- 1.32.1 Official IRS Local Travel Guide
- 188.8.131.52 Overview
- 184.108.40.206 Background
- 220.127.116.11 Definitions
- 18.104.22.168 Acronyms
- 22.214.171.124 General Rules
- 126.96.36.199 Transportation
- 188.8.131.52.1 Government Vehicle
- 184.108.40.206.2 Privately-Owned Vehicle (POV)
- 220.127.116.11.3 Taxicabs, Shuttle Service, or Other Courtesy Transportation
- 18.104.22.168.4 Rental Automobiles
- 22.214.171.124 Per Diem Expenses
- 126.96.36.199.1 Taxable Travel Reimbursements
- 188.8.131.52 Arranging for Travel Requests and Services
- 184.108.40.206 Claiming Reimbursement
- 220.127.116.11 Long-Term Taxable Travel
- 18.104.22.168.1 Realistic Expectation
- 22.214.171.124.2 The One Year Rule
- 126.96.36.199.3 Local Long-Term Taxable Travel
- 188.8.131.52.4 Metropolitan Area
- 184.108.40.206.5 Infrequent Work Location
- 220.127.116.11.6 Filing Authorization Form
- 18.104.22.168 Work Location or Flexiplace
Part 1. Organization, Finance, and Management
Chapter 32. Servicewide Travel Policies and Procedures
Section 1. Official IRS Local Travel Guide
February 7, 2012
(1) This transmits revised the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) 1.32.1, Servicewide Financial Policies and Procedures, Official IRS Local Travel Guide.
(1) All guidance related to city-to-city travel, light refreshments and gainsharing has been removed from this IRM. They have been reissued as IRM 1.32.11 Official IRS City-to-City Travel Guide, IRM 1.32.14 Gainsharing Travel Savings Program, and IRM 1.32.20 Using Appropriated Funds to Purchase Meals and Light Refreshments.
(2) Section 22.214.171.124.1, Introduction, was moved and renamed 126.96.36.199, Background.
(3) Section 188.8.131.52.2, Definitions, was moved to section 184.108.40.206.
(4) Section 220.127.116.11.3, Acronyms, was moved to section 18.104.22.168.
(5) Section 22.214.171.124.4, General Rules, was moved to section 126.96.36.199.
(6) Added new section 188.8.131.52, Transportation.
(7) Deleted the following sections:
184.108.40.206.5, Foreign Travel
220.127.116.11.6, Training Travel
18.104.22.168.7, Invitational Travel
22.214.171.124.8, Allowable Travel Expenses
126.96.36.199.9, Common Carrier Transportation
188.8.131.52.10 Use of Contract City-Pair Fares
184.108.40.206.11 Airline Accommodations
220.127.116.11.12 Train Accommodations
18.104.22.168.13 Ship Accommodations
22.214.171.124.14 Local Transit System
(8) Section 126.96.36.199.15, Government Vehicle, was moved to section 188.8.131.52.1.
(9) Section 184.108.40.206.16, Privately-Owned Vehicle (POV), was moved to section 220.127.116.11.2.
(10) Section 18.104.22.168.17, Special Conveyances, was deleted.
(11) Section 22.214.171.124.18, Taxicabs, Shuttle Service, or Other Courtesy Transportation, was moved to section 126.96.36.199.3.
(12) Section 188.8.131.52.19, Rental Automobiles, was moved to section 184.108.40.206.4.
(13) Deleted the following sections:
220.127.116.11.20, Use of United States Flag Air Carriers
18.104.22.168.21, Personal and Official Travel Combined
(14) Section 22.214.171.124, Per Diem Expenses, was moved to section 126.96.36.199.
(15) Deleted the following sections:
188.8.131.52.1, Per Diem on Non-Work Days
184.108.40.206.2, Lodging-Plus Per Diem
220.127.116.11.3, Reduced Per Diem
18.104.22.168.4, Actual Travel Reimbursements
(16) Section 22.214.171.124.5, Taxable Travel Reimbursements, was moved to section 126.96.36.199.1.
(17) Deleted the following sections:
188.8.131.52.6, Travel Payments from other Federal Agencies
184.108.40.206.7, Travel Payments from other Non-Federal Sources
220.127.116.11.8, Travel of Personnel Detailed to the IRS
18.104.22.168.9, Official IRS Representation at Funerals
22.214.171.124, Miscellaneous Expenses
126.96.36.199, Travel of an Employee with Disabilities or Special Needs
188.8.131.52, Emergency Travel
184.108.40.206, Threatened Law Enforcement/Investigative Employees
(18) Section 220.127.116.11, Arranging for Travel Requests and Services, was moved to section 18.104.22.168.
(19) Deleted the following sections:
22.214.171.124.1, Travel Programs
126.96.36.199.2, Travel Management System
188.8.131.52.3, Self-Booking Tool
184.108.40.206.4, Paying Travel Expenses
220.127.116.11.5, Paying for Common Carrier Transportation
18.104.22.168.6, Travel Advances
(20) Section 22.214.171.124, Claiming Reimbursement, was moved to section 126.96.36.199.
(21) Deleted the following sections:
188.8.131.52, Travel Reimbursement and Accounting System (TRAS)
184.108.40.206, Using Promotion Materials and Frequent Traveler Programs
220.127.116.11, Collection of Undisputed Delinquent Travel Card Debts
18.104.22.168, Gainsharing Travel Savings Program
(22) Section 22.214.171.124, Long-Term Taxable Travel, was moved to section 126.96.36.199.
