B-162458, OCTOBER 2, 1967, 47 COMP. GEN. 189

B-162458: Oct 2, 1967

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TO "MODE OF TRANSPORTATION" IN THE SINGULAR IS NOT INTENDED TO BE RESTRICTIVE BUT MERELY TO PROVIDE FOR THE MOST USUAL SITUATION AS MOST EMPLOYEES TRAVELING TO LOCATE A RESIDENCE GENERALLY USE THE SAME MODE OF TRANSPORTATION BOTH WAYS. OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - TEMPORARY QUARTERS - AUTOMOBILE PARKING OR STORAGE EXPENSES THE COSTS OF PARKING OR STORING AN AUTOMOBILE WHICH AN EMPLOYEE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS INCIDENT TO A CHANGE-OF-DUTY STATION PAYS SEPARATELY FROM LODGING EXPENSES ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE TO THE EMPLOYEE. OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - TEMPORARY QUARTERS - REIMBURSEMENT BASIS WHEN INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-DUTY STATION AN EMPLOYEE AND/OR HIS FAMILY ARE IN A TRAVEL STATUS AND TEMPORARY QUARTERS STATUS FOR PARTS OF THE SAME DAY.

B-162458, OCTOBER 2, 1967, 47 COMP. GEN. 189

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - TRANSPORTATION FOR HOUSE HUNTING - "ONE ROUND TRIP" LIMITATION THE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP AUTHORIZED BY PUBLIC LAW 89-516 (5 U.S.C. 5724 (A) (2) ( AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UPON AN EMPLOYEE'S CHANGE-OF-DUTY STATION MAY NOT BE EXTENDED OVER SEVERAL TRIPS, EVEN THOUGH TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES WOULD BE ALLOWED ONLY FOR THE FIRST TRIP AND THE PER DIEM FOR THE SEVERAL TRIPS WOULD NOT EXCEED THE 6-CALENDAR DAYS PRESCRIBED BY SECTION 2.4B OF THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, THE ACT AUTHORIZING ALLOWANCES "ONLY FOR ONE ROUND TRIP," AND THE REGULATIONS LIMITING THE DURATION OF AN ADVANCE ROUND TRIP TO 6-CALENDAR DAYS, INCLUDING TRAVEL TIME, CONTEMPLATING ONLY ONE ROUND TRIP AND NOT SEVERAL TRIPS, WITH THE PER DIEM EXTENDING OVER A 6-DAY PERIOD. OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - TRANSPORTATION FOR HOUSE HUNTING - MODE OF TRANSPORTATION THE ROUND TRIP TRAVEL PERFORMED BY A TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE FOR THE PURPOSE OF HOUSE HUNTING NEED NOT BE PERFORMED BY THE SAME MODE OF TRANSPORTATION, THE REFERENCE IN SECTIONS 2.4B AND 2.4C (3) OF BUDGET BUREAU CIRCULAR NO. A-56, TO "MODE OF TRANSPORTATION" IN THE SINGULAR IS NOT INTENDED TO BE RESTRICTIVE BUT MERELY TO PROVIDE FOR THE MOST USUAL SITUATION AS MOST EMPLOYEES TRAVELING TO LOCATE A RESIDENCE GENERALLY USE THE SAME MODE OF TRANSPORTATION BOTH WAYS. OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - TEMPORARY QUARTERS - AUTOMOBILE PARKING OR STORAGE EXPENSES THE COSTS OF PARKING OR STORING AN AUTOMOBILE WHICH AN EMPLOYEE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS INCIDENT TO A CHANGE-OF-DUTY STATION PAYS SEPARATELY FROM LODGING EXPENSES ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE TO THE EMPLOYEE, THE USE OF THE TERM "SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES" IN PUBLIC LAW 89-516 AND IMPLEMENTING BUREAU OF THE BUDGE REGULATIONS NOT EXTENDING TO THE GARAGING OF A VEHICLE WHEN AN EMPLOYEE OCCUPIES TEMPORARY QUARTERS, AND SECTION 3.5 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS TREATING GARAGING OR PARKING OF A VEHICLE AS A TRANSPORTATION EXPENSE. OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - TEMPORARY QUARTERS - REIMBURSEMENT BASIS WHEN INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-DUTY STATION AN EMPLOYEE AND/OR HIS FAMILY ARE IN A TRAVEL STATUS AND TEMPORARY QUARTERS STATUS FOR PARTS OF THE SAME DAY, THE MAXIMUM LIMITATION FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS ALLOWANCE UNDER SECTION 2.5 (D) (2) OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56 SHOULD BE COMPUTED BEGINNING WITH THE QUARTER DAY AFTER THE LAST QUARTER DAY FOR WHICH PER DIEM IS PAID UNDER SECTION 6.1 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. HOWEVER, WHERE THE TRAVEL TO THE NEW STATION IS UNDER 24 HOURS, THE MAXIMUM TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE SHOULD BE COMPUTED FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER ON WHICH THE PER DIEM CEASED, AND ON THE DAY AN EMPLOYEE MOVES INTO PERMANENT QUARTERS, THE FULL MAXIMUM SHOULD BE USED TO DETERMINE ENTITLEMENT REGARDLESS OF THE TIME SUCH MOVE OCCURS. OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - DEATH OR SEPARATION OF EMPLOYEE - REIMBURSEMENT BASIS WHERE A TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE PRIOR TO HIS DEATH OR SEPARATION THROUGH NO FAULT OF HIS OWN AND ACCEPTABLE TO HIS AGENCY INCURRED OR BECAME OBLIGATED FOR EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE OR SALE OF A RESIDENCE, REIMBURSEMENT UNDER PUBLIC LAW 89-516 AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS MAY BE PROPER, BUT IT IS DOUBTFUL IF REIMBURSEMENT COULD BE MADE WHERE NO EXPENSES WERE INCURRED OR BINDING OBLIGATIONS ENTERED INTO PRIOR TO THE DEATH OR SEPARATION WITHOUT FAULT OF THE EMPLOYEE. THEREFORE, CASES OF THIS NATURE SHOULD BE SUBMITTED FOR SEPARATE CONSIDERATION.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, OCTOBER 2, 1967:

