B-179823, JUL 14, 1975

B-179823: Jul 14, 1975

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WHO FAILED TO OBTAIN RECEIPT FOR TAXICAB FARE IN EXCESS OF $15 BECAUSE HE WAS NOT AWARE A RECEIPT IS REQUIRED. C 9000 REQUIRES RECEIPTS FOR SUCH EXPENSES WHEN IT IS PRACTICABLE TO OBTAIN THEM AND THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT IT WAS IMPRACTICAL IN THIS CASE. LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALLS MADE BY EMPLOYEE WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY TO NOTIFY A RELATIVE TO PICK HIM UP AT THE AIRPORT IN A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE BECAUSE HE HAD OBTAINED RESERVATIONS ON DIFFERENT FLIGHT AND FLIGHT WAS DELAYED MAY BE ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE OFFICIAL TELEPHONE CALLS UNDER 2 JTR C 9007-2. SEC. 680A IS OBTAINED. 3. MILEAGE FOR USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WHICH WERE INCURRED BY HIM WHILE PERFORMING TEMPORARY DUTY.

B-179823, JUL 14, 1975

1. EMPLOYEE, WHO FAILED TO OBTAIN RECEIPT FOR TAXICAB FARE IN EXCESS OF $15 BECAUSE HE WAS NOT AWARE A RECEIPT IS REQUIRED, MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR THE FARE SINCE 2 JTR PARA. C 9000 REQUIRES RECEIPTS FOR SUCH EXPENSES WHEN IT IS PRACTICABLE TO OBTAIN THEM AND THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT IT WAS IMPRACTICAL IN THIS CASE. HOWEVER, SINCE HE OBTAINED A RECEIPT FOR THE RETURN TAXICAB FARE FROM THE DRIVER ON A DATED AND TIME STAMPED TAXI POOL TICKET INDICATING SERVICE RENDERED, AMOUNT PAID, AND DATE, HE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THIS EXPENSE. 2. LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALLS MADE BY EMPLOYEE WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY TO NOTIFY A RELATIVE TO PICK HIM UP AT THE AIRPORT IN A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE BECAUSE HE HAD OBTAINED RESERVATIONS ON DIFFERENT FLIGHT AND FLIGHT WAS DELAYED MAY BE ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE OFFICIAL TELEPHONE CALLS UNDER 2 JTR C 9007-2. HOWEVER, THIS EXPENSE MAY BE ALLOWED ONLY IF A CERTIFICATE AS REQUIRED BY 31 U.S.C. SEC. 680A IS OBTAINED. 3. RELATIVE OF EMPLOYEE MADE ROUND TRIP TO AIRPORT TO PICK UP EMPLOYEE RETURNING FROM TEMPORARY DUTY. HOWEVER, DUE TO DELAY OF EMPLOYEE'S FLIGHT, EMPLOYEE ACTUALLY TRAVELED FROM AIRPORT TO HIS RESIDENCE BY TAXICAB. EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR RELATIVE'S TRIP MAY NOT BE ALLOWED SINCE 2 JTR PARA. C 10153 PROVIDES FOR REIMBURSEMENT ON MILEAGE BASIS IN LIEU OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR TAXICAB FARE AND HERE EMPLOYEE HAS CLAIMED AND MAY BE ALLOWED TAXICAB FARE.

IRVAN P. COOK, JR. - TRAVEL EXPENSES: TAXICAB FARES AND TELEPHONE CALLS:

THIS ACTION INVOLVES A REQUEST FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION BY THE DEFENSE CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION SERVICES REGION, BOSTON, DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY, AS TO WHETHER AN EMPLOYEE, MR. IRVAN P. COOK, JR., MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR TAXICAB FARES, THE COST OF 2 LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALLS, AND MILEAGE FOR USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WHICH WERE INCURRED BY HIM WHILE PERFORMING TEMPORARY DUTY.

INCIDENT TO PERFORMING TEMPORARY DUTY IN MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, MR. COOK TRAVELED ON SUNDAY, MARCH 25, 1973, BY TAXICAB FROM LAWRENCE, MASSACHUSETTS, TO LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, TO CATCH A FLIGHT WHICH DEPARTED AT 2:40 P.M. THE TAXICAB FARE WAS $24, INCLUDING A $2 TIP. HOWEVER, SINCE MR. COOK WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT A RECEIPT WAS NOT NECESSARY FOR TAXICAB FARES OF LESS THAN $30, HE DID NOT OBTAIN A RECEIPT FOR THIS EXPENSE.

MR. COOK HAD PLANNED TO RETURN ON MARCH 30, 1973, BY A FLIGHT ARRIVING AT LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AT 8:21 P.M. WHICH WAS TOO LATE FOR HIS RELATIVES TO PICK HIM UP. HOWEVER, DURING HIS TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT, HE OBTAINED RESERVATIONS ON A FLIGHT ARRIVING AT LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AT 5:57 P.M. AND HE ARRANGED BY TELEPHONE TO HAVE HIS RELATIVES PICK HIM UP. HOWEVER, THIS FLIGHT WAS DELAYED SEVERAL TIMES AND MR. COOK HAS CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF TELEPHONE CALLS TO ARRANGE TO HAVE HIS RELATIVES PICK HIM UP AND TO ADVISE THEM OF THE DELAYS IN HIS FLIGHT. HE ALSO CLAIMS MILEAGE FOR A TRIP BY A RELATIVE TO LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT WHICH WAS MADE BEFORE IT WAS KNOWN THAT THE FLIGHT WOULD BE SEVERAL HOURS LATE.

