1.32.14  Gainsharing Travel Savings Program

Manual Transmittal

September 27, 2011

Purpose

(1) This transmits the new Internal Revenue Manual (IRM), 1.32.14, Servicewide Financial Policies and Procedures, Gainsharing Travel Savings Program.

Material Changes

(1) Clarifies gainsharing requirements, language, and document processing.

(2) Incorporates the responsibility for business units to enter an estimate of gainsharing expenditures into the financial system at fiscal year-end.

(3) Utilizes a narrative format, rather than question and answer.

Effect on Other Documents

This IRM supersedes the Gainsharing sections in IRM 1.32.1.12 (1) through (14), Official IRS Travel Guide, dated July 1, 2010.

Audience

All Divisions and Functions

Effective Date

(09-27-2011)

Pamela J. LaRue
Chief Financial Officer

1.32.14.1  (09-27-2011)
Overview

  1. This IRM provides policies and procedures for IRS employees who save the Government money while on city-to-city travel.

  2. All IRS employees who conduct official temporary duty travel are eligible for the Gainsharing Travel Program. However, an employee is not required to participate in the program.

  3. The Chief Financial Officer, Financial Management, Office of Financial Management Policy develops and maintains this IRM.

1.32.14.2  (09-27-2011)
Background

  1. Initiated by IRS on November 1, 1999, the Gainsharing Travel Savings Program is a voluntary program that rewards employees who save the IRS money on common carrier transportation and lodging while on official city-to-city travel.

  2. At the core of the program are the principles that an employee must take affirmative, purposeful action to:

    1. Save public funds.

    2. Document the amount saved.

    3. Provide documentation for the amount saved.

  3. Based on these principles, IRS has determined that the only savings it recognizes are those arising from an employee paying less than the maximum lodging rate for a locale and/or using frequent traveler benefits to purchase common carrier tickets for official travel.

1.32.14.3  (09-27-2011)
Authority

  1. 5 USC 4501-07, Government Employees’ Incentive Awards Act.

  2. 5 CFR Part 451, Awards.

  3. National Defense Authorization Act of 2002, Pub. L. 107-107, section 1116.

1.32.14.4  (09-27-2011)
Related Resources

  1. 41 CFR Chapters 300-304, Federal Travel Regulation.

  2. IRM 6.451.1, Employee Performance and Utilization-Awards and Recognition, Policies, Authorities, Categories, and Approvals.

  3. IRM 1.33.4, Financial Operating Guidelines.

  4. Financial Management Codes Handbook.

1.32.14.5  (09-27-2011)
Definitions

  1. In this IRM, the terms below have the following meanings:

    1. City-to-City - A form of travel to a place, away from an employee's official station, to which the employee is authorized to travel.

    2. Common Carrier - Airline, bus, or railroad transportation.

    3. Contract City-Pair Fare - An airline transportation fare negotiated under contract by General Services Administration (GSA). The fare is fully refundable and exchangeable and reserved for Government travel.

    4. Frequent Traveler Benefits - Points accumulated using common carrier rewards programs that result in free tickets.

    5. FedRooms - A GSA program which provides a list of hotels that have agreed to provide lodging at rates equal to or less than the per diem rate for a given locality.

    6. Temporary Duty (TDY) Location - A place, away from an employee's official station, to which the employee is authorized to travel.

    7. Travel Management Center (TMC) - The travel agency operating under GSA contract that provides transportation, lodging, and rental car services to the IRS.

1.32.14.6  (09-27-2011)
Responsibilities

  1. This section provides responsibilities for:

    1. Employees.

    2. First-Level Managers.

    3. Second-Level Managers.

    4. Business Units.

    5. Deputy Commissioners.

    6. Chief Financial Officer.

    7. Associate Chief Financial Officer for Financial Management.

    8. Director, Office of Financial Management Policy.

1.32.14.6.1  (09-27-2011)
Employees

  1. Employees are responsible for:

    1. Tracking gainsharing savings during the fiscal year.

    2. Preparing and submitting the completed Form 13631-A, IRS Travel Savings, with supporting documentation, including travel vouchers and receipts, to the first-level manager. See IRM 1.32.14.7 for the submission timeframe.

    3. Ensuring the documentation (receipts, GovTrip and manual vouchers) shows the payment method used.

    4. Providing proof of savings claimed for exchanging frequent traveler benefits for a free common carrier ticket.

    5. Providing proof of savings for lodging.

    6. Adhering to all travel guidelines in IRM 1.32.11, Official IRS City-to-City Travel Guide, in order to qualify for a gainsharing award.

