B-171099, DEC. 2, 1970

B-171099: Dec 2, 1970

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THE CHARGING OF AN OTHERWISE PROPER TRAVEL EXPENSE TO AN EMPLOYEE'S PERSONAL CREDIT CARD IS IN THE NATURE OF A RECEIPT SO AS TO PERMIT REIMBURSEMENT. THE LOWER INSURANCE PREMIUM APPARENTLY IS RELATED TO THE USE OF HIS CREDIT CARD. WE ARE UNAWARE OF ANY VARIANCE IN COST FOR FLIGHT INSURANCE AVAILABLE TO A TRAVELER WHETHER HE USES A GTR OR PAYS CASH. THIS IS A DIFFERENT TYPE OF INSURANCE THAN THE FLIGHT INSURANCE WHICH HE SAYS MAY BE PROCURED FOR $3 PER $100. YOU REFER TO REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT TRAVEL - WHICH GENERALLY CONTEMPLATE THE USE OF A GTR FOR PASSENGER TRAVEL - WHICH ARE SET FORTH IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL FOR GUIDANCE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES.

B-171099, DEC. 2, 1970

TRAVEL ALLOWANCE REIMBURSEMENT - GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS DECISION ALLOWING PAYMENT OF TRAVEL VOUCHER SUBMITTED BY JAMES F. BARRINGTON, EMPLOYEE OF NATIONAL OCEANIC & ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION REQUESTING REIMBURSEMENT FOR $70, WHEN CLAIMANT USED A PERSONAL CREDIT CARD RATHER THAN AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS. ALTHOUGH A CHANGE IN TITLE 4, CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS INCREASING PERMISSIVE AUTHORIZATION TO PAY CASH FOR PERSONAL TRANSPORTATION FROM $15 TO $100 HAS NOT YET BEEN IMPLEMENTED, THE CHARGING OF AN OTHERWISE PROPER TRAVEL EXPENSE TO AN EMPLOYEE'S PERSONAL CREDIT CARD IS IN THE NATURE OF A RECEIPT SO AS TO PERMIT REIMBURSEMENT. IN THE FUTURE THE EMPLOYEE SHOULD FOLLOW EXISTING REGULATIONS IN THE PROCUREMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE BY USING GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS, BUT HIS PRESENT CLAIM SHOULD BE ALLOWED AND THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.

TO MR. R. P. HOGAN:

WE REFER FURTHER TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 21, 1970, REFERENCE AD571, REQUESTING A DECISION ON THE REIMBURSEMENT OF $70 TO JAMES F. BARRINGTON WHERE INCIDENT TO TEMPORARY DUTY HE USED A CREDIT CARD TO OBTAIN TRANSPORTATION RATHER THAN AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS (GTR).

MR. BARRINGTON PROPOSES THAT THE USE OF A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST SHOULD NOW BE OPTIONAL WITH THE TRAVELER. HE URGES THAT SINCE THE GOVERNMENT NOW PAYS THE TAX ON TRANSPORTATION THE ADVANTAGE OF AND REQUIREMENT FOR USING A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST HAS DISAPPEARED. HE STATES THAT AS A HOLDER OF AN AMERICAN EXPRESS CREDIT CARD HE CAN OBTAIN NOT ONLY AIR TRANSPORTATION BUT ALSO FLIGHT INSURANCE AT A LOWER RATE THAN IF HE USES A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST. THE LOWER INSURANCE PREMIUM APPARENTLY IS RELATED TO THE USE OF HIS CREDIT CARD. WE ARE UNAWARE OF ANY VARIANCE IN COST FOR FLIGHT INSURANCE AVAILABLE TO A TRAVELER WHETHER HE USES A GTR OR PAYS CASH. MOREOVER, WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE COST OF A $60,000 INSURANCE POLICY FOR TEN DAYS ($14.25) REFERRED TO BY MR. BARRINGTON. APPARENTLY, THIS IS A DIFFERENT TYPE OF INSURANCE THAN THE FLIGHT INSURANCE WHICH HE SAYS MAY BE PROCURED FOR $3 PER $100,000 OF COVERAGE.

YOU REFER TO REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT TRAVEL - WHICH GENERALLY CONTEMPLATE THE USE OF A GTR FOR PASSENGER TRAVEL - WHICH ARE SET FORTH IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL FOR GUIDANCE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES, TITLE 5, SECTIONS 2010 TO 2085 AND ARE ALSO PUBLISHED IN TITLE 4, CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS, SECTIONS 51.1 TO 51.70. SECTION 51.2 PROVIDES THAT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS ARE TO BE UTILIZED TO PROCURE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN THE REGULATIONS OR AS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED IN WRITING BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES. SECTION 51.15 PERMITS CASH PAYMENTS UP TO $15 BY AN EMPLOYEE TO PROCURE TRANSPORTATION. SINCE THE AMOUNT HERE INVOLVED IS IN EXCESS OF $15 YOU EXPRESS DOUBT AS TO REIMBURSEMENT THEREOF.

THE JOINT AGENCY TRANSPORTATION STUDY CONDUCTED UNDER THE SPONSORSHIP OF JOINT FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM - FEDERAL STOCK NUMBER 7610 -181-7322 - HAS RECOMMENDED THAT THE EXISTING PERMISSIVE AUTHORIZATION TO PAY IN CASH FOR PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES BE INCREASED FROM $15 TO $100 PLUS FEDERAL TAX FOR TRANSPORTATION WITHIN THE 50 STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. IMPLEMENTATION OF THAT RECOMMENDATION HAS NOT YET BEEN ACCOMPLISHED. AT THE PRESENT TIME NO CHANGE IN THE REGULATIONS IS CONTEMPLATED SO AS TO NOT REQUIRE USE OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS. THE FACT THAT GOVERNMENT AGENCIES MUST NOW PAY THE TRANSPORTATION TAX ON TICKETS PROCURED BY GTRS IS NOT THE ONLY REASON FOR REQUIRING USE OF GTRS. SEE B-150282, MAY 22, 1967, COPY HEREWITH.

ALTHOUGH IT IS QUITE CLEAR THAT THERE IS NO BASIS FOR THE USE OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS AT THE OPTION OF THE TRAVELER AS SUGGESTED BY MR. BARRINGTON, WE DO NOT BELIEVE HE SHOULD BE DENIED REIMBURSEMENT OF THE AMOUNT INVOLVED FOR THAT REASON. MOREOVER, IT HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED THAT THE CHARGING OF AN OTHERWISE PROPER TRAVEL EXPENSE TO AN EMPLOYEE'S PERSONAL CREDIT CARD IS IN THE NATURE OF A RECEIPT SO AS TO PERMIT REIMBURSEMENT TO THE EMPLOYEE. 39 COMP. GEN. 164. HOWEVER, IN THE FUTURE MR. BARRINGTON SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO FOLLOW EXISTING REGULATIONS IN THE PROCUREMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE.

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