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Chapter 301—Temporary Duty (TDY) Travel Allowances
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Subchapter C—Arranging for Travel Services, Paying Travel Expenses, and Claiming Reimbursement

Part 301-51—Paying Travel Expenses

Authority: 5 U.S.C 5707. Subpart A is issued under the authority of Sec. 2, Pub. L. 105-264, 112 Stat. 2350 (5 U.S.C. 5701 note); 40 U.S.C. 121(c).

Note to Part 301-51: Use of the pronouns “I”, “you”, and their variants throughout this part refers to the employee.

Subpart A—General

§301-51.1  What is the required method of payment for official travel expenses?

You are required to use the Government contractor-issued travel charge card for all official travel expenses unless you have an exemption.

§301-51.2  What official travel expenses and/or classes of employees are exempt from the mandatory use of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card?

The Administrator of General Services exempts the following from the mandatory use of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card:

(a) Expenses incurred at a vendor that does not accept the Government contractor-issued travel charge card;

(b) Laundry/dry cleaning;

(c) Parking;

(d) Transit system at a TDY location;

(e) Taxi;

(f) Tips;

(g) Meals (when use of the card is impractical, e.g., group meals or the Government contractor-issued travel charge card is not accepted);

(h) Phone calls (when a Government calling card is available for use in accordance with agency policy);

(i) An employee who has an application pending for the travel charge card;

(j) Individuals traveling on invitational travel;

(k) New appointees;

(l) Relocation allowances prescribed in Chapter 302 of this title, except en-route travel and househunting trip expenses; and

(m) Employees who travel 5 times or less a year. Even though exempt, agencies have the discretion to issue a travel charge card to such an employee.

§301-51.3  Who in my agency has the authority to grant exemptions from the mandatory use of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card?

The head of your agency or his/her designee(s) has (have) the authority to grant exemptions from the mandatory use of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card.

§301-51.4  If my agency grants an exemption, does that prevent me from using the card on a voluntary basis?

No, an exemption from use would not prevent you from using the Government contractor-issued travel charge card on a voluntary basis in accordance with your agency’s policy.

§301-51.5  How may I pay for official travel expenses if I receive an exemption from use of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card?

If you receive an exemption from use of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card, your agency may authorize one or a combination of the following methods of payment:

(a) Personal funds, including cash or personal charge card;

(b) Travel advances; or

(c) Government Transportation Request (GTR).

Note to §301-51.5: City pair contractors are not required to accept payment by the methods in paragraph (a) or (b) of this section.

§301-51.6  For what purposes may I use the Government contractor-issued travel charge card while on official travel?

You are required to use the Government contractor-issued travel charge card for expenses directly related to your official travel.

§301-51.7  May I use the Government contractor-issued travel charge card for personal reasons while on official travel?

No, you may not use the Government contractor-issued travel charge card for personal reasons while on official travel.

§301-51.8  What are the consequences if I misuse the Government contractor-issued travel charge card on official travel?

Your agency may take appropriate disciplinary action if you misuse the Government contractor-issued travel charge card according to internal agency policies and procedures.

Subpart B—Paying for Common Carrier Transportation

§301-51.100  What method of payment must I use to procure common carrier transportation?

You must use a Government contractor-issued individually billed travel card, centrally billed account, or GTR to procure contract passenger transportation services. For all other common carrier transportation, you must use one of the methods specified in the following table:

For passenger transportation services costing

You must use

Unless

(a) $10 or less, and air excess baggage charges of $15 or less for each leg of a trip.

A Government contractor-issued individually billed travel card or centrally billed account.

Use of the Government contractor-issued individually billed travel card is not accepted, its use is impracticable or special circumstances justify the use of a GTR.

(b) More than $10, but not more than $100.

A Government contractor-issued individually billed travel card, centrally billed account, or GTR

None of the other methods are practicable, you may use cash.

(c) More than $100

Only a Government contractor-issued individually billed travel card, centrally billed account, or GTR.

