B-180773, AUG 8, 1974

B-180773: Aug 8, 1974

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EMPLOYEE ASSIGNED TEMPORARY DUTY AT LOCATION 27 MILES FROM HIS RESIDENCE MAY BE REIMBURSED ROUND TRIP MILEAGE WHERE HIS WIFE DROVE HIM TO THE TEMPORARY DUTY LOCATION AND THEN RETURNED HOME SINCE EMPLOYEE WAS REQUIRED TO REMAIN AT TDY POINT AND COULD NOT RETURN HOME AND IT IS SHOWN THAT ROUND-TRIP MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT IS LESS THAN COST OF COMMON CARRIER ONE- WAY TO DY POINT. WHILE IT IS RECOGNIZED THAT SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT DO NOT AUTOMATICALLY JUSTIFY REIMBURSEMTNT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES. ACTIONS OF TRAVELER WERE REASONABLE. BERTI WAS ASSIGNED TO ATTEND AN EXECUTIVE SEMINAR AT KINGS POINT. WAS DRIVEN TO KINGS POINT IN HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTHOMOBILE BY HIS WIFE. BERTI'S RESIDENCE TO KINGS POINT IS 27 MILES.

B-180773, AUG 8, 1974

EMPLOYEE ASSIGNED TEMPORARY DUTY AT LOCATION 27 MILES FROM HIS RESIDENCE MAY BE REIMBURSED ROUND TRIP MILEAGE WHERE HIS WIFE DROVE HIM TO THE TEMPORARY DUTY LOCATION AND THEN RETURNED HOME SINCE EMPLOYEE WAS REQUIRED TO REMAIN AT TDY POINT AND COULD NOT RETURN HOME AND IT IS SHOWN THAT ROUND-TRIP MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT IS LESS THAN COST OF COMMON CARRIER ONE- WAY TO DY POINT. WHILE IT IS RECOGNIZED THAT SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT DO NOT AUTOMATICALLY JUSTIFY REIMBURSEMTNT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES, UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES AND IN LIGHT OF ALTERNATIVES AVAILABLE, ACTIONS OF TRAVELER WERE REASONABLE.

ALBERT J. BERTI - MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT:

THIS MATTER INVOLVES A REQUEST FROM AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER IN THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE FOR A DECISION AS TO WHETHER A RECLAIM VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $11.88 SUBMITTED BY MR. ALBERT J. BERTI, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, AMY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT MR. BERTI WAS ASSIGNED TO ATTEND AN EXECUTIVE SEMINAR AT KINGS POINT, NEW YORK, DURING THE PERIOD FROM SEPTEMBER 9 THROUGH 21, 1973. MR. BERTI DEPARTED FROM HIS RESIDENCE IN HUNTINGTON, NEW YORK, ON SEPTEMBER 9, 1973, AND WAS DRIVEN TO KINGS POINT IN HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTHOMOBILE BY HIS WIFE. THE ONE WAY MILEAGE FROM MR. BERTI'S RESIDENCE TO KINGS POINT IS 27 MILES. HOWEVER, SINCE MRS. BERTI RETURNED HOME AFTER LEAVING HER HUSBAND IN KINGS POINT, A CLAIM WAS MADE FOR ROUND TRIP MILEAGE OF 54 MILES. MR. BERTI ALSO CLAIMED ROUND TRIP MILEAGE BETWEEN HIS RESIDENCE AND KINGS POINT FOR TRAVEL ON THE DATES OF SEPTEMBER 14, 16 AND 21 WHEN MR.S BERTI PICKED HIM UP IN KINGS POINT FOR THE WEEKEND, RETURNED HIM TO KINGS POINT FOR THE SECOND WEEK OF THE SEMINAR, AND THEN PICKED HIM UP AGAIN AT THE SEMINAR'S CONCLUSION.

WHEN MR. BERTI SUBMITTED HIS ORIGINAL TRAVEL VOUCHER HIS AGENCY DISALLOWED THE MILEAGE CLAIMS FOR ONE-HALF OF EACH ROUND TRIP REPRESENTING THAT PART OF EACH TRIP THAT MRS. BERTI EITHER RETURNED BY HERSELF TO HER RESIDENCE OR DROVE TO KINGS POINT TO MEET MR. BERTI. THOSE DISALLOWED AMOUNTS ARE BEING RECLAIMED BY MR. BERTI.

THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE POINTS OUT THAT SECTION 1-4.2C OF THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REULATIONS AUTHORIZES MILEAGE REIMBUSEMENT FOR A ROUND TRIP BY A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FROM A RESIDENCE OR A PLACE OF BUSINESS TO A TERMINAL OR FROM A TERMINAL TO A RESIDENCE OR PLACE OF BUSINESS IN LIEU OF A TAXICAB WHEN THE AMOUNT OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ROUND TRIP DOES NOT EXCEED THE TAXICAB FARE. IT IS STATED THAT ON THE BASIS OF THAT REGULATION MR. BERTI'S CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED SINCE KINGS POINT WAS A TEMPORARY DUTY POINT AND NOT A TERMINAL OR DEPOT WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE REGULATIONS. FURTHER, IT IS STATED THAT WHILE MR. BERTI'S CONTENTION THAT HAD HE USED COMMON CARRIER TO TRAVEL TO AND FROM KINGS POINT THE COST FOR ONE WAY TRANSPORTATION WOULD HAVE EXCEEDED HIS ROUND TRIP MILEAGE CLAIM CANNOT BE DISPUTED, IT IS FELT THAT TRAVEL EXPENSES CANNOT AUTOMATICALLY BECOME REIMBUSABLE BY VIRTUE OF A "CALCULATED" SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT. IT IS ALSO FELT THAT ALLOWANCE OF MR. BERTI'S CLAIM WOULD RAISE QUESTIONS OF POLICY IN FUTURE CASES SUCH AS WHETHER THERE SHOULD BE A DISTANCE LIMITATION IN MAKING THE COMPARISON BETWEEN THE COST OF THE ROUND TRIP MILEAGE AND THE COST OF COMMON CARRIER AND WHICH MODES OF COMMON CARRIER TRANSPORTATION SHOULD BE USED IN MAKING SUCH COMPARISONS.

THE SECTION OF THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS TO WHICH THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE REFERS, SECTION 1-4.2C AUTHORIZES MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT FOR A ROUND TRIP BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE TO OR FROM A COMMON CARRIER TERMINAL WHEN SUCH REIMBURSEMENT DOES NOT EXCEED THE TAXICAB FARE ALLOWABLE FOR A ONE-WAY TRIP BETWEEN THE APPLICABLE POINTS. ALTHOUGH THERE ARE NO SIMILAR PROVISIONS IN THE REGULATIONS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF ROUND TRIP MILEAGE BETWEEN A RESIDENCE AND A TEMPORARY DUTY POINT, GENERALLY TEMPORARY DUTY SIMILAR TO THAT INVOLVED HEREIN, WHERE THE EMPLOYEE REMAINS AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY LOCATION AND DOES NOT RETURN TO HIS RESIDENCE EACH NIGHT, INVOLVES DISTANCES MUCH GREATER THAN THE 27 MILES INVOLVED IN THIS CASE.

IN MR. BERTI'S CASE THE NATURE OF THE SEMINAR WAS SUCH THAT MR. BERTI WAS REQUIRED TO REMAIN AT KINGS POINT DURING THE WEEK AND COULD NOT RETURN HOME EACH NIGHT. IN ORDER TO TRAVEL TO THAT POINT HE HAD GENERALLY THREE ALTERNATIVES AVAILABLE TO HIM: HE COULD HAVE TRAVELED TO KINGS POINT BY COMMON CARRIER; DRIVEN HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE HIMSELF TO KINGS POINT AND KEPT IT THERE DURING THE WEEK, THUS PRECLUDING HIS FAMILY FROM USING IT; OR, AS HE DID, HE COULD HAVE HAD A MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY DRIVE HIM TO KINGS POINT AND RETURN HOME.

WE BELIEVE THAT THE CHOICE MADE BY MR. BERTI WAS LOGICAL AND PRUDENT UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND NOTE THAT PAYMENT OF HIS CLAIM FOR ROUND TRIP MILEAGE WOULD COST THE GOVERNMENT LESS THAN IF MR. BERTI HAD TRAVELED BY COMMON CARRIER. AND WHILE WE AGREE WITH THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE THAT TRAVEL EXPENSES CANNOT AUTOMATICALLY BECOME REIMBURSABLE BY VIRTUE OF A CALCULATED SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT, WE BELIEVE THAT INHERENT IN THE REGULATIONS AND IN THE AUTHORITY FOR VARIOUS MODES OF TRAVEL (SUCH AS IN SECTION 1-4.2C) IS A RECOGNITION THAT NOT ONLY MAY A MODE OF TRANSPORTATION CHOSEN BY A TRAVELER BE MORE CONVENIENT FOR HIM (E.G. A CHOICE TO USE A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE TO TRAVEL TO A COMMON CARRIER TERMINAL RATHER THAN A TAXICAB), SUCH TRAVEL MAY RESULT IN A SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT THEREFORE, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS CASE, AND IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT TRAVEL TO THE TEMPORARY DUTY POINT BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE WAS AUTHORIZED, WE WOULD HAVE NO OBJECTION TO REIMBURSING MR. BERTI FOR THE ROUND TRIP MILEAGE CLAIMED.

AS TO THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE'S QUESTIONS REGARDING FUTURE APPLICATION OF SUCH RULE, WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT A FLAT DISTANCE LIMITATION SHOULD BE PLACED ON SUCH REIMBURSEMENT ALTHOUGH GENERALLY WE IMAGINE THAT IT WOULD ONLY BE APPLICABLE IN SITUATIONS SUCH AS THE INSTANT CASE WHERE THE TEMPORARY DUTY POINT IS A RELATIVELY SHORT DISTANCE AWAY AND THE EMPLOYEE CANNOT RETURN TO HIS RESIDENCE ON A DAILY BASIS. EACH SITUATION MUST BE REVIEWED ON ITS OWN MERITS AND THE FACTORS CURRENTLY APPLIED IN AUTHORIZING TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL, INCLUDING COST, CONVENIENCE TO THE GOVERNMENT AND CONVENIENCE TO THE TRAVELER, TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT. MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT WOULD, OF COURSE, BE LIMITED TO ONE-WAY COST OF TRANSPORTATION BY COMMON CARRIER. THE MODE OF COMMON CARRIER TRANSPORTATION USED FOR COMPARATIVE PURPOSES WOULD BE THAT MODE WHICH WOULD BE AUTHORIZED FOR USE BY AN EMPLOYEE WHO DID NOT DRIVE AND WHO WAS TRAVELING TO THE SAME TEMPORARY DUTY POINT.