THIS IS IN REPLY TO THE LETTER OF YOUR ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ADMINISTRATION OF SEPTEMBER 8, 1967, ASKING A NUMBER OF QUESTIONS CONCERNING PUB.L. 89-516, APPROVED JULY 21, 1966, 80 STAT. 323. HIS LETTER INDICATES THAT THESE QUESTIONS ARISE FROM ACTUAL AND ANTICIPATED SITUATIONS.

IN THE FIRST QUESTION INQUIRY IS MADE AS TO WHETHER A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 23 (2) OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946 (60 STAT. 806), AS ADDED BY SECTION 2 OF PUB.L. 89-516, NOW 5 U.S.C. 5724A (A) (2) MAY EXTEND OVER SEVERAL TRIPS SO LONG AS TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES ARE PAID ONLY FOR THE FIRST TRIP AND THE PER DIEM REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE SEVERAL TRIPS DOES NOT EXCEED THE 6 CALENDAR DAYS PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION 2.4B OF THE REGULATIONS CONTAINED IN ATTACHMENT A, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966.

SECTION 23 (2) OF THE ACT PROVIDES THAT EXPENSES FOR LOCATING A RESIDENCE MAY BE ALLOWED "ONLY FOR ONE ROUND TRIP.' SUBSECTION 2.4A OF THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS LIMITS REIMBURSEMENT TO ,PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES * * * FOR ONE ROUND TRIP BETWEEN THE LOCALITIES OF THE OLD AND NEW DUTY STATIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF SEEKING RESIDENCE QUARTERS * * *.' WITH RESPECT TO THE DURATION OF THE TRIP SUBSECTION 2.4B OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"B. DURATION OF TRIP. THE ADVANCE TRIP SHOULD BE ALLOWED FOR A REASONABLE PERIOD OF TIME CONSIDERING DISTANCE BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW OFFICIAL STATIONS, MODE OF TRANSPORTATION TO BE USED, AND HOUSING SITUATION AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION LOCATION. IN NO CASE WILL THE PERIOD OF THE ADVANCE ROUND TRIP AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE BE ALLOWED IN EXCESS OF 6 CALENDAR DAYS, INCLUDING TRAVEL TIME. * * *.'