(23) Section 188.8.131.52.1, Realistic Expectation, was moved to section 184.108.40.206.1.
(24) Section 220.127.116.11.2, The One Year Rule, was moved to section 18.104.22.168.2.
(25) Section 22.214.171.124.3, Overnight vs. Daily Local Long-Term Travel, was moved and renamed 126.96.36.199.3. Local Long-Term Taxable Travel.
(26) Section 188.8.131.52.4, Metropolitan Area, was moved to section 184.108.40.206.4.
(27) Section 220.127.116.11.5, Infrequent Work Location, was moved to section 18.104.22.168.5.
(28) Section 22.214.171.124.6, Filing Authorization Form, was moved to section 126.96.36.199.6.
(29) Deleted the following sections:
188.8.131.52, Death of Employee While in Travel Status
184.108.40.206, Pre-Employment Interview Travel
220.127.116.11.1, Travel Expenses
18.104.22.168.2, Obtaining Travel Services and Claiming Reimbursement
(30) Section 22.214.171.124, Work Location or Flexiplace, was moved to section 126.96.36.199.
(31) Section 188.8.131.52, Light Refreshments at Conferences, was deleted.
Pamela J. LaRue
Chief Financial Officer
This Guide applies to all IRS employees who perform official local travel in the interest of the Government.
The Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Financial Management, Office of Financial Management Policy, develops and maintains this IRM.
What is the purpose of the Guide?
To provide policies and procedures for IRS employees who perform local official travel in the interest of the Government.
To provide guidance to supervisory and administrative personnel who authorize, direct, or review such travel, or certify payments for reimbursement of travel related expenses.
In this IRM, the terms below have the following meanings:
Approving Official - The manager or management official authorized to approve travel authorizations and vouchers in accordance with Servicewide Delegation Orders pertaining to travel.
Government-Furnished Automobile - An automobile (or light truck, including vans and pickup trucks) that is:
Owned by an agency,
Assigned or dispatched to an agency from the GSA Interagency Fleet Management System, or
Leased by the Government for a period of 60 days or longer from a commercial source.
Head of Office - Any of the following IRS officials: Commissioner of Internal Revenue; Deputy Commissioners; Division Commissioners (Large Business and International; Small Business/Self-Employed; Tax Exempt and Government Entities; and Wage and Investment); Chiefs (Agency-Wide Shared Services; Appeals; Communications and Liaison; Criminal Investigation ); Directors (Research, Analysis and Statistics; Office of Professional Responsibility; Whistleblower Office; Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; Office of Privacy, Government Liaison and Disclosure; Office of Online Services; Affordable Care Office; Return Preparer Office); National Taxpayer Advocate; Chief Financial Officer; Chief Technology Officer; IRS Human Capital Officer; and Chief Counsel.
Local Travel -Travel within a 40-mile radius of the official station and residence that is performed within one day and does not involve an overnight stay or lodging expenses.
Official Station - The location where the employee regularly performs his or her duties. The geographic limits of the official station are the corporate limits of the city or town where the employee is located, or, if not in an incorporated city or town, the reservation, station or other established area having definite boundaries where the employee is located, not to exceed 50 miles from the employee's location. If the employee’s work involves recurring travel or varies on a recurring basis, the location where the work activities of the employee’s position of record are based is considered the regular place of work.
Non-Foreign Area - The States of Alaska and Hawaii, the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, and the territories and possessions of the United States (excludes the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands).
Per Diem Allowance-- The per diem allowance (also referred to as subsistence allowance) is a daily payment for actual expenses for meals and related incidental expenses. The per diem allowance is separate from transportation expenses and other miscellaneous expenses. The per diem allowance covers all charges, where applicable for:
Meals - Expenses for breakfast, lunch, dinner including related tips and taxes (specifically excluded are alcoholic beverage and entertainment expenses, and any expenses incurred for other persons).
Incidental expenses - Transportation between places of business and places where meals are taken, if suitable meals cannot be obtained at the TDY location. Mailing cost associated with filing travel vouchers and payment of Government sponsored charge card billings.
Privately-Owned Vehicle (POV) - Any vehicle such as an automobile, motorcycle, aircraft, or boat operated by an individual that is not owned or leased by a Government agency, and is not commercially leased or rented by an employee under a Government rental agreement for use in connection with official Government business.
Residence - The permanent or principal home from which an employee commutes on a daily basis to the official station.
Subsistence Expenses - Expenses such as:
Meals, including taxes and tips; and
Incidental expenses. (See Incidental expenses under definition of Per diem allowance, IRM 184.108.40.206(8)b).
Temporary Duty Station - A place to which an employee is temporarily reassigned most likely to another building/office within the city limits of the official station.
Travel Authorization - An electronic or written document submitted for approval to authorize official travel. The travel authorization obligates funds and must be submitted and approved before traveling, except in emergency situations.
Travel Claim (voucher) - A written request or electronic submission, supported by documentation and receipts, where applicable, for reimbursement of expenses incurred in the performance of official travel, including permanent change of station (PCS) travel.
United States - The 50 contiguous states, the District of Columbia and the states and areas defined under the term non-foreign area (IRM 220.127.116.11 (7).