MR. COOK ACTUALLY ARRIVED AT LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AT ABOUT 11:30 P.M. AND OBTAINED A TAXICAB TO TAKE HIM TO HIS HOME IN LAWRENCE. ACCORDING TO THE DRIVER, THE BOOK FARE FOR HIS TRIP WAS $26.50 AND MR. COOK GAVE HIM A TIP OF $2.50. THE DRIVER PROVIDED MR. COOK A RECEIPT ON A MASSPORT TAXICAB POOL TICKET WHICH IS DATED AND TIME STAMPED, MARCH 30, 1973, 11:21 P.M. THIS RECEIPT INDICATES THAT $29 WAS PAID FOR A TRIP FROM THE AIRPORT TO LAWRENCE. MR. COOK STATES THAT HE WAS ADVISED BY THE HUDSON BUS LINE THAT THE LAST LIMOUSINE SERVICE WOULD HAVE BEEN AT ABOUT 11 P.M. HE ALSO INDICATES THAT THERE WAS NO OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION FROM LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO LAWRENCE.

UNLESS RESTRICTED BY OFFICIALS DIRECTING TRAVEL ON THE BASIS OF AVAILABILITY OF GOVERNMENT OR COMMON CARRIER TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES, 2 JTR PARA. C 6101-1 (CHANGE 74, DECEMBER 1, 1971), PROVIDES THAT AN EMPLOYEE IN A TEMPORARY DUTY STATUS MAY USE TAXICABS BETWEEN A COMMON CARRIER TERMINAL AND HIS PLACE OF ABODE. IN THIS REGARD 2 JTR PARA. C 6101-5 (CHANGE 74, DECEMBER 1, 1971), REQUIRES THE USE OF AIRPORT LIMOUSINE SERVICE BETWEEN AN AIRPORT AND AN AIRPORT LIMOUSINE TERMINAL WHERE SUCH SERVICE IS AVAILABLE AND ITS USE IS PRACTICABLE. MOREOVER, 2 JTR PARA. C 9001-1 (CHANGE 78, APRIL 1, 1972) PROVIDES THAT IF AVAILABLE LIMOUSINE SERVICE IS NOT UTILIZED, REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE USE OF A TAXICAB WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED FOR COMBINED LIMOUSINE AND TAXICAB FARES UNLESS A STATEMENT IS FURNISHED BY THE TRAVELER THAT THE USE OF THE LIMOUSINE SERVICE WAS IMPRACTICABLE.

IN ADDITION, 2 JTR PARA. C 9000 (CHANGE 78, APRIL 1, 1972), REQUIRES AN EMPLOYEE TO FURNISH A RECEIPT FOR TAXICAB FARES WHEN THE COST EXCEEDS $15 AND IT IS PRACTICABLE TO OBTAIN A RECEIPT. THAT PROVISION ALSO PROVIDES THAT FAILURE TO FURNISH RECEIPTS MUST BE FULLY EXPLAINED ON THE VOUCHER AND THAT INADVERTENCE OR INCONVENIENCE WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED AS A SATISFACTORY EXPLANATION FOR FAILURE TO FURNISH RECEIPTS. PARAGRAPH C 10004-14E (CHANGE 86, DECEMBER 1, 1972), PROVIDES THAT RECEIPTS MUST SHOW THE PERIOD AND SERVICE RENDERED, OR ARTICLES PURCHASED AND UNIT PRICE AND MAY BE ON A RECEIPT FOR CASH SUBVOUCHER, REGULAR BILLHEAD, OR OTHER FORM OF COMMERCIAL RECEIPT.

MR. COOK HAS NOT FURNISHED A RECEIPT FOR THE TAXICAB FARE OF $24 FROM LAWRENCE TO LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. ALTHOUGH HE HAS INDICATED THAT IT IS NOT PRACTICAL TO OBTAIN A RECEIPT AT THIS TIME, HE HAS NOT SHOWN THAT IT WAS NOT PRACTICAL AT THE TIME HE PAID THE EXPENSE. HIS ONLY EXPLANATION FOR NOT OBTAINING A RECEIPT IS THAT HE DID NOT BELIEVE THAT A RECEIPT WAS NECESSARY FOR TAXICAB FARES WHEN THE COST IS LESS THAN $30. ACCORDINGLY, ABSENT A RECEIPT FOR THE TAXICAB FARE FROM LAWRENCE TO LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT OR A FURTHER EXPLANATION OF WHY A RECEIPT WAS NOT OBTAINED, HIS CLAIM FOR $24 MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

