B-174683, JAN 12, 1972

B-174683: Jan 12, 1972

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IT IS THE OPINION OF THE COMP. THAT THE AVERAGE LODGING COST SHOULD BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF THE NUMBER OF NIGHTS FOR WHICH LODGING WAS REQUIRED. THE PER DIEM RATE OBTAINED MAY THEN BE USED TO COMPENSATE FOR FRACTIONAL DAYS WHEN LODGING IS NOT REQUIRED. BRADFORD MILLS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF DECEMBER 2. FOR TRAVEL IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES WHEN LODGING AWAY FROM THE OFFICIAL STATION IS REQUIRED. IF THE RESULT IS NOT IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM. WILL BE THE PER DIEM RATE TO BE APPLIED TO THE TRAVELER'S REIMBURSEMENT. THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS ARE ASKED IN CONNECTION WITH A VOUCHER COVERING 4 3/4 DAYS AND INVOLVING 4 NIGHTS OF LODGING: 1. IS THE TOTAL COSTS OF LODGINGS DIVIDED BY 4 OR BY 4 3/4? 2.

B-174683, JAN 12, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - PER DIEM - METHOD OF COMPUTATION CONCERNING THE PROPER METHOD OF COMPUTING PER DIEM UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 6.3C, OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-7. IT IS THE OPINION OF THE COMP. GEN. THAT THE AVERAGE LODGING COST SHOULD BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF THE NUMBER OF NIGHTS FOR WHICH LODGING WAS REQUIRED. THE PER DIEM RATE OBTAINED MAY THEN BE USED TO COMPENSATE FOR FRACTIONAL DAYS WHEN LODGING IS NOT REQUIRED.

TO MR. BRADFORD MILLS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF DECEMBER 2, 1971, FROM MR. RAYMOND C. CONKLIN, COUNSEL, OF YOUR CORPORATION, REQUESTING A RULING AS TO THE PROPER METHOD OF COMPUTING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 6.3C, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A -7, AUGUST 17, 1971.

THE LETTER POINTS OUT THAT SECTION 6.3C OF THE CIRCULAR PROVIDES THAT, FOR TRAVEL IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES WHEN LODGING AWAY FROM THE OFFICIAL STATION IS REQUIRED, AGENCIES SHALL FIX PER DIEM FOR EMPLOYEES PARTLY ON THE BASIS OF THE AVERAGE AMOUNT THE TRAVELER PAYS FOR LODGINGS. TO SUCH AMOUNT, I.E., THE AVERAGE OF AMOUNTS PAID FOR LODGING WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS DURING THE PERIOD COVERED BY THE VOUCHER, SHALL BE ADDED A SUITABLE ALLOWANCE FOR MEALS AND MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES. THE RESULTING AMOUNT ROUNDED TO THE NEXT WHOLE DOLLAR, IF THE RESULT IS NOT IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM, WILL BE THE PER DIEM RATE TO BE APPLIED TO THE TRAVELER'S REIMBURSEMENT. SINCE THE REGULATION CONTAINS NO PROVISION PERTAINING TO THE COMPUTATION OF THE AVERAGE OF AMOUNTS PAID FOR LODGINGS, THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS ARE ASKED IN CONNECTION WITH A VOUCHER COVERING 4 3/4 DAYS AND INVOLVING 4 NIGHTS OF LODGING:

1. IS THE TOTAL COSTS OF LODGINGS DIVIDED BY 4 OR BY 4 3/4?

2. IF THE DIVISOR IS 4 FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPUTING THE AVERAGE COSTS OF LODGING, MAY THE PER DIEM RATE THUS COMPUTED (I.E., AVERAGE COST OF LODGINGS PLUS ALLOWANCE FOR MEALS) BE UTILIZED FOR THE ENTIRE 4 3/4 DAYS DURATION OF THE TRAVEL IN COMPUTING THE TOTAL REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUBSISTENCE?

OUR VIEW IS THAT THE REGULATION IN QUESTION CONTEMPLATES OBTAINING AN AVERAGE LODGING COST ON THE BASIS OF THE NIGHTS THAT LODGING IS REQUIRED. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE VOUCHER IN THE INSTANT CASE INVOLVES 4 NIGHTS OF LODGING, THE TOTAL COSTS OF LODGING SHOULD BE DIVIDED BY 4.

REGARDING THE SECOND QUESTION, SECTION 6.3C OF THE CIRCULAR PROVIDES FOR OBTAINING A PER DIEM RATE WHEN LODGINGS ARE REQUIRED AND CONTAINS NO REQUIREMENT THAT A SECOND RATE BE OBTAINED FOR FRACTIONAL DAYS WHEN LODGINGS ARE NOT REQUIRED. THEREFORE, IT APPEARS THAT THE PER DIEM RATE OBTAINED COVERS THE ENTIRE PERIOD AND SUCH RATE MAY BE UTILIZED FOR THE ENTIRE 4 3/4 DAYS TRAVEL PERIOD IN COMPUTING THE TOTAL SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE.