B-44209, SEPTEMBER 25, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 257

B-44209: Sep 25, 1944

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THE COSTS OF RADIO BATTERIES AND MAINTENANCE (WHICH ARE NOT MENTIONED IN SAID PARAGRAPH 12 AS REIMBURSABLE ITEMS) INCIDENT TO THE OPERATION OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AIRPLANE WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED AS ITEMS OF ACTUAL EXPENSE. EVEN THOUGH SUCH COSTS ARE NOT "SPECULATIVE" BUT ARE THE DIRECT RESULT OF. F. ALLEN FOR THE STATED REASON THAT: WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AIRPLANE. THE ABOVE CLAIMS ARE SUSPENDED PENDING ABOVE INFORMATION. WAS DIRECTED TO BE PERFORMED BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. 1600-156. STEVENS USED HIS AIRPLANE IN PERFORMING THIS TRAVEL AND HAS SHOWN ON HIS RECLAIM VOUCHER THAT THE ACTUAL COST OF ITS OPERATION WAS $61.77.

B-44209, SEPTEMBER 25, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 257

TRAVELING EXPENSES - USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AIRPLANE - COMMUTATION, ETC. IN THE ABSENCE OF A STATUTE SO PROVIDING, TRAVELING EXPENSES MAY NOT BE COMMUTED, AND, THEREFORE, REIMBURSEMENT TO AN EMPLOYEE FOR THE COST OF TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AIRPLANE MAY NOT BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF COMMUTATION TO COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER BUT MAY BE MADE ONLY ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS, NOT TO EXCEED COST BY COMMON CARRIER, AS PROVIDED BY PARAGRAPH 12 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. IN VIEW OF THE PARTICULARITY WITH WHICH PARAGRAPH 12 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS SPECIFIES THE ITEMS OF COST WHICH AN EMPLOYEE USING A PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS MAY BE REIMBURSED, THE COSTS OF RADIO BATTERIES AND MAINTENANCE (WHICH ARE NOT MENTIONED IN SAID PARAGRAPH 12 AS REIMBURSABLE ITEMS) INCIDENT TO THE OPERATION OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AIRPLANE WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED AS ITEMS OF ACTUAL EXPENSE, EVEN THOUGH SUCH COSTS ARE NOT "SPECULATIVE" BUT ARE THE DIRECT RESULT OF, AND DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL TO, THE ACTUAL HOURS OF OPERATION OF THE AIRPLANE. WHERE, BECAUSE OF HIS MISTAKEN BELIEF THAT HE WOULD BE REIMBURSED ON A COMMUTED RATHER THAN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS, AN EMPLOYEE FAILED TO OBTAIN RECEIPTS FOR GASOLINE AND OIL USED IN THE OPERATION OF HIS AIRPLANE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, HE MAY BE REIMBURSED ON THE BASIS OF AN ESTIMATE OF THE COSTS OF THE GASOLINE AND OIL AS DETERMINED FROM THE UNIT PRICES THEREFOR, THE HOURLY CONSUMPTION RATES STATED BY THE EMPLOYEE, AND THE FLYING TIME.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO GUY W. LANE, WAR PRODUCTION BOARD, SEPTEMBER 25, 1944:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 29, 1944, WHEREIN YOU REQUEST ADVICE AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A RECLAIM VOUCHER SUBMITTED BY ROGER B. STEVENS IN THE AMOUNT OF $44.92, COVERING SUBWAY AND BUS FARES AMOUNTING TO $1.15, AND THE COST OF TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AIRPLANE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE, VIA NEW YORK, NEW YORK, AND RETURN, COMMUTED TO THE COST BY COMMON CARRIER, $43.77, THE LATTER AMOUNT HAVING BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DEDUCTED FROM VOUCHER 13506, JULY 1944 ACCOUNTS OF G. F. ALLEN FOR THE STATED REASON THAT:

WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AIRPLANE, HE MAY BE REIMBURSED ONLY ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF AVAILABLE COMMON CARRIER, AND SUCH CLAIMS MUST BE SUPPORTED BY A STATEMENT OF EXPENSES ACTUALLY INCURRED AND RECEIPTS FURNISHED WHERE PRACTICABLE. 20 C.G. 363, 23 C.G. 101. THEREFORE, THE ABOVE CLAIMS ARE SUSPENDED PENDING ABOVE INFORMATION, BUT MAY BE RECLAIMED, IF PROPERLY SUBSTANTIATED, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 85 (C), AND 88, S.G.T.R.

