1.32.4 Travel Card Program

Manual Transmittal

October 23, 2014

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) 1.32.4, Service-wide Financial Policies and Procedures, Travel Card Program.

Material Changes

(1) This IRM has been reorganized and updated to more accurately serve as a reference for the Travel Card Program.

(2) Removed and replaced references to GovTrip with Electronic Travel System (ETS).

(3) Revised IRM signature from Chief, Agency Wide Shared Services (AWSS), to Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

(4) Established dual ownership of the Travel Card Program between CFO and AWSS, Credit Card Services.

(5) Removed travel advance as a use of the convenience check program.

(6) Added reference to the Government Charge Card Prevention Act of 2012 to the section on Inappropriate Use.

(7) Changed definition of Standard Travel Cardholder remove ability to purchase emergency supply items.

(8) Added the purchase of fuel for a POV for both local and city-to-city travel using the travel card.

(9) Added when cash can be withdrawn from a ATM machine.

(10) Removed section Expenses Exempt from Mandatory Use of Travel Card Requirement.

Effect on Other Documents

This supersedes IRM 1.32.4 dated October 17, 2012.

Audience

All Divisions and Functions

Effective Date

(10-23-2014)

Robin L. Canady,
Chief Financial Officer

Overview

  1. Purpose: This Internal Revenue Manual provides information regarding the Government Travel Card Program.

  2. Policy Owner: CFO is responsible for Travel Card and Centrally Billed Account (CBA) Program policy, and audits related to program policy.

  3. Program Owner: AWSS is the Travel Card and Centrally Billed Account (CBA) Program owner and is responsible for administration, procedures, and audits related to these programs.

Background

  1. This IRM provides information on the Travel Card Program and the Centrally Billed Government Travel Card Program. This section is for Internal Revenue Service employees who perform official government travel. It is also for supervisory and administrative personnel who authorize, direct, or review such travel, or certify reimbursement of travel related expenses.

Authority

  1. The Travel and Transportation Reform Act of 1998 (Pub. L. No. 105–264)

Related Resources

  1. IRM 1.32.1, Official IRS Local Travel Guide

  2. IRM 1.32.11, Official IRS City-to-City Travel Guide

  3. Federal Travel Regulation

  4. 5 U.S.C. 5514

  5. Employee Resource Center (ERC)

Definitions

  1. The following terms are associated with the Government Travel Card Program:

    1. Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) - Contractor-provided service that allows cash withdrawals from participating ATMs. The cash withdrawal and associated fees are charged to the Standard Travel Card account. Cash from ATMs is only authorized for expenses that cannot be charged to the Travel Card while in official IRS travel status.

    2. Billing Cycle - The period of time commencing on the 4th of the month and ending on the 3rd of the following month. All transactions that post to an account during a cycle are summarized on a Statement of Account issued by the Government Credit Card Contractor.

    3. Card Limit - The maximum cumulative amount that can be charged to an individually billed Travel Card account in any one billing cycle. Card limits are used to strengthen internal controls by establishing the appropriate amount Travel Cardholders can spend in a billing cycle to accomplish their program responsibilities.

    4. Centrally Billed Travel Card Account - A corporate Travel Card account set up for travelers who do not have an individually billed Travel Card to use for official IRS travel expenses (airline and train tickets).

    5. Delinquent Account - Individually billed government Travel Card with a balance due that remains unpaid for a period of 61 days or more from the closing date of the Statement of Account on which the charges first appeared.

    6. Disputed Item - An erroneous, duplicate, or over charge that appears as a transaction on an individually billed Travel Cardholder's Statement of Account. Travel Cardholders are responsible for timely disputing any incorrect or unauthorized charges that may appear on their Statement of Account.

    7. Electronic Credit Review - The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-123, Appendix B, Improving the Management of Government Charge Card Programs, requires all agencies to perform a credit check on new individually billed Travel Card applicants using a Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) credit score. The Government Credit Card Contractor will electronically research the applicants credit score to assess credit worthiness based on credit history and current credit accounts. The resulting FICO score will determine whether the applicant is issued a Standard or Restricted individually billed Travel Card.

    8. Electronic Travel System (ETS) - A web-based, integrated travel booking and reimbursement system that includes authorizations, vouchers, and travel reservations for both domestic and foreign travel. The system's split disbursement function allows travelers to allocate the payment of individual expenses directly to the Government Credit Card Contractor.