The following chart contains acronyms that are used throughout this IRM:
Acronyms Description GSA General Services Administration IRM Internal Revenue Manual M&IE Meals and Incidental Expenses POV Privately-Owned Vehicle TDY Temporary Duty
What is an "employee" for purpose of official local travel?
It is an individual employed by the IRS, regardless of status or rank.
Who is eligible for official local travel?
This Guide covers employees traveling on official business, within the city limits of the employee's official station.
What is the general authority to direct travel?
Delegation Order No. 1-30, Authorization and Approval of Official within the United States and Delegation Order 1-8 Approval of Foreign Travel , as revised, identifies the officials with the delegated authority to direct travel. Copies of Delegation Order No. 1-30 and Delegation Order 1-8 are available on the CFO, Financial Management, Office of Financial Management Policy website: http://cfo.fin.irs.gov/FinMgmt/FM_Home.htm, Select - Delegation Order.
What is a travel authorization?
The travel authorization is a travel document an employee submits to reserve, commit, and obligate funds before his/her trip starts and used to authorize Service personnel, under proper direction, to perform official travel. The travel authorization should be used for all official travel.
What is the purpose of the travel authorization process?
The purpose is to:
Provide the employee information regarding what expenses the agency will pay;
Provide financial information necessary for budgetary planning;
Identify the purpose of travel; and
Ensure the travel is approved before it is performed.
What is a local travel authorization?
A local travel authorization allows an employee to perform local travel. This authorization is primarily intended for case-related travel and other infrequent, local travel. Local authorization travel periods can cover dates up to one year.
When must I enter my travel authorization?
A travel authorization should be entered at least five working days in advance of travel departure and must be approved before you travel.
How must the approving official administer the authorization and payment of travel expenses?
The approving official must limit the authorization and payment of travel expenses to travel that is necessary to accomplish the mission in the most economical and effective manner, in accordance with the policies stated throughout this Guide. Consideration should be given, but not limited, to budget constraints, adherence to travel policies, and reasonableness of expenses. The approving official should always consider alternatives, including teleconferencing, before authorizing travel.
What are the approving official's responsibilities?
The approving official is responsible for:
Reviewing and approving travel authorizations and vouchers to ensure expenses and accounting information are correct.
Planning travel to ensure that employees' time and travel funds are used in the most efficient and economical manner.
Directing employees' attention to any possible travel savings.
Planning travel so employees do not incur personal expenses for properly authorized travel.
Determining the purpose and length of an assignment.
Ensuring travel expenses are authorized in accordance with travel policy. The IRS cannot reimburse an employee for inappropriate expenses incurred as a result of having received incorrect guidance.
Reviewing receipts and other supporting documentation scanned or faxed into GovTrip or attached to manual vouchers.
Maintaining copies of approved travel authorizations and supporting documentation for manual vouchers.
Reviewing advances to ensure that they are appropriate for expected travel requirements.
Ensuring that employees who are either transferring or separating have repaid outstanding travel advances.
Ensuring that travelers submit travel vouchers within five working days after completion of travel.
Approving or returning within seven calendar days of submission of a travel voucher, for correction to ensure payment within 30 calendar days after submission.
Providing employees with access to this Guide and any other regulations concerning travel.
Providing employees with an opportunity to review the material in this Guide before traveling.
Obtaining answers to questions that employees may have related to the content of this Guide or related travel matters.
Providing employees who are expected to travel more than twice a year with information on how to apply for a Government travel card.
What are the traveler's responsibilities?
The traveler is responsible for:
Submitting a travel authorization before departing on travel and canceling unused travel authorizations.
Submitting a travel voucher within five working days after completion of travel and ensuring claimed travel expenses are correct.
Planning travel to minimize travel cost to the IRS.
Exercising the same prudence and economy when incurring expenses in the performance of official travel that you would exercise if traveling on personal business.
Using the mode of transportation that results in the greatest overall advantage to the Government.
Being familiar with and performing all official travel within the guidance of travel policies, regulations, or procedures.
Requesting clarification on any travel policy, regulations, or procedures that you do not understand.
Paying any additional expenses resulting from scheduling travel for personal convenience and charging excess travel time against leave.
Using the Government travel card for official travel including purchases of common carrier transportation, meals, automobile rentals, and other major travel-related expenses.
Paying all charges and fees associated with the Government travel card by the due date on the invoice. You are liable for all charges and will not be reimbursed above maximum levels prescribed by law.
Liquidating a travel advance on a voucher or submitting a check to the Beckley Finance Center (BFC).
Accounting for funds manually advanced to you for travel purposes. You are indebted to the Government for advances and must repay any advances that are not liquidated by travel expenses.
Not delaying the performance of official travel for personal benefit.
What standard of care must I use in incurring travel expenses?
You must exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business.
Who must approve all of my travel expenses?
Approving officials must authorize or approve all travel expenses.
How do I claim travel expenses that are to be charged to a different accounting code other than my business unit?
Each business unit is responsible for providing authorizations and instructions to the traveler containing the correct accounting codes to use when charging travel to a different business unit other than the employee’s business unit.
What is the IRS policy on texting while driving a POV or a rental car?
In accordance with Executive Order 13513, issued October 1, 2009, IRS employees are prohibited from texting or text messaging while driving a POV or rental car on official travel.
This section provides guidance related to transportation for local travel.
