT SIMILAR STATUTE AND WAS ADVISED THAT A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE PERFORMING TEMPORARY DUTY IN THE STATE IN EXCESS OF THIRTY DAYS WAS CONSIDERED TO HAVE OBTAINED GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT THERE AND TO BE A RESIDENT FOR PURPOSE OF REGISTERING HIS VEHICLE.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE USE OF MR. MEANS' VEHICLE DURING HIS TEMPORARY DUTY IN WYOMING WAS DEEMED ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, THE EXPENSES INCURRED IN REGISTERING IT AND OBTAINING LICENSE PLATES TO COMPLY WITH THE WYOMING STATUTES ARE REIMBURSABLE AS OCCURRING IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSACTION OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 10.5 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.