    9. Frequent Travel - Defined as two or more official IRS trips per year.

    10. Government Credit Card Contractor - The Bank that issues the Travel Card used by authorized IRS employees to pay for official travel expenses.

    11. Inappropriate Use - Use of the IRS government Credit Card to make purchases not approved, funded and authorized by or in conformance with applicable IRS Travel Card and CBA guidelines.

    12. Infrequent Travel - Defined as less than two official IRS government trips per year.

    13. Merchant Category Code (MCC) - A standard code assigned to every Merchant that accepts a Credit Card that identifies the category of goods, services, or activity they are involved with. The accuracy of the assigned MCC is the function of the Merchant and MasterCard.

    14. Merchant Category Code Templates - A grouping of MCCs assigned to each individually billed Travel Cardholder's account based on the Travel Cardholder's anticipated purchasing activity. MCC templates are an element of the system of internal controls for the Credit Card Program, designed to reduce the potential for inappropriate use of a Credit Card.

    15. Restricted Travel Cardholder - A Travel Cardholder who did not consent to an electronic credit check or had a credit score of less than 660. A Restricted Travel Card does not include the MCC template for miscellaneous expenses (used to obtain emergency copies for administrative summons). In addition, Restricted Travel Cardholders do not have ATM privileges.

    16. Split Disbursement - An Electronic Travel System (ETS) functionality that allows you to allocate the payment of individual expenses directly to the Government Credit Card Contractor.

    17. Standard Travel Cardholder - A Travel Card Applicant who agreed to an electronic credit review and had a credit score of 660 or more. A Standard Travel Card includes the MCC template for miscellaneous expenses (used to obtain emergency copies for administrative summons) and ATM access.

    18. Statement of Account - A summary of transactions (debits and credits) posted to the individually billed government Travel Cardholder’s account during the billing cycle. The Government Credit Card Contractor will send a Statement of Account to the individually billed government Travel Cardholder within five business days after the end of the billing cycle. Statements of Account can be accessed through the Government Credit Card Contractor’s website.

    19. Travel Advance - A prepayment of estimated travel expenses paid to an IRS employee in advance of authorized official IRS travel. Travel Advances are not available to Standard Travel Cardholders.

    20. Travel Card - A credit card used to pay for authorized official IRS travel and allowable travel related expenses. Each Travel Card reflects an individual account established in the Travel Cardholder's name. The term "individually billed" is synonymous with Travel Card, Credit Card, government issued Travel Card, and IBA.

    21. 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.

    22. Travel Cardholder - The IRS employee who has been trained and authorized to use the individually billed Travel Card. The Travel Cardholder is the only authorized user of the Travel Card, and is responsible for safeguarding the Travel Card and account number to minimize the opportunity for theft or unauthorized use.

    23. Travel Management Center (TMC) - A Travel Agency operating under General Services Administration (GSA) contract which provides transportation, lodging, and rental car services to IRS employees.

    24. Travel Management Center (TMC) Fee - A fee charged by the TMC for ticketing a reservation. If a reservation is cancelled prior to ticketing, no transaction fee is incurred.

    25. Travel Voucher - A written request or electronic submission supported by documentation and receipts where applicable, for reimbursement of expenses incurred in the performance of official IRS and relocation travel.

Individually Billed Government Travel Card Program

  1. Frequent travelers are required to obtain and use the individually billed government issued Travel Card for all official travel, except where specifically exempted.

    1. Frequent travel is defined as two or more official IRS government trips per year.

    2. Managers are responsible for determining whether their employees are frequent travelers.

Responsibilities

  1. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Agency-Wide Shared Services (AWSS) share joint responsibility for the Government Travel Card Program. The CFO is responsible for Travel Card Program policy. AWSS is responsible for program administration and procedures.

CFO, Financial Management, Financial Management Policy
  1. The CFO, Financial Management (FM), Financial Management Policy (FMP) Office is responsible for IRS policies governing the Travel Card Program.