What requirements must I meet to operate a Government automobile for official travel?
You must possess a valid state, District of Columbia, or territorial motor vehicle operator's license and have a travel authorization specifically authorizing the use of a Government-furnished automobile.
For what purposes may I use a Government vehicle?
Only for official purposes which include transportation:
Between places of official business;
As otherwise authorized by the approving official.
What is my liability for unauthorized use of a Government vehicle?
You are responsible for any additional costs resulting from unauthorized use of a Government vehicle and may be subject to administrative and/or criminal liability for misuse of Government property.
May I use a POV for official local travel?
Yes, when authorized by the approving official.
May the approving official prohibit me from using a POV on official travel?
No, the approving official cannot prohibit you from using a POV on official travel. However, if you elect to use a POV instead of the mode of transportation that the approving official authorizes, the approving official will:
Limit reimbursement to the constructive cost of the authorized method of transportation, which is the sum of per diem and transportation expenses you would reasonably have incurred when traveling by the authorized method of transportation; and
Charge leave for any duty hours that are missed as a result of travel by POV.
Can I be required to use my POV?
No, the approving official cannot require you to use a POV for official local travel.
How do I compute my mileage reimbursement?
Compute mileage reimbursement by multiplying the distance traveled by the applicable mileage rate. The mileage rates are available on GSA website: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/100715, Select - Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) Mileage Reimbursement Rates.
How do I determine distance measurements for my travel?
If traveling by POV or privately-owned motorcycle, distance is determined by paper or electronic standard highway mileage guides or the actual miles driven as determined from odometer readings.
What other expenses are allowable in addition to the allowance for distance?
Following is a chart listing the reimbursable and non-reimbursable expenses:
Reimbursable expenses in addition to mileage allowance Non-reimbursable expenses included in the mileage allowance Parking fees, ferry fees, bridge, road, and tunnel fees, and aircraft or airplane parking, landing and tie-down fees. Charges for repairs, depreciation, replacements, grease, oil, antifreeze, towage and similar speculative expenses, gasoline, insurance, state and Federal taxes.
How is reimbursement handled if another person(s) travels in a POV with me?
If another employee(s) travels with you on the same trip in the same POV, mileage is payable to only one of the travelers/passengers. No deduction will be made from your mileage allowance if the other passenger(s) contributes to defraying your expenses.
Will I be reimbursed mileage for using my POV near my residence or official station when performing official local travel?
You will receive reimbursement on a mileage basis for the use of a POV on official business in the immediate vicinity of your residence or official station.
Will I be reimbursed for rented parking space at my permanently assigned office?
You will not receive reimbursement for parking at the permanently assigned office when it is incurred in connection with direct travel between your residence and office.
Will I be reimbursed for mileage incurred solely for personal reasons?
No, any mileage incurred solely for personal reasons is not reimbursable.
Will I receive reimbursement for mileage between my residence and my permanently assigned office or TDY station ?
No, you must bear the cost of transportation between your residence and permanently assigned office or TDY station.
Will I be reimbursed for mileage if I stop en route between my residence and my permanently assigned office or TDY station for official business?
Yes, when your first or last official assignment of a day is en route or by circuitous routing between your residence and permanently assigned office. However, mileage entitlement shall be reduced by the number of miles greater than 50 that your residence is from your permanently assigned office or TDY station. For example:
The distance between the employee's residence and permanently assigned office is 50 miles. Reimbursement for all mileage may be allowed as long as the employee did not travel directly either way between residence and office. No mileage offset if employee lives less than 50 miles from the headquarters office or other permanently assigned office or TDY station.
The distance between the employee's residence and permanently assigned office or TDY station is 60 miles. The mileage offset is 20 miles, 10 miles each way (60-50). The employee traveled a total distance of 205 miles from residence to office and then to the TDY location and returned to residence. Reimbursement is reduced by 20 miles. Mileage reimbursement would be 185 (205-20).
The distance between employee's residence and permanently assigned office or TDY station is 80 miles. The mileage offset is 60 miles, 30 each way (80-50). The employee traveled a total distance of 124 miles from residence to the TDY location and then to the residence. Mileage reimbursement would be for 64 miles (124-60).
Will I be reimbursed if I drive from my residence on official business to one or more TDY locations, do not report to my permanently assigned office and return to my residence?
Yes, if you drive from your residence to one or more points on official business, you may receive reimbursement for all mileage incurred for the return to residence, as long as you did not travel directly either way between residence and office. The approving official may allow reimbursement for the entire distance traveled from office to residence, provided the employee lives within 50 miles of the office. Reimbursement is not allowed for the travel from employee's residence directly to the office. This reimbursement is subject to the 50 mile limitation as provided in IRM 18.104.22.168.2 (12).
Will I be reimbursed if I report to my permanently assigned office and then visit other sites?
Yes, you may receive reimbursement for all mileage for the visits, if you report to your office, then visit one or more points on official business, and return to your office before going to your residence. You will not be reimbursed for the mileage in either direction between your residence and office.
What will I be reimbursed when I am performing official travel for an extended period?