BASED ON THE FOREGOING, OUR VIEW IS THAT THE STATUTE AND THE REGULATIONS CONTEMPLATE ONLY ONE ROUND TRIP, NOT SEVERAL TRIPS WITH THE PER DIEM EXTENDING OVER A SIX DAY PERIOD. ACCORDINGLY, THE FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

THE SECOND QUESTION ASKS WHETHER THE LANGUAGE OF SUBSECTIONS 2.4B AND 2.4C (3) OF THE REGULATIONS REQUIRES THAT TRAVEL IN BOTH DIRECTIONS ON A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP BE MADE BY THE SAME MODE OF TRANSPORTATION.

ALTHOUGH THE LANGUAGE OF SUBSECTIONS 2.4B AND 2.4C (3) REFERS TO MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IN THE SINGULAR IT IS NOT CONSIDERED THAT SUCH WORDS ARE INTENDED TO BE RESTRICTIVE BUT MERELY TO PROVIDE FOR THE MOST USUAL SITUATION, WHICH IS THAT THE MAJORITY OF EMPLOYEES TRAVELING TO LOCATE A RESIDENCE WOULD USE THE SAME MODE OF TRANSPORTATION BOTH WAYS. IN THIS REGARD SUBSECTION 2.4B PROVIDES THAT "IN AUTHORIZING OR ALLOWING A MODE OF TRANSPORTATION, CONSIDERATION WILL BE GIVEN TO PROVIDING MINIMUM TIME EN ROUTE AND MAXIMUM TIME AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION LOCALITY.' THE SECOND QUESTION, THEREFORE, IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

IN THE THIRD QUESTION INQUIRY IS MADE AS TO WHETHER THE COSTS OF PARKING OR STORING AN EMPLOYEE'S AUTOMOBILE WHEN PAID SEPARATELY FROM LODGING IS REIMBURSABLE AS A SEPARATE EXPENSE FOR AN EMPLOYEE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS WITHIN THE MONETARY LIMITATION OF THE REGULATIONS ALTHOUGH NOT SPECIFICALLY ENUMERATED AS A SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE IN SUBSECTION 2.5D (1) THEREOF.

5 U.S.C. 5701 DEFINES SUBSISTENCE AS "LODGING, MEALS, AND OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES FOR THE PERSONAL SUSTENANCE AND COMFORT OF THE TRAVELER.' IMPLEMENTING PUB.L. 89-516, SUBSECTION 2.5D (1) OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT "ALLOWABLE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCLUDE ONLY CHARGES FOR MEALS, LODGING, FEES AND TIPS INCIDENT TO MEALS AND LODGING, LAUNDRY, CLEANING AND PRESSING OF CLOTHING.' SECTION 6.1 OF STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS IN DEFINING PER DIEM ALLOWANCE PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"6.1 PER DIEM ALLOWANCE.--- THE PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCLUDES ALL CHARGES FOR MEALS, LODGING, PERSONAL USE OF ROOM DURING DAYTIME, BATHS, ALL FEES AND TIPS TO WAITERS, PORTERS, BAGGAGE MEN, BELLBOYS, HOTEL MAIDS, DINING ROOM STEWARDS, AND OTHERS ON VESSELS, HOTEL SERVANTS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES, TELEGRAMS AND TELEPHONE CALLS RESERVING HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS, LAUNDRY, CLEANING AND PRESSING OF CLOTHING, FANS AND FIRES IN ROOMS, AND TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN PLACES OF LODGING OR BUSINESS AND PLACES WHERE MEALS ARE TAKEN EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN SECTION 3.1C. * * *"