AWSS, Employee Support Services, Credit Card Services
  1. The AWSS, Employee Support Services (ESS), Credit Card Services (CCS) is responsible for administration, procedures, and oversight of the Government Travel Card Program including, but not limited to:

    1. Providing guidance and direction to Travel Cardholders and Managers.

    2. Initiating appropriate action to notify Labor Relations of delinquent accounts and inappropriate use.

    3. Assisting Travel Cardholders with Travel Card account maintenance changes.

    4. Performing reviews and monitoring Travel Card Program activity.

Manager Responsibilities
  1. Managers are responsible for the following actions:

    1. Determining whether or not their employees are frequent travelers. Frequent travelers are required to obtain and use the government Travel Card for all official travel, except where specifically exempted.

    2. Reviewing travel documents to ensure Travel Card expense claims are appropriate and business related.

    3. Approving requests for Travel Card account maintenance changes, such as Card limits and cancellations.

    4. Ensuring their employees are aware of the government Travel Card requirements and for initiating appropriate and timely action to address instances of delinquency and inappropriate use.

    5. Consulting with their servicing Labor Relations staff before meeting with a Travel Cardholder who is delinquent in payment of the government Travel Card or who may have inappropriately used the Travel Card.

  2. Related guidance:

    1. The Inappropriate Use Guide offers specific instances of misuse and their resolutions.

    2. The Credit Card Misuse Guide to Penalty Determinations provides Labor Relations guidance for penalty determination for the misuse of the Travel Card.

Travel Cardholder Responsibilities
  1. Travel Cardholders are responsible for the following actions:

    1. Becoming familiar with the current IRS IRM 1.32.1 Official IRS Local Travel Guide and IRM 1.32.11, Official IRS City-to-City Travel Guide.

    2. Using the government Travel Card for travel-related expenses while performing official government travel only.

    3. Promptly filing travel reimbursement vouchers.

    4. Timely paying all undisputed charges and fees associated with the account.

    5. Timely disputing any incorrect or unauthorized charges that may appear on the monthly Statement of Account.

    6. Safeguarding the government Travel Card and account number from unauthorized users.

    7. Complying with the terms and conditions of the Cardholder Account Agreement.

Mandatory Use of Individually Billed Travel Card

  1. The Travel and Transportation Reform Act of 1998 and General Services Administration Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) require frequent federal travelers to obtain and use the government issued Travel Card for all official travel, except where specifically exempted.

  2. Frequent travelers are required to obtain and use the Travel Card for all official IRS travel.

  3. The Chief Financial Officer issued a policy statement and procedures (effective April 15, 2003) to implement mandatory use of the Travel Card and Prompt Payment of Vouchers. The IRS implemented these requirements in a signed Letter of Understanding between the Director, Workforce Relations Division and National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).

Exemptions to Mandatory Use of Travel Card Policy
  1. Delegation Order 1-49 grants authority to the Associate Director, Employee Support Services, Credit Card Services Branch to grant exemptions to the mandatory use policy to frequent travelers who believe they would incur a hardship if required to obtain and use the government issued Travel Card. Infrequent travelers are automatically exempted from using the government issued Travel Card and should not submit requests for an exemption.

  2. The Letter of Understanding between the Director, Workforce Relations Division and NTEU defines hardship as employees who have a history of personal or work-related credit card problems, and employees whose religious tenets object to the use of credit cards in general.

  3. Frequent travelers can apply for an exemption from the government issued Travel Card use through the Associate Director, Credit Card Services Branch if they believe they would incur a hardship if required to obtain and use the government issued Travel Card.

  4. Employees may request an exemption by sending an e-mail message with justification to their immediate Manager. If the Manager determines both requirements are met, frequent travel and hardship, the Manager will forward the request with his/her approval to the Credit Card Services mailbox, *AWSS-ESS-CCS. The subject line of the message should be adjusted to read "Exemption Request" before forwarding.

Exemption for Mandatory Use for International Travel
  1. The Large Business and International Organization (LB&I) International Travel Office has been delegated the authority to grant exemptions to the mandatory use of the government issued Travel Card for IRS business outside the United States, except for Chief Counsel. Employees of Chief Counsel organize their travel through the Chief Counsel Travel Office.

  2. Information for submitting requests for exemption from the mandatory use of the Travel Card requirement for international travel can be found in the Travel Policy and Guidance section on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select International Travel.

Payment Sources for Travelers with Exemptions
  1. The following sources of payment for allowable travel expenses are authorized for travelers who receive an exemption from the mandatory use of the Travel Card:

    1. Centrally Billed Travel Card Account (for common carrier transportation expenses only).

    2. Personal funds/personal charge card (except for purchases of common carrier tickets over $100).

    3. Travel advances through ETS for IRS employees only.

Use of the Individually Billed Government Travel Card

  1. The Travel Card can be used for official government travel and travel-related expenses only while away from the official station. The Travel Card cannot be used to charge expenses when the Travel Cardholder is not in official travel status.

    1. The ATM feature must only be used to obtain cash for official IRS travel expenses that cannot be charged using the Travel Card.

    2. Some states provide a lodging tax exemption for federal employees on official business. GSA provides a list of participating states with their applicable forms. See State Tax Information. Travelers must present the form to the hotel at check-in.

    3. The Travel Card is non-transferable and may only be used by the employee whose name appears on the Travel Card.

  2. Employee should use the travel card to the maximum extent possible. At a minimum, employee must use the Government travel card to pay for transportation, lodging, and rental cars.

  3. The Travel Card can be used to purchase fuel for a privately owned vehicle (POV) for travel between places of official business or other authorized points no more than one (1) calendar day prior to the start of official travel through one calendar day after the official travel ends.

Authorized/Unauthorized Uses
  1. The Travel Card can only be used for official IRS travel and allowable travel-related expenses while in travel status away from your official station.

    Expense Type Authorized For City to City Travel Authorized for Local Travel When Expense is Authorized, Card Use is:
    Auto Rental Yes Yes Mandatory
    Baggage Fees Yes No Mandatory
    Common Carrier Transportation Tickets Yes No Mandatory
    Companion/Personal Airline Tickets, and additional charges for premium seats No No Unauthorized
    Emergency Purchases (maps when traveling in POV and emergency copies only for administrative summons) Yes Yes Optional
    Gasoline for a Government vehicle No No Unauthorized
    Gasoline for a POV Yes Yes Optional
    Gasoline for a Rental Car Yes Yes Mandatory
    Laundry or dry cleaning Yes No Optional
    Lodging (hotel, motel, and corporate housing) Yes No Mandatory
    Long Distance Calling (except when billed to room) No No Unauthorized
    Meals (including grocery stores) Yes No Mandatory if $15 or greater; optional if less than $15
    Meeting Space and Conference Fees No No Unauthorized
    Office Supplies No No Unauthorized
    Parking (long term, daily, hotel) Yes Yes Optional
    Postage (stamps, certified mail, etc.) No No Unauthorized
    Taxi and Shuttle Service Yes Yes Optional
    Vehicle Repairs No No Unauthorized

    Note: Travel Cards should not be used to purchase items of a personal nature such as clothing, toiletries, or gifts.

  2. Refer to the "Mandatory Use of Travel Cards" – Frequently Asked Questions on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) for additional guidance.

NTEU Use of the Travel Card
  1. If the IRS does not approve funding for travel expenses of employees performing NTEU business, the Travel Card cannot be used. Example: If Union officials travel using Union funds rather than government funds, the government Travel Card cannot be used.

Inappropriate Use of the Travel Card
  1. Credit Card Services is responsible for reviewing Travel Card transaction reports to ensure charges are appropriate and business related. Questionable charges on a Travel Cardholder's Statement of Account will be referred to the appropriate Labor Relations Office and Manager for further investigation and resolution. Travel Cardholders who use their government Travel Card for personal charges could be in violation of the Rules of Conduct. The Task Order with the Government Credit Card Contractor requires that Travel Cards be used only for official government travel and related expenses, and resulting statements be paid in full within the statement period. Examples of inappropriate use include:

    1. Purchasing items for personal use;

    2. Using the Card without prior authorization;

    3. Using the incorrect credit card;

    4. Using the Travel Card by a non-authorized User;

    5. Purchasing meals within official work location/commuting area;

    6. Renting automobile without prior authorization; and

    7. Charging travel expenses of several travelers on one Travel Card.


    The Inappropriate Use Guide offers specific instances of misuse and their resolutions. The Government Charge Card Prevention Act of 2012 requires agencies to provide for appropriate adverse personnel actions to be imposed in cases in which employees fail to comply with applicable Travel Card terms. The Guide to Penalty Determinations provides Labor Relations guidance for penalty determinations for the misuse of the Travel Card.