The amount of the reimbursement depends upon how many consecutive days you report to the location requiring official travel. If the number of such days is five or less, you will receive the full mileage rate reimbursement;
If the number of consecutive days at the location requiring official travel exceeds five days, you will receive a reimbursement at a reduced mileage rate for that portion exceeding five days. The reimbursement will be the lesser of:
• Mileage from your residence to the location requiring official travel;
• Mileage from the permanently assigned office to the location requiring official travel; or
• If you choose to drive your automobile when you could normally use public transportation, you will receive reimbursement for the first five workdays at the current mileage rate, limited to the total cost of public transportation. (Calculate the cost of public transportation as the cost by common carrier between the permanently assigned office and the location requiring official travel or the cost of common carrier between the residence and the location requiring official travel, whichever is less.)
Approving officials may waive the limitation in IRM 22.214.171.124.2(15)b) above when, in their judgment, the circumstances of the extended temporary assignment warrant such action. Approving officials must include economic factors when considering waiving this limitation. When waiving the limitation approving officials must note on the travel voucher "five day limitation waived" along with an appropriate explanation.
Am I authorized to be reimbursed if I travel to training classes within the city limits of my official station?
Yes, travel to attend training classes within the city limits of the employee's official station is considered official business and employees may be entitled to reimbursement of transportation expenses. Entitlement to reimbursement is subject to the review and approval of the employee's manager.
May I use a taxicab between my residence and office in case of necessity?
You may use a taxicab under the following examples:
The IRS may authorize/approve the usual taxicab fare plus tip for travel between your office and residence when performing official business at your permanently assigned office; and
You are dependent on public transportation for officially ordered work outside regular working hours.
How much will the IRS reimburse me for tips, taxicab, shuttle service, or courtesy transportation drivers?
You are entitled to be reimbursed the standard tipping amount up to 20% of the fare amount which must be included in the total fare amount claimed on your travel voucher.
When can I use a rental vehicle for local travel?
You can use a rental vehicle when the approving official has determined that use of a rental vehicle is advantageous to the Government. If you are authorized use of a rental vehicle, you must use the Government contract car rental agency, when available.
What expenses will I be reimbursed if authorized to use a rental car?
You will be reimbursed the cost of the rental car, taxes, tolls, parking, gasoline, and oil charges. You will not be reimbursed for collision damage waiver, theft insurance, or personal accident insurance. You are responsible for any additional costs incurred as the result of an unauthorized use of a rental car.
What are the requirements for making rental vehicle arrangements?
When authorized to use a rental vehicle, employees must rent a vehicle from a vendor that participates in the U.S. Government Rental Car Program.
If I rent a car with a Global Positioning System (GPS), will I be reimbursed for the cost of the GPS?
Yes, if the GPS is permanently affixed to the vehicle and the charge for the GPS is included in the daily rate rental car fee. Portable GPS devices are not considered to be standard equipment, but an accessory so you would be liable for any costs if the device is lost or stolen.
Should I purchase insurance for a rental car?
No, you should not purchase collision damage waiver, theft insurance, or personal accident insurance since the Government rental car agreement includes full liability, vehicle loss, and damage insurance coverage for the traveler and the Government.
Who must I contact to a file rental car accident claim?
You must contact Chief Counsel, General Legal Services (GLS) to file a rental car accident claim at,http://Counsel.web.irs.gov/gls/cmanager/.
What is my liability for unauthorized use of a rental automobile obtained with Government funds?
You are responsible for any additional costs resulting from the unauthorized use of a commercial rental automobile for other than official travel-related purposes.
Must I provide receipts to substantiate my claim for rental car claims?
Yes, receipts for rental cars are required regardless of amount.
When am I eligible for an allowance for per diem or actual expense?
Perform official travel away from your official station;
Incur per diem expenses while performing official travel; and
Are in a travel status for more than 12 hours.
Is there a required commute for per diem?
Yes, the TDY location must be more than 40 miles from both your official station and residence, measured by odometer or other readings on the most commonly used route. Any point beyond both these distances is outside the commuting area. You may receive per diem even if the TDY location is within the commuting area, if the criteria under IRM 126.96.36.199(3) are met. This 40-mile rule does not necessarily mean, however, that you are "away from home" for tax purposes, and the per diem may be taxable income. See IRM 188.8.131.52.1.
Are there any additional requirements to receive per diem?
Yes, you must travel more than 12 hours to be eligible for per diem. If you travel more than 12 hours but less than 24 hours, you may receive 3/4 of the per diem for that day. This 12-hour rule does not necessarily mean that you are away from home for tax purposes, and the per diem may be taxable income. See IRM 184.108.40.206.1.
What are the exceptions to the required distance for per diem?
The following circumstances may justify an exception when the TDY location is less than 40 miles from the official station and residence:
The TDY assignment makes unusual demands on a traveler for several consecutive days due to an unusually long commute.
There is a need to participate in late night training sessions.
Severe conditions (for example, weather or excess travel delays) exist that may endanger the health and safety of an employee and the TDY location is at least 30 miles from both the residence and the official station.
The employee is attending training or a conference and the TDY location is at least 30 miles from both the residence and the official station.
What if I cannot tell whether the location is within the commuting area?
When the duty location is not obviously either within or outside the commuting area, assume that it is within the commuting area.
What are taxable travel reimbursements?
Taxable travel reimbursements include:
Per diem expenses (lodging and/or M&IE) incurred within the commuting area;
Subsistence (M&IE) for trips less than 24 hours without overnight lodging;
Indefinite travel; or
Overdue travel advance, see IRM 1.32.11, Official IRS City-to-City Travel Guide.
