Request for Reimbursement for Rental Car Expenses

B-197960: Aug 6, 1980

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GAO was asked to determine whether orders authorizing a house-hunting trip may be modified retroactively to provide for reimbursement for rental car expenses for local travel. An employee of the General Services Administration asked for expenses incurred in connection with his transfer from New York to San Francisco. The travel order issued to the employee authorized a round trip to seek residence quarters, with travel to and from San Francisco to be performed by air. The employee's claim for the expense of a commercially rented automobile for local travel while house hunting in San Francisco was denied because the travel order did not specifically authorize expenses for local transportation. Because the employee has again submitted an amended travel order authorizing a rented vehicle for local house-hunting transportation, the certifying officer asked whether the employee's supplemental voucher may be certified for payment. GAO held that because the travel order issued to the employee authorized air travel to and from the new duty station but did not specify any particular mode of transportation for local travel, the employee's claim for rental car expenses for that purpose may be paid based on the subsequent approval of an authorized official.