Card Restrictions

  1. The restrictions on Travel Card accounts are discussed below. If a Travel Card is declined because of a restriction, information about Travel Card accounts is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Problems.

Card Limits
  1. The Card limit is the maximum cumulative amount that can be charged to a Travel Card account in a billing cycle. For most Travel Cardholders, the Card limit is $5,000 per billing cycle. The Travel Card limit considers unpaid charges from prior monthly billing cycles as part of the Card limit. As a result, the actual available Card limit fluctuates as charges and payments are posted.

  2. Higher limits are provided for special circumstances such as extended travel. Requests for a higher limit must be made with the approval of the Travel Cardholder's Manager. Requests must be specific as to the need for the increased limit and the duration. The duration may be permanent or for a specific time period, and should reflect the business needs of the traveler. However, it is not appropriate to request an increase in the Card limit if there are past due balances that are currently outstanding. More information about requests to change Card and ATM Limits is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Requests to Change Travel Card and ATM Limit.

Relocation Employees (Special Privileges)
  1. Employees with relocation expense authorization are required to use the government Travel Card for house hunting and en-route travel expenses to the new official station. Use of the Travel Card for temporary quarters is not mandatory.

  2. Special privileges for Travel Cardholders with relocation expense authorization include an increased Card limit and enhanced Merchant Category Code template. Special privileges are removed from the Travel Cardholder's account at the conclusion of the relocation travel period. Information regarding special privileges for Travel Cardholders with relocation expense authorization is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Card Restrictions.

Merchant Category Codes (MCC) and Templates
  1. An MCC is a four digit numerical standard code that identifies the type of goods and/or services the merchant provides. The codes limit purchases to travel-related expenses. Travel Card activity is restricted by the MCC assigned to the Travel Cardholder's account.

  2. A template is a grouping of MCCs assigned to a Travel Cardholder's account based on anticipated use. The Travel Card will then be accepted at merchants, such as airlines and hotels, whose MCC is included in the template for that Travel Card. Travel Cards will decline at merchants whose MCC is not included in the template.

  3. Requests for MCC changes for miscellaneous expenses (used to obtain emergency copies for administrative summons) on a Restricted Travel Card account will not be considered.

  4. Information Collection action will be terminated if the employee separates from the Service regarding MCCs, templates, and requesting temporary/permanent MCCs is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Card Declined.

Cash from Automatic Teller Machines (ATM Access)

  1. The ATM feature (available to only Standard Travel Cardholders) may be used to obtain cash for official IRS travel expenses. The travel card should be used to the maximum extent possible to charge travel expenses. At a minimum, the travel card must be used to pay for transportation, lodging, and rental cars.

  2. The ATM withdrawals are limited to $100 per day with an overall withdrawal limit of $1,000 per billing cycle. The Travel Cardholders can withdraw cash from an ATM three (3) days prior to the official travel date of departure through the last day of official travel.

  3. The Government Credit Card Contractor charges a fee of 2% of the amount of the cash advance for the service. In addition, an ATM fee of varying amounts can be charged as an access fee. These fees are charged to the Standard Travel Cardholders account. Both of these fees are reimbursable to the Standard Travel Cardholder.

  4. Restricted Travel Cardholders are not granted ATM privileges.

  5. Standard Travel Cardholders cannot request a travel advance.

  6. Standard Travel Cardholders can establish or change Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) at any time by calling the Government Credit Card Contractor. PINs are used to obtain cash for official IRS travel expenses that cannot be charged using the Travel Card. Changes are effective immediately after confirmation.

  7. Information regarding ATM access is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Cash Automated Teller Machines (ATM).

Record Retention Period for Travel Card Documentation

  1. Travel Cardholders are responsible for ensuring their travel documents have been correctly uploaded into ETS and are legible. ETS retains copies of the receipts for six years and three months so they are available for subsequent audits. See IRM 1.32.11.10.7. Managers are not required to retain original receipts and vouchers if the voucher is filed using ETS. Managers must retain copies of approved travel authorizations, travel vouchers, and original receipts if the Traveler submits a manual travel voucher. Manual travel voucher records may then be destroyed in accordance with the guidelines for record retention and disposition. Copies of records, such as manual authorizations and vouchers, and all supporting documents relating to official travel employees must be destroyed within six years and three months.

  2. Record retention guidance is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Record Retention Guidance.

Training and Application Process

  1. Training is a prerequisite for obtaining a Travel Card. All potential Travel Cardholders must first complete the Travel Card Self-Study Training Course. The instructions for completing the Government Credit Card Contractor's on-line Travel Card application form can be accessed at the end of the course along with a copy of the Cardholder Account Agreement. All Travel Card applications must be in the applicant's name as shown in IRS official personnel records or in approved pseudonym names and must be signed by the Applicant.

  2. A Travel Card will be mailed in a plain envelope to the Applicant at the statement billing mailing address indicated on the application form. It should be received within five to seven business days from the date the properly completed application is completed in the Government Credit Card Contractor's on-line application system.

  3. Standard Travel Cardholders will need to call the Government Credit Card Contractor at the number on the reverse of the Travel Card to establish a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for the ATM feature. The PIN will be used to obtain cash for official IRS travel expenses that cannot be charged using the Travel Card. Information regarding the training and application process for obtaining a Travel Card is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Application/Training Process.

Electronic Credit Review
  1. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-123, Appendix B, Chapter 6, Creditworthiness, requires all agencies to perform a credit check on new Travel Card applicants using a Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) credit score. A new Travel Card Applicant is an employee who has not had a government issued Travel Card within the last 12 months. Creditworthiness reviews are an important internal control to ensure Travel Cardholders are financially responsible.

  2. The option of consenting to an electronic review by the Government Credit Card Contractor is offered at the conclusion of the Travel Card Self-Study Training Course. A new Travel Card Applicant with a credit score of 660 or higher will receive a Standard Travel Card. Applicants with a FICO credit score of less than 660 will receive a Restricted Travel Card. Applicants who do not consent to an electronic credit review will be issued a Restricted Travel Card. Information regarding electronic credit checks is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Credit Checks.

Activating the Travel Card
  1. Upon receipt of the Travel Card, Travel Cardholders must verify the accuracy of the information on the transmittal document and on the Travel Card.

  2. If there is an error on the transmittal document or Travel Card, the Cardholder should contact Credit Card Services via OS GetServices to correct the problem.

  3. If the information is correct, the Travel Cardholder should activate the Travel Card by calling the Government Credit Card Contractor at the telephone number on the activation sticker. When the call is completed, the Card will be activated and ready for use.

  4. Standard Travel Cardholders have Automated Teller Machine (ATM) access. The Standard Travel Cardholder may establish or change his/her Personal Identification Number (PIN) for the ATM feature by calling the number on the reverse of the Travel Card.

  5. Standard Travel Cardholders with ATM access will not be able to apply for travel advances. Information regarding activating and establishing or changing a PIN number is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Activating Your Card.

Ordering a Replacement Card
  1. If the Travel Card becomes worn, damaged, or defective in any way, the Travel Cardholder can order a replacement Card by contacting the Government Credit Card Contractor at the telephone number listed on the reverse side of the Card.

Card Renewal Process
  1. When the expiration date shown on the face of the Travel Card draws near, the Government Credit Card Contractor will automatically send the Travel Cardholder a renewal Card. Generally, this will occur within two to four weeks prior to the expiration date. The renewal Card will require activation. Activation instructions will be provided on a sticker affixed to the renewal Card. Activating the renewal Card automatically cancels the expiring Card. The expired Card should be properly disposed of by cutting it up.

Travel Card Refresher
  1. Travel Cardholders are required to complete refresher training every two years. The objectives of refresher training are:

    1. Strengthen internal controls of the IRS Travel Card Program.

    2. Serve as a tool to ensure all Travel Cardholders are made aware of current program rules, regulations, guidelines, and changes.

  2. Travel Cardholders will be notified via e-mail with detailed instructions when they are required to complete the course. Travel Cardholders will have approximately 45 calendar days to complete the training after receipt of notification. Instructions for accessing Travel Card Refresher Training can be found on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website.

Monthly Statements

  1. Travel Cardholders receive a statement from the Government Credit Card Contractor if there is activity on the account or an outstanding balance.

  2. The billing cycle for Travel Card accounts closes on the 3rd of each month.

  3. Travel Cardholders are responsible for timely payment of all undisputed charges.

Statement Explanation
  1. Travel Cardholders will receive a Statement of Account from the Government Credit Card Contractor if there is activity on the account or an outstanding balance. The Statement of Account is mailed to the statement billing mailing address provided by the Travel Cardholder. This will usually be the Travel Cardholder’s home address, unless the Travel Cardholder has specified a different statement billing mailing address.