What is indefinite travel under Revenue Ruling 93-86?
The term "indefinite travel" is synonymous with "long-term travel" or "long-term detail." Long-term travel is travel which lasts for more than one year, or for which there is a realistic expectation that such travel will last for more than one year, or for which there is no realistic expectation that such travel will end within one year. See IRM 220.127.116.11, Long-Term Taxable Travel.
What do I do if I am on an indefinite travel assignment?
If on an indefinite travel assignment, you must complete Form 12654, Authorization for Long-Term Taxable Travel. It must be signed by you, acknowledging receipt, and by the approving official. Every travel voucher claiming long-term taxable travel reimbursement must have a Form 12654 attached. The authorization form is to be retained with the GovTrip documentation supporting that voucher in accordance with local procedures. If a Form SF 1012, Travel Voucher, is used to file a claim for long-term taxable travel expenses instead of GovTrip, a copy of the original Form 12654 is to be attached to the Form SF 1012 submitted for processing. All long-term travel to a non-temporary location is considered income under the Internal Revenue Code, and you will receive a Form W-2 from the IRS for the amount of taxable reimbursements received.
What gives the IRS the authority to do this?
The Energy Policy Act of 1992, Public Law 102-486, and Revenue Ruling 93-86.
Will I be reimbursed for the taxes on my long-term taxable travel reimbursements?
Yes, an Income Tax Reimbursement Allowance (ITRA) is authorized under 5 USC § 5706 (c), and the Federal Travel Regulations (41 CFR 301-11.501 et seq. and 41 CFR § 302-11.601 et seq.). The IRS will pay an Income Tax Reimbursement Allowance (ITRA) to you for any additional income tax liability as a result of long-term travel reimbursements. A final ITRA payment is made to you in the following year when travel reimbursements are made. The final ITRA will adjust for any federal tax liability not considered when the withholding tax allowance (WTA) was paid in the previous year, and the final ITRA will also reimburse you for the state and local income tax liability that was incurred on the long term taxable travel expense reimbursements.
Do I need approval in advance before I travel?
Yes, you are required to have an approved travel authorization in the authorized e-travel system, GovTrip or Form 13635, Manual Travel Authorization, for local travel before your travel begins.
How should I arrange my travel?
The IRS provides travel management services under a Government contract and you must use those services to arrange for common carrier transportation and rental car(s) needs.
What is my liability if I use an unauthorized travel agent or unauthorized travel management system?
You are responsible for any additional costs that result from the unauthorized use.
Must I file a travel voucher?
When must I submit my travel voucher?
You must submit your travel voucher within five working days after the completion of the trip.
Should I keep records of my expenses while on travel?
Yes, you will find it helpful to keep a record of your expenses by date of the expense to aid in preparing the travel voucher or for tax purposes.
What information must I provide in my travel voucher?
The following information is required when itemizing expenses:
Employees may aggregate expenses for local telephone calls, local metropolitan transportation fares, and parking meter fees; however, any individual expenses over $75 must be listed separately;
Attach receipts for transportation charges and other authorized expenses of $75 or more. If an employee cannot provide receipts in any instance, he/she must provide an explanation on the travel voucher. Inconvenience is not an acceptable reason for failure to provide receipts;
The type of leave and the number of hours of leave for each day, if applicable; and
The travel purpose code.
Can I claim non-travel costs on travel vouchers?
You may claim reimbursement on the travel voucher for expenditures not directly related to the performance of travel. Some of these expenditures require special identification on the travel voucher. You must provide receipts for the following expenses, regardless of amount:
Administrative Summons Expenses; and
Right to Financial Privacy Act fees.
Am I required to file a travel voucher in a specific format and must the voucher be signed?
Yes, you must submit your travel voucher in one of two formats: hardcopy or electronic. The preferred method for submitting travel vouchers is through the paperless, automated IRS travel system, GovTrip. The GovTrip system accommodates processing official travel claims. Using GovTrip, the voucher is signed electronically. If filing a paper voucher your claim must be submitted on the Standard Form 1012, Travel Voucher, and prepared and signed in ink. Any alterations to a travel voucher must be initialed.
Who must review and sign travel claims?
The approving official must review and approve travel claims for the authorized travel.
What are the approving official's responsibilities?
The approving official must have full knowledge of the employee's travel activities and ensure:
Travel voucher is properly prepared in accordance with policies and procedures;
Types of expenses claimed are authorized and allowable expenses;
Amounts claimed are accurate;
All advance balances are liquidated with each voucher or checks are submitted to the BFC for outstanding advances; and
Required receipts, statements, justifications, etc., are attached to the travel voucher.
Who is responsible for the validity of the travel voucher?
The approving official assumes ultimate responsibility under 31 USC § 3528 for the validity of the voucher; however:
The employee must ensure all travel expenses are prudent and necessary and submit the expenses in the form of a proper claim; and
The approving official shall review the completed voucher to ensure that the claim is properly prepared in accordance with the policies and procedures before authorizing it for payment.
Within how many calendar days after I submit a proper travel voucher must the IRS reimburse my allowable expenses?
The IRS must reimburse you within 30 calendar days after you submit a proper voucher to your approving official.
Within how many calendar days after I submit a travel voucher must the IRS notify me of any error that would prevent payment within 30 calendar days after submission?