Your agency authorizes you to use a reduced fare for group, charter, or excursion arrangements or under emergency circumstances where the use of other methods is not possible.

§301-51.101  Which payment methods are considered the equivalent of cash?

Use of one of the following payment methods of this section to procure common carrier transportation is considered the equivalent of cash and you must comply with the rules in 41 CFR 102-118.50 that limit the use of cash for such purposes.

(a) Personal credit cards;

(b) Cash withdrawals obtained from an ATM using a Government contractor-issued individually billed travel card; and

(c) Checks, both personal and travelers (including those obtained through a travel payment system services program).

§301-51.102  How is my transportation reimbursement affected if I make an unauthorized cash purchase of common carrier transportation?

If you are a new employee or an invitational or infrequent traveler who is unaware of proper procedures for purchasing common carrier transportation, your agency may allow reimbursement for the full cost of the transportation. In all other instances, your reimbursement will be limited to the cost of such transportation using the authorized method of payment.

§301-51.103  What is my liability if I lose a GTR?

You are liable for any Government expenditure that is caused by your negligence in safeguarding the GTR or tickets received in exchange for the GTR. To avoid liability, immediately report a lost or stolen GTR to your administrative office. If the lost or stolen GTR shows the carrier service desired, and point of origin, promptly notify in writing the named carrier and other local initial carriers. Do not use a GTR that is recovered after having been reported as lost or stolen. Instead, report the recovered GTR to your administrative office.

Subpart C—Receiving Travel Advances

§301-51.200  For what expenses may I receive a travel advance?

For

You may receive an advance

(a) Cash transaction expenses (i.e., expenses that as a general rule cannot be charged and must be paid using cash, a personal check, or travelers check).

(1) M&IE covered by the per diem allowance or actual expenses allowance;

(2) Miscellaneous transportation expenses such as transit systems and taxi fares; parking fees; ferry fees; bridge, road, and tunnel fees; and aircraft parking, landing, and tie-down fees;

(3) Gasoline and other variable expenses covered by the mileage allowance for advantageous use of a privately owned automobile for official business; and

(4) Other authorized miscellaneous expenses that cannot be charged using a Government contractor-issued charge card and for which a cost can be estimated.

Any time you are on official travel.

(b) Non-cash transaction expenses (e.g., lodging, common carrier, advance payment of discounted conference registration fee).

Only in the following situations:

(1) Government contractor-issued charge card not expected to be accepted.

(2) Government contractor-issued charge card issuance denied. Your agency has decided not to provide you a Government contractor-issued individually billed travel card.

(3) Official change of station. Your agency determines that use of a Government contractor-issued individually billed travel card would not be feasible incident to a transfer, particularly a transfer to another agency.

(4) Financial hardship would be incurred.

§301-51.201  What is the maximum amount that my agency may advance?

The amount your agency advances you may not exceed the following amounts:

For

The maximum amount your agency may advance is

Cash transaction expenses

The estimated amount of your cash transaction expenses. (For M&IE, your advance is limited to the M&IE rate under the lodgings-plus per diem method.)

Non-cash transaction expenses (See §301-51.200(b)).

Generally zero. However, your agency may advance up to the full amount of your expected non-cash transaction expenses for an individual trip (or not to exceed a 45-day period for an open authorization) in accordance with §301-51.200(b).

§301-51.202  When must I account for my advance?

You must file a travel claim which accounts for your advance after completion of your assignment, in accordance with your agency’s policy. If you are in a continuous travel status (e.g., an auditor or inspector) or if you submit periodic reimbursement vouchers on an individual trip authorization, your agency may reimburse you the full amount of your travel expenses without any deduction of your advance until such time as you file a final voucher. If the amount advanced is less than the amount of the voucher on which it is deducted, you will be reimbursed the net amount. If the advance exceeds the reimbursable amount, you must immediately refund the excess.

§301-51.203  What must I do about my advance if my trip is canceled or postponed indefinitely?

Promptly notify the appropriate agency officials and refund any monies advanced in connection with the authorized travel.

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