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE IT IS NOTED THAT IN SECTION 3.5 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS GARAGING OR PARKING OF A VEHICLE IS TREATED AS A TRANSPORTATION EXPENSE. IN OUR OPINION THE TERM "SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES" AS USED IN PUB.L. 89-516 AND THE REGULATIONS OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET DOES NOT EXTEND TO THE GARAGING OF A VEHICLE WHEN THE EMPLOYEE IS IN TEMPORARY QUARTERS. THE THIRD QUESTION, THEREFORE, IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

IN THE FOURTH QUESTION REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE UNCERTAINTY REGARDING APPLICATION OF THE LIMITATIONS ON REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES AS PRESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION 2.5D (2) OF THE REGULATIONS FOR FRACTIONAL DAYS IN A TEMPORARY QUARTERS STATUS. THE LETTER INDICATES THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A PROVISION FOR REDUCING THE LIMITATION TO FRACTIONS OF A DAY AS IS DONE WITH PER DIEM IN A TRAVEL STATUS IT IS ASSUMED IT WOULD BE PROPER TO ALLOW A FULL DAY FOR ANY DAY IN WHICH SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS ARE INCURRED. INQUIRY IS MADE AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF THIS METHOD PARTICULARLY WHEN THE EMPLOYEE AND/OR THE FAMILY ARE IN A TRAVEL STATUS AND TEMPORARY QUARTERS STATUS FOR PARTS OF THE SAME DAY. ENCLOSE COPIES OF OUR DECISIONS B-161348, MAY 31, 1967, AND B-161878, JULY 21, 1967, WHICH WE BELIEVE WILL ANSWER THIS QUESTION.

QUESTION FIVE INQUIRES AS TO THE ENTITLEMENT OF A TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE OR HIS SURVIVORS TO THE ALLOWANCES FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS WHERE THE EMPLOYEE DIES OR IS SEPARATED FOR REASONS BEYOND HIS CONTROL AND ACCEPTABLE TO HIS AGENCY BEFORE COMPLETING A TRANSACTION FOR THE SALE OR PURCHASE OF A RESIDENCE. INQUIRY IS MADE AS TO THE CORRECTNESS OF THE CONCLUSION THAT AN EMPLOYEE OR HIS HEIRS MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR MOVING EXPENSES OF THE TYPE ENUMERATED ABOVE ARISING FROM THE TRANSFER ALTHOUGH NO ACTION HAD BEEN TAKEN BY THE EMPLOYEE BEFORE HIS DEATH OR SEPARATION THAT WOULD COMMIT HIM TO BEAR THE EXPENSE. THIS QUESTION IS TOO SPECULATIVE AND BROAD TO PERMIT A DEFINITIVE ANSWER. IS NOTED, HOWEVER, THAT THE SECTION 23 (4) OF THE STATUTE AND SUBSECTIONS 4.1 AND 4.1E OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDE ONLY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES THAT HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY THE EMPLOYEE IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OR PURCHASE OF A RESIDENCE. THUS, IT MAY BE THAT REIMBURSEMENT WOULD BE PROPER IF A TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE PRIOR TO HIS DEATH OR SEPARATION THROUGH NO FAULT OF HIS OWN INCURRED CERTAIN EXPENSES OR BECAME OBLIGATED THEREON IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE OR SALE OF A RESIDENCE WHICH WOULD OTHERWISE HAVE BEEN REIMBURSABLE UNDER PUB.L. 89 516 AND THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS. HOWEVER, IF NO EXPENSES HAVE BEEN INCURRED OR BINDING OBLIGATIONS ENTERED INTO AS PROVIDED BY THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS PRIOR TO HIS DEATH OR SEPARATION THROUGH NO FAULT OF HIS OWN IT IS DOUBTFUL THAT REIMBURSEMENT COULD BE MADE. ANY ACTUAL CASES OF THIS NATURE SHOULD BE SUBMITTED HERE FOR SEPARATE CONSIDERATION.