The IRS must notify you within seven calendar days after its receipt of the voucher and must provide the reasons why the voucher is not proper.
Will I receive a late payment fee in addition to the amount due if the IRS fails to reimburse me within 30 calendar days after I submit a proper travel voucher?
How are late payment fees calculated?
Late payment fees are calculated using the prevailing Prompt Payment Act, Public Law 97-177, interest rate beginning on the 31st calendar day after the required payment date and ending on the date payment is made.
Under what circumstances may the IRS disallow a claim for an expense?
If the employee:
Does not properly itemize his/her expenses;
Does not provide required receipts or other documentation to support the claim; or
Claims an expense that is not authorized.
What must the IRS do if it disallows a travel claim?
If an employee files a claim on SF 1012, the IRS will issue a notice of disallowance and pay the amount of the travel claim which is not in dispute.
If an employee files a claim electronically, the approving official will provide the reason for the disallowance and authorize payment of the claim for those items that are not disallowed.
May I challenge the IRS' disallowance of my claim?
Yes, you may request reconsideration of your claim if you have additional facts or documentation to support your request for reconsideration. Submit a written statement to Financial Management, Office of Financial Management Policy.
What must I do to challenge a disallowed claim?
You must prepare a SF 1012, Travel Voucher, claiming the disallowed amount and write "Supplemental Voucher" at the top of the voucher. All vouchers must have original signatures. Provide a full explanation of the circumstances and the reasons for considering the amount reimbursable on or attached to the voucher. GovTrip cannot be used to process reclaim vouchers. You must also:
Provide full itemization for all disallowed items reclaimed;
Provide receipts for all disallowed items reclaimed that require receipts;
Provide a copy of the notice of disallowance;
State the proper authority for the claim if challenging the IRS’ application of the law or statute; and
If request for reconsideration is denied by the office that originally disallowed the claim, you may submit your reclaim voucher and the decision denying the claim to Financial Management, Office of Financial Management Policy, for review.
Where do I submit my requests for reconsideration if my claims are denied by Financial Management, Office of Financial Management Policy and I'm a Non-Bargaining Unit or Bargaining Unit employee?
Non-bargaining unit employees whose claims are denied may file a claim with GSA Board of Contract Appeals (GSBCA). The burden is on the claimant to establish the timeliness of the claim and the liability of the claim based on the information submitted by the claimant and the Service;
Bargaining unit employees should contact their Union representative; and
Claims should be received by the IRS or the GSBCA within one year of the date the expense was incurred.
What happens if I attempt to defraud the Government?
You forfeit reimbursement pursuant to 28 USC § 2514 and may be subject under 18 USC § 287 and 1001 to one, or both, of the following:
A fine of not more than $10,000; or
Imprisonment for not more than 5 years.
What is long-term taxable travel?
Long-term taxable travel is travel which lasts for more than one year, or for which there is a realistic expectation that such travel will last for more than one year, or for which there is no realistic expectation that such travel will end within one year. As such, long-term taxable travel includes:
Local (daily) travel between a residence and a non-temporary work location. Revenue Ruling 99-7 C.B. 361, contains a full description of this type of travel.
Travel away from the residence involving, overnight travel to a single location. Revenue Ruling 93-86, 193-2 C.B. 71, contains a full description of this type of travel.
Who does long-term taxable travel affect?
All employees (including managers and executives) are potentially affected by these rules. Transportation expenses incurred in going between the residence and a non-temporary work location not involving overnight travel generally are nondeductible personal commuting expenses rather than deductible business expenses.
Are employees who are assigned to the same specific work location reimbursed for travel taxed identically?
No, all employees, including managers, will have separate determinations made based on their facts and circumstances. In summary, employees assigned to a single work location could have different taxability consequences since a separate determination is made based on the individual employee’s travel expectations, residence and regular work location(s). For example, the same amount of reimbursement paid to each member of a large case team could be taxable to the coordinator and some team members and non-taxable to other team members and specialists.
How is a "realistic expectation" determined?
The realistic expectation for long-term travel is based on the current facts and circumstances known to the employee and the employee’s manager. However, prior work at a work location is considered if there has not been a break of least seven continuous months since the employee’s last visit to the location while on official duty.
When does the non-temporary period start and end?
A non-temporary period starts when the employee’s realistic expectation to travel to that work location does not have a scheduled end in one year or less and neither the 35 workdays or the break in service interpretations apply. The non-temporary period ends when there is a break of at least seven continuous months in travel to a location at which time the employee must reevaluate the case and make a new realistic expectation based on the one year rule and the 35 workdays and break in service interpretations.
Do long-term taxable travel rules apply when an employee goes to a work location for various training classes and meetings? The classes are not expected to last more than one year, but the employee realistically expects to go to the same location for a year for various training sessions and meetings.
Yes, the travel to the location determines the taxability not the performance of service or the nature of the work. Since the employee expects to go to the work location, for training and meetings, over a period of 12 consecutive months without a break in service, unless either the 35 workdays (or partial workdays) or the seven continuous month break in service interpretations apply, reimbursements for travel to or from the employee’s residence to the work location will be taxable. If the travel is between a work location and another work location (non-temporary or temporary), then the travel is non-taxable.
When does the one year clock start for taxability purposes?