    7. Paying any fees charged to participate in frequent travel programs with personal funds.

1.32.14.6.2  (09-27-2011)
First-Level Managers

  1. First-level managers are responsible for:

    1. Reviewing Form 13631-A, IRS Travel Savings, and applicable travel vouchers and related receipts.

    2. Maintaining a copy of Form 13631-A, and the gainsharing documentation.

    3. Ensuring the gainsharing award is processed in accordance with applicable award processing requirements contained in this IRM and with business unit award processing requirements.

1.32.14.6.3  (09-27-2011)
Second-Level Managers

  1. Second-level managers are responsible for approving the gainsharing award by signing and dating Form 13631-A, IRS Travel Savings.

1.32.14.6.4  (09-27-2011)
Business Units

  1. Business Units are responsible for:

    1. Ensuring gainsharing awards are appropriately processed in HR Connect.

    2. Ensuring funds are available to pay for gainsharing awards.

    3. Entering an estimate of gainsharing expenditures at year-end into the financial system.

    4. Ensuring the award is coded properly to the correct fiscal year and accounting codes.

    5. Maintaining copies of the gainsharing awards.

    6. Establishing internal procedures for additional documentation requirements, authorization and approval processes, and the signed original Form 13631-A.

1.32.14.6.5  (09-27-2011)
Deputy Commissioners

  1. Deputy Commissioners are responsible for approving all Senior Executive Service travel savings forms.

1.32.14.6.6  (09-27-2011)
Chief Financial Officer

  1. The Chief Financial Officer is responsible for managing the Gainsharing Travel Savings Program.

1.32.14.6.7  (09-27-2011)
Associate Chief Financial Officer for Financial Management

  1. The Associate Chief Financial Officer for Financial Management is responsible for establishing, maintaining, and ensuring compliance with travel policy and procedures for internal accounting operations and financial reporting.

1.32.14.6.8  (09-27-2011)
Director, Office of Financial Management Policy

  1. The Director, Office of Financial Management Policy is responsible for developing and issuing policy for the IRS Gainsharing Travel Savings Program.

1.32.14.7  (09-27-2011)
Program Requirements

  1. An employee must realize a minimum of $100 in savings within a fiscal year to receive a gainsharing award.

  2. The award amount for each employee is 50 percent of the total savings to IRS on the lodging and airfare expenses for a fiscal year. There is no limit on the gainsharing award amount that an employee can receive for a fiscal year.

  3. An employee accumulates travel savings over a fiscal year period and documents the savings by utilizing Form 13631-A, IRS Travel Saving.

  4. An employee submits the gainsharing award no later than December 31 for the immediately preceding fiscal year.

  5. An employee can claim savings realized by staying in less expensive lodging and/or using frequent traveler benefits to purchase common carrier tickets for official travel. All city-to-city travel with lodging expenses, foreign and domestic, is covered under this program. Relocation travel expenses are not eligible for this program.

1.32.14.7.1  (09-27-2011)
Common Carrier Savings

  1. An employee who obtains a free ticket with frequent traveler benefits earned on either official or personal travel is eligible for a gainsharing travel savings award.

  2. Savings on airfare costs are measured by the contract city-pair fare in effect at the time of the flight, plus the applicable Travel Management Center (TMC) fee. If there is no contract city-pair fare, the employee must use the lowest available non-restricted fully refundable coach class fare, plus applicable TMC fee, as the basis for determining travel savings.

  3. To determine savings, the employee must compare the city-pair fare with the cost of the actual airfare.

  4. Acceptable documentation to support the savings realized includes any of the following:

    1. A SATO itinerary showing what the travel would have cost on the common carrier.

    2. A screen print from GovTrip showing the selected flight information for the planned flight.

    3. The credit slip or receipt showing the trade-in value of the Government airfare.

    4. A screen print of the city-pair program costs for the contract carrier for the origin and destination cities for the travel period.

1.32.14.7.2  (09-27-2011)
Lodging Savings

  1. An employee who incurs lodging expenses at a daily rate that is less than the maximum lodging locality rate may be eligible to receive a cash award for lodging savings. Maximum lodging rates can be found at: www.gsa.gov/portal/category/21287.

  2. Eligible lodging savings must be the result of:

    1. Choosing a hotel or motel costing less than the maximum lodging rate for the TDY locality.

    2. Sharing a room with another Government traveler, where each traveler saves one half of the single lodging rate every day. The vendor should bill each employee separately. However, if the employees are unable to obtain separate bills, then the employees need to determine the daily rate. Divide the total lodging costs by the number of employees and the number of nights to arrive at a daily rate for each employee.

    3. Staying with family, friends, or associates and incurring no lodging costs. Lodging costs must not be claimed on the travel voucher.