THE TRAVEL TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK, MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE, AND RETURN, WAS DIRECTED TO BE PERFORMED BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. 1600-156, DATED JUNE 2, 1944, WHICH AUTHORIZED THE USE OF A PRIVATELY-OWNED AIRPLANE ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS NOT TO EXCEED COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER. MR. STEVENS USED HIS AIRPLANE IN PERFORMING THIS TRAVEL AND HAS SHOWN ON HIS RECLAIM VOUCHER THAT THE ACTUAL COST OF ITS OPERATION WAS $61.77, CONSISTING OF LANDING AND HANGAR CHARGES TOTALING $9.50, AND OPERATING COSTS OF $52.27 COMPUTED BY MULTIPLYING THE TIME IN HOURS THE AIRPLANE WAS OPERATED BY THE AVERAGE HOURLY OPERATING COSTS OF $4.02, THE HOURLY OPERATING COST BEING BROKEN DOWN INTO ITEMS, AS FOLLOWS:

GASOLINE AND OIL--- GASOLINE CONSUMPTION 4.5 GALLONS AN HOUR AT 30 CENTS A GALLON AND OIL CONSUMPTION ONE QUART EACH FIVE HOURS AT 35 CENTS A QUART --------------------------------------------------$1.42

RADIO/BATTERIES--- $19 PER SET--- LIFE 20 HOURS OF OPERATION- .95

MAINTENANCE--- 25 HOUR CHECK AT $20, 100 HOUR CHECK AT $45, AND MAJOR OVERHAUL AT $160 (400 HOURS OPERATION/------------------------- 1.65

IN SUBMITTING HIS CLAIM THE TRAVELER CONTENDS THAT THE COSTS LISTED UNDER MAINTENANCE AND RADIO SHOULD NOT BE CONFUSED WITH THE SO-CALLED "SPECULATIVE COSTS" CITED IN THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AS BEING NONALLOWABLE SINCE THEY WERE INCURRED TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF FEDERAL LAWS AND THE WAR SECURITY REGULATIONS AND SINCE THEY ARE THE DIRECT RESULT OF, AND ARE IN DIRECT PROPORTION TO, THE ACTUAL HOURS OF OPERATION OF THE AIRCRAFT. YOUR LETTER APPEARS TO SUPPORT, GENERALLY THOSE CONTENTIONS.

REGARDING HIS FAILURE TO FURNISH RECEIPTS THE TRAVELER EXPLAINS THAT IT WAS HIS UNDERSTANDING AT THE TIME HE STARTED THE TRIP THAT REIMBURSEMENT WOULD BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF COMMUTATION OF RAIL FARE AND THAT, THEREFORE, HE DID NOT PROCURE RECEIPTS. IN SUPPORT OF THE COSTS INCLUDED FOR GASOLINE AND OIL HE CLAIMS THAT THE CONSUMPTION RATE AND PRICES USED ARE BASED UPON EXPERIENCE WITH HIS PARTICULAR AIRPLANE AND MAY BE CHECKED WITH THE RECORDS OF THE ECONOMICS DIVISION OF THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION WHICH HAS ON FILE COMPLETE INFORMATION RELATIVE TO FUEL CONSUMPTION AND OPERATING COSTS FOR ALL TYPES OF CIVIL AIRCRAFT.

IN THE ABSENCE OF A STATUTE SO PROVIDING IT IS NOT PERMISSIBLE TO COMMUTE TRAVELING EXPENSES AND, THEREFORE, WHEN AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY HIS PRIVATELY-OWNED AIRPLANE HE MAY BE REIMBURSED ONLY UPON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS NOT TO EXCEED THE COST BY AVAILABLE COMMON CARRIER AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 12, STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. 18 COMP. GEN. 588. THE ACTUAL EXPENSES PROVIDED FOR IN SAID PARAGRAPH OF THE REGULATIONS ARE "THE COST OF GASOLINE, OIL, AND FEED OF HORSES, AND IN ADDITION THERETO GARAGE OR HANGAR RENT AND STABLING OF HORSES, WHILE OFFICIALLY DETAINED EN ROUTE, AND BRIDGE, FERRY, AND OTHER TOLLS.' THE SAME PARAGRAPH OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT "CHARGES FOR REPAIRS, DEPRECIATION, REPLACEMENTS, GREASE, ALCOHOL, FLUSHING CRANK CASES, TOWAGE, AND LIKE SPECULATIVE EXPENSES WILL NOT BE ALLOWED.'