FOR THE TAXICAB FARE FROM LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO LAWRENCE OF $29, MR. COOK DID OBTAIN A RECEIPT ON A MASSPORT TAXI POOL TICKET WHICH INDICATES THAT HE PAID $29 FOR A TRIP FROM THE AIRPORT TO LAWRENCE ON MARCH 31, 1973. WE BELIEVE THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS FORM SUFFICIENTLY MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS OF 2 JTR PARA. C 10004-14E (CHANGE 86, DECEMBER 1, 1972), TO BE CONSIDERED A RECEIPT FOR REIMBURSEMENT PURPOSES. MOREOVER, MR. COOK HAS EXPLAINED THAT THE AVAILABLE LIMOUSINE SERVICE WAS IMPRACTICAL TO USE, BECAUSE THE LAST RUN ON MARCH 30, 1973, LEFT AT ABOUT 11 P.M. WHICH WAS BEFORE HIS ARRIVAL AT THE AIRPORT. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE MR. COOK'S TRAVEL ORDERS DID NOT FURTHER RESTRICT THE USE OF TAXICABS AND THE CHIEF, FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISION, DEFENSE CONTRACT AUDIT AGENCY, HAS RECOMMENDED APPROVAL OF MR. COOK'S TRAVEL VOUCHER, HIS CLAIM FOR $29 FOR TAXICAB FARE FROM LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO LAWRENCE MAY BE PAID.

CONCERNING MR. COOK'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALLS TO ARRANGE FOR RELATIVES TO PICK HIM UP AND ADVISE THEM THAT THE FLIGHT WAS DELAYED, 2 JTR PARA. C 9007-2 (CHANGE 86, DECEMBER 1, 1972), PROVIDES THAT CHARGES FOR OFFICIAL LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALLS WILL BE ALLOWED. SECTION 2.1 OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7 (AUGUST 17, 1971) PROVIDES THAT ALLOWABLE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES MAY INCLUDE OFFICIAL TELEPHONE MESSAGES IN CONNECTION WITH ITEMS CLASSED AS TRANSPORTATION. IN 44 COMP. GEN. 595 (1965), OUR OFFICE INDICATED THAT THIS PROVISION MAY BE APPLICABLE TO TELEPHONE CALLS SIMILAR TO THE ONES INVOLVED IN THIS CASE. ALTHOUGH WE ARE NOT AWARE OF A SIMILAR PROVISION IN VOLUME 2, JTR, WE BELIEVE THAT OUR DECISION AND THAT SECTION INDICATES THAT TELEPHONE CALLS OF THE TYPE INVOLVED IN THIS CASE MAY BE REGARDED AS OFFICIAL TELEPHONE CALLS UNDER 2 JTR PARA. C 9007-2 (CHANGE 86, DECEMBER 1, 1972).

HOWEVER, 31 U.S.C. SEC. 680A (1970), IMPOSES ON THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS CONCERNED THE RESPONSIBILITY OF DETERMINING WHETHER A LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALL WAS FOR PUBLIC BUSINESS OR OTHERWISE IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT. IN 44 COMP. GEN. 595, SUPRA, WE HELD THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF A CERTIFICATE AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 680A, OUR OFFICE SHOULD NOT SUBSTITUTE OUR JUDGMENT FOR THAT OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED. ALSO HELD THAT THE APPROVAL OF A TRAVEL VOUCHER DOES NOT SATISFY THE CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENT. AS TO THE FORM OF THE REQUIRED CERTIFICATE, SEE 7 GAO POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL SEC. 25.3 (TS 7-37, MARCH 31, 1970). ACCORDINGLY, OUR OFFICE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO THE PAYMENT OF MR. COOK'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSE OF LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALLS, IF A CERTIFICATE, AS REQUIRED BY 31 U.S.C. SEC. 680A (1970), IS OBTAINED.

CONCERNING MR. COOK'S CLAIM FOR A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, 2 JTR PARA. C 10153 (CHANGE 80, JUNE 1, 1972), PROVIDES THAT PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS WILL BE ALLOWED FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR ROUND TRIP MILEAGE FROM A TERMINAL TO A PLACE OF ABODE IN LIEU OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE USE OF A TAXICAB. HOWEVER, IN THE PRESENT CASE, MR. COOK HAS CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT FOR TAXICAB FARE FROM THE TERMINAL TO HIS RESIDENCE IN LAWRENCE AND WE HAVE INDICATED HEREIN THAT THIS CLAIM MAY BE PROPERLY PAID. ACCORDINGLY, HIS CLAIM FOR A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE IS NOT IN LIEU OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE USE OF A TAXICAB, AND WE ARE NOT AWARE OF ANY OTHER AUTHORITY TO REIMBURSE HIM FOR THE MILEAGE OF THE TRIP BY HIS RELATIVE TO THE AIRPORT TO PICK HIM UP BEFORE IT WAS KNOWN THAT HIS FLIGHT WAS DELAYED.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE, MR. COOK MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THE TAXICAB FARE INCURRED BY HIM IN TRAVELING FROM LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO LAWRENCE AND FOR THE LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALLS IF A CERTIFICATE AS REQUIRED BY 31 U.S.C. SEC. 680A IS OBTAINED. HOWEVER, THE REMAINDER OF HIS CLAIM MAY NOT PROPERLY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.