  3. The employee must charge lodging expenses to an individually billed Government travel card to be eligible for gainsharing, unless the vendor does not accept the credit card for payment.

  4. If the lodging vendor does not accept a credit card in payment for lodging expenses, the employee may use cash or a personal check. In order to be eligible for a gainsharing award when personal funds are used, an employee must provide a letter from the lodging vendor on company letterhead that clearly indicates the vendor does not accept credit cards as payment for lodging expenses.

  5. IRS employees are encouraged to stay in hotels that meet the requirements of the Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990. A list of hotels that meet this requirement can be found at: Hotel and Motel Fire Safety.

  6. Employees should use tax-exempt certificates for hotel taxes when applicable. Taxes on lodging are not considered in determining lodging savings.

1.32.14.8  (09-27-2011)
Excess Transportation and Miscellaneous Costs

  1. An employee must take into consideration whether he will incur any additional transportation or miscellaneous costs when seeking to incur lodging expenses below the authorized locality rate.

  2. An employee who incurs additional transportation expenses must deduct those expenses from the lodging savings. Examples of excess transportation costs include, but are not limited to:

    1. Renting a vehicle (when one would not normally be rented) at a TDY site to travel to a place of free or reduced lodging.

    2. Driving a privately owned vehicle (POV) more miles than would normally be traveled to/from the TDY site to obtain free or reduced lodging.

    3. Incurring taxi or other public transportation fares which would not normally be incurred to obtain free or reduced lodging.

  3. For example, an employee could stay at a hotel near the TDY location and incur no transportation expense between the hotel and the TDY location. Instead, the employee chooses to stay farther away, at a less expensive hotel and, as a result, incurs extra transportation costs each way. The extra costs may be rental car fees, mileage, parking or the cost of public transportation that would not have been incurred if the employee stayed at a hotel near the TDY location. The lodging savings must be reduced by the amount of the excess costs of the transportation.

1.32.14.9  (09-27-2011)
Travel Ineligible for Gainsharing

  1. The following activities are examples of travel ineligible for the gainsharing program:

    1. Relocation travel.

    2. Weekend travel to an alternate location, instead of returning to the residence/official duty station or staying at the TDY location. IRS will not approve a gainsharing award for weekend travel to an alternate location, since this is personal travel.

    3. Travel paid by another Government agency.

    4. Choosing an airport that has a lower city-pair contract rate. The only air travel savings that qualifies is using frequent traveler benefits to purchase a coach class ticket.

    5. Choosing to take an early morning flight and return the same day instead of staying overnight at the TDY location. There are no savings because the employee did not incur any reimbursable lodging expenses.

    6. Having someone drive the employee to the airport instead of driving and parking at the airport. Parking savings are not eligible for gainsharing.

    7. Driving a POV instead of flying to a destination.

    8. Lodging that was prepaid or prearranged through contractual arrangements with the hotel, except if the savings resulted from shared accommodations.

    9. Lodging under FedRooms, unless the accommodations are shared with another Government employee on travel.

    10. Lodging costs incurred on personal time, such as annual leave during official travel or any other type of personal preference travel used in conjunction with official travel.

    11. Lodging that has been contracted by the IRS for extended TDY.

    12. Lodging costs paid with a personal credit card or funds, except as provided in IRM 1.32.14.7.2(4).

1.32.14.10  (09-27-2011)
Gainsharing Award Process

  1. The employee:

    1. Accumulates eligible travel savings, incurred during a fiscal year, on Form 13631-A, IRS Travel Savings.

    2. Signs and dates the form, attaching travel vouchers and receipts supporting the qualifying savings.

    3. Submits the completed form to the first-level manager.

  2. The first-level manager:

    1. Reviews the vouchers, receipts, and the recorded savings on Form 13631-A, IRS Travel Savings.

    2. Initials and dates the bottom of Form 13631-A indicating concurrence.

    3. Forwards the form to the second-level manager.

  3. The second-level manager approves by signing and dating Form 13631-A. This gives the Business Unit the authority to input the Personnel Action Request (PAR) action in HR Connect. The award type, "Travel Savings Incentive (Gainsharing)" is in the Awards Section of the personnel actions listing.

  4. Based on internal procedures, the Business Unit retains originals or copies of the:

    1. Form 13631-A, IRS Travel Savings.

    2. Related travel vouchers.

    3. HR Connect PAR action.

1.32.14.11  (09-27-2011)
Taxes

  1. IRS withholds appropriate Federal, state and local taxes and other applicable deductions from the award amount.

  2. The employee receives a SF 50, Notification of Personnel Action, indicating the award amount.

  3. The award amount will be included on the employee’s Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement.


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