WHETHER THAT PART OF THE OPERATING EXPENSE COVERING RADIO BATTERIES AND COMPUTED AT THE RATE OF 95 CENTS AN HOUR IS SPECULATIVE EXPENSE WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE EXCEPTED ITEMS IN PARAGRAPH 12 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS IS NOT THE POINT FOR DECISION. NEITHER IS IT MATERIAL WHETHER THAT PART COVERING MAINTENANCE AND COMPUTED AT $1.65 AN HOUR IS AN ACTUAL OR SPECULATIVE EXPENSE. AS STATED IN 15 COMP. GEN. 270, TO WHICH YOU REFER, THE REGULATIONS SPECIFY WITH PARTICULARITY THE ITEMS OF COST FOR WHICH AN EMPLOYEE WILL BE REIMBURSED ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS. IN THAT CONNECTION IT WAS STATED IN 23 COMP. GEN. 212, AT PAGE 214 THAT:

* * * IN THE STANDARDIZED REGULATIONS * * * IN THE EFFORT TO MAKE TRAVEL EXPENSES UNIFORM THROUGHOUT THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE THE ITEMS TO BE REIMBURSED WERE LISTED WITH PARTICULARITY, AND IT WAS NOT LEFT TO THE DISCRETION OF THE EMPLOYEE TRAVELING, OR HIS DEPARTMENT HEAD, OR THIS OFFICE, TO ALLOW EVEN NECESSARY ITEMS NOT PROVIDED FOR BY REGULATIONS.

THE COSTS FOR PERIODIC CHECKING AND OVERHAULING ONE'S OWN CONVEYANCE ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE SPECIFIED ITEMS. THIS OFFICE HAS NO AUTHORITY TO AUTHORIZE THE REIMBURSEMENT OF AN EXPENSE NOT PROVIDED FOR BY LAW OR REGULATION. IF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS DO NOT LIST ALL PROPER ITEMS OF EXPENSE THE APPROPRIATE REMEDY IS TO PROPOSE A REVISION OF PARAGRAPH 12 OR TO SUBMIT TO THE CONGRESS A PROPOSAL FOR LEGISLATION TO SANCTION A COMMUTATION OF SUCH COSTS UPON A MILEAGE, HOURLY, OR OTHER BASIS. 23 COMP. GEN. 99-102.

THE EXPENSES FOR GASOLINE AND OIL ARE CLAIMED ON AN ESTIMATED CONSUMPTION BASIS INSTEAD OF AN ACTUAL COST BASIS. IN THOSE CASES WHERE A TRAVELER USED HIS OWN CONVEYANCE AND RELIED UPON REIMBURSEMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS, IT HAS BEEN THE PRACTICE TO PERMIT A CLAIM TO BE ASSERTED UPON AN ESTIMATED BASIS SUPPORTED BY SUCH INFORMATION AS THE MAKE OF THE CAR, AVERAGE CONSUMPTION, ETC. THE SAME PRINCIPLE MAY BE APPLIED TO THE PRESENT CASE INVOLVING THE USE OF AN AIRPLANE. AS MR. STEVENS ALLEGES THAT HE UNDERSTOOD HE WAS TO BE REIMBURSED ON THE BASIS OF COMMON CARRIER COSTS, AND SINCE THE CONSUMPTION OF GASOLINE AND OIL- - 58 1/2 GALLONS AND 2 3/5 QUARTS, RESPECTIVELY--- AS DETERMINED FROM THE STATED RATES OF CONSUMPTION AND THE TIME APPEAR REASONABLE IN RELATION TO THE FLYING TIME, THAT PART OF THE ESTIMATED OPERATING COST COVERING SUCH EXPENSES MAY BE ALLOWED IN THE AMOUNT OF $18.46, THAT IS, 58 1/2 AND 2 3/5 TIMES THE RESPECTIVE UNIT PRICES OF 30 CENTS AND 35 CENTS RESPECTIVELY.

THE FAILURE TO FURNISH RECEIPTS AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH 80 (H) OF THE REGULATIONS OR TO CLAIM EXEMPTION FOR POSSIBLE STATE GASOLINE TAX AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH 12 NEED NOT BE QUESTIONED IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE IN VIEW OF THE SAME MISUNDERSTANDING REGARDING THE REIMBURSEMENT BASIS, THE SMALL AMOUNT OF TAX WHICH MIGHT BE INVOLVED, AND THE IMPRACTICABILITY NOW OF FURNISHING RECEIPTS.

THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER DOES NOT SHOW THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH PAYMENT IS TO BE MADE; HOWEVER, IT IS ASSUMED THE APPROPRIATION FOR CHARGING IS THAT SHOWN ON THE ORIGINAL VOUCHER, I. E., " SALARIES AND EXPENSES, WAR PRODUCTION BOARD, 1944.'

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE, AND SINCE THE ALLOWABLE EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRAVEL BY THE EMPLOYEE'S OWN AIRPLANE ARE LESS THAN THOSE WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD THE TRAVEL BEEN BY AVAILABLE COMMON CARRIER, YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO CERTIFY THE VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, IN THE AMOUNT OF $29.11, REPRESENTING SUBWAY AND BUS FARES, LANDING AND HANGAR CHARGES, AND THE COST OF GASOLINE AND OIL.