For purposes of determining an employee’s length of travel expectation (one year rule), the first date of travel to a particular work location would be the beginning date or "start the clock" (i.e., travel is not expected to end within one year from that date.). Physical presence at the work location is the determinative factor and not the date assigned to a project or first time charged to a project.
What if a trip of one year or less is extended to more than one year?
If, during a period of travel to a location was originally expected to last for one year or less, and the assignment is extended such that travel is now realistically expected to last for more than one year, the employee's reimbursements are taxable from the date the employee learned of the extension. Thus, for example, if an assignment was scheduled to last for seven months and, after working at the location for six months, an employee learns that employment at the location is scheduled to continue for eight additional months, the employee's length of travel expectation (one year rule) would be determined from the first date of travel to that location. As that travel is now realistically expected to last fourteen months (the six months that have elapsed plus the eight months scheduled to remain) from its beginning date, all reimbursements for travel to the location from the date that the employee learned of the extension will be taxable.
What is local long-term taxable travel?
Local long-term taxable travel occurs when the employee travels to a non-temporary work location, and employment is realistically expected to last for more than one year or there is no realistic expectation that it will last for less than one year. If there is an initial realistic expectation that an employee will work at that location for more than one year, but for no more than 35 workdays (or partial workdays) during each of the calendar years within that period, then the assignment will be consider temporary. Employment at that work location initially may be treated as temporary based on the 35 day rule, but if at some point, the expectation changes, then the assignment will not be considered temporary for at least the remainder of that calendar year. Only reimbursements for travel to/from the residence and work site are taxable as wages.
What is a "single location" ?
A single location is the entire area within which employees would generally commute in order to work at a particular location. Travel to any other location or locations within that same area is travel that also comes within the single location determination. Thus, a period of overnight travel to one work location, followed by a period of overnight travel to a second work location that is within the same area as the first work location, are combined and constitute travel to a single location.
What are commuting expenses?
Transportation expenses incurred in going between the residence and a non-temporary work location (not involving overnight travel) generally are nondeductible personal commuting expenses rather than deductible business expenses.
Is there a difference in treatment of daily travel inside or outside the metropolitan area?
No, the travel distance within or outside of the metropolitan area is not a factor in taxability of reimbursements for daily travel.
Do the IRS frequency and break in service interpretations on taxability of reimbursements for daily long-term travel include trips to work locations which originate or terminate at another work location not involving the employee’s residence?
Yes, although reimbursements for travel between work locations, not involving the employee’s personal residence, are always non-taxable for daily transportation costs, such workdays (or partial workdays) are counted in applying the 35 workdays and seven months break in service interpretation of the one year rule of Revenue Ruling 99-7 1999-1 C.B. 361.
How do I file my long-term travel claim?
Each travel voucher claiming long-term travel reimbursement must have an Authorization of Long-Term Taxable Travel, Form 12654, attached. The authorization form is to be retained with the GovTrip documentation supporting that voucher in accordance with local procedures. If an SF 1012, Travel Voucher, (paper) is used to file a claim for long-term taxable travel expenses instead of GovTrip, a copy of Form 12654 is to be attached to the SF 1012 submitted for processing. All long-term travel to a non-temporary location is considered income under the Internal Revenue Code, and the employee will receive a Form W-2 from the IRS for the amount of taxable reimbursements received.
Must a separate authorization form be completed for each work location?
Yes, an authorization form must be completed for each work location.
Does the Authorization of Long-Term Taxable Travel, form have to be signed by the employee, or can her/his name be printed?
The manager and employee must sign the Long-Term Taxable Travel authorization form. As stated on the form, an employee’s signature does not indicate agreement, only acknowledges receipt.
What are the IRS' rules for travel between work locations and flexiplace?
Revenue Ruling 99-7 does not alter the general rule that the costs of going between one work location and another work location are deductible business expenses. This rule applies regardless of whether either of the work locations is a temporary work location. Thus, reimbursements for trips by an employee between work locations away from the employee’s residence do not constitute income. The IRS has determined that each employee’s official station is the assigned IRS office of the employee, and that a flexiplace location may be established for the convenience of the employee, rather than for the convenience of the employer. Because the income tax regulations hold that if the flexiplace location is established for the convenience of the employee, these home offices cannot be not treated as work locations for purposes of these rules.
Can travel from a flexiplace location to a non-temporary work location be considered non-taxable travel?
No, reimbursements for travel between an employee's residence and a non-temporary work location are taxable, even if the residence is the employee's flexiplace work location. The tax rules provide that transportation expense reimbursements for trips between an office in your residence and a non-temporary work location in that business are taxable if the residence office does not meet the requirements of Section 280A(c)(1)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code. The "office in the residence" must be used regularly and exclusively as the employee's principal place of business for the employer's convenience. The IRS, as the employer, has determined that each employee's official station is the assigned IRS office of the employee, and that a flexiplace location is for the convenience of the employee rather than for the employer. Therefore, the requirements of Section 280A(c)(1)(A) are not met. Reimbursements for travel between a non-temporary work location and a flexiplace work location in an employee's residence will be taxable.
If an employee always leaves from his or her permanently assigned office to go to other work locations and returns to the permanently assigned office before returning to the employee’s residence, would any travel reimbursement received by the employee be taxable under Revenue Ruling 99-7?
No, reimbursements for daily travel between work locations, which do not involve the employee’s personal residence, are always non-taxable regardless of the designation of the work location as temporary or non-temporary.