  2. The monthly Statement of Account reflects activity on the account for the billing cycle. The billing cycle for Travel Cards closes on the 3rd of each month. Each charge and credit transaction that posts to the Travel Cardholder's account during the billing cycle will be itemized on the Statement of Account. The Statement of Account will show the total amount due and the payment due date.

  3. The Travel Cardholder must review the Statement of Account for erroneous or unauthorized charges. If any of these charges are identified, the Travel Cardholder must take prompt action to resolve the dispute. Information about the "Dispute Process" is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website.

  4. The Travel Cardholder must pay all undisputed charges in full upon receipt of the Statement of Account. The Government Credit Card Contractor must receive the Travel Cardholder’s payment by the due date. The due date is 25 days from the closing date on the Statement of Account in which the charges first appear. The Travel Cardholder is responsible for timely payment of all undisputed charges regardless of whether or not reimbursement has been received. See IRM 1.32.4.6.8.2.

Dispute Process
  1. Travel Cardholders are responsible for timely disputing any incorrect or unauthorized charges that may appear on their monthly Statement of Account. Travel Cardholders must contact the Government Credit Card Contractor Representative within 60 days from the date of the statement on which the disputed charge(s) first appear.

  2. If the merchant's name and the charge(s) are not recognized by the Travel Cardholder, immediately contact the Government Credit Card Contractor Representative to initiate a transaction dispute so the unrecognized charge(s) can be removed and a new Travel Card issued. Select "Lost/Stolen or Compromised Card " on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website.

  3. If the merchant's name is recognized by the Travel Cardholder, but the charge(s) were not authorized, contact the Merchant to request a credit. If the credit(s) do not post in the next billing cycle, contact the Government Credit Card Contractor Representative to initiate a transaction dispute. If the dispute is not initiated within the 60 day time frame the Travel Cardholder will be responsible for payment of the charge(s).

  4. After the Travel Cardholder notifies the Government Credit Card Contractor Representative, disputed amounts may be deducted from "total payments due" . Travel Cardholders must be proactive in timely securing credits resulting from a dispute from merchants where appropriate. Travel Cardholders must timely pay all charges on their Statement of Account that have not been disputed.

  5. Information regarding the dispute process is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Dispute Process.

Trip Cancellation
  1. When the Travel Card is used to purchase common carrier transportation tickets through ETS and the trip is cancelled, if the reservation has not been ticketed, the travel authorization and reservation in ETS must be cancelled. No transaction fee will be incurred and the fare will not be charged to the Travel Card.

  2. If the trip is cancelled after ticketing, the Travel Cardholder should contact the Travel Management Center (TMC) to cancel and request a refund for the common carrier ticket. Do not cancel the travel authorization in ETS; the TMC fee is non-refundable. The Travel Cardholder should prepare a travel voucher to claim reimbursement for the TMC fee. If a common carrier charge appears on the Travel Cardholder's Statement of Account, the Travel Cardholder must contact the Government Credit Card Contractor Representative at the number shown on the reverse of the Travel Card to initiate the dispute process. Information about the dispute process is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Trip Cancellation/Waiting for Account Credit for additional information.

Payment Terms
  1. The Travel Cardholder is responsible for payment of all undisputed charges upon receipt of the monthly Statement of Account.

  2. The Travel Cardholder must pay all undisputed charges in full upon receipt of the Statement of Account. The Government Credit Card Contractor must receive the Travel Cardholder's payment by the due date. The due date is 25 calendar days from the closing date on the Statement of Account in which the charges first appear. The Travel Cardholder is responsible for timely payment of all undisputed charges regardless of whether or not reimbursement has been received.

    Note:

    Government postage should not be used when remitting payments to the Government Credit Card Contractor.

Payment Methods
  1. Travel Cardholders may make payments on their account through ETS, through the Government Credit Card Contractor's website, by mail, or by telephone. Information regarding each payment method is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Payment Methods.

Making/Expediting Payment
  1. Travel Cardholders may choose to allocate a portion of their reimbursable travel expenses in ETS to the Government Credit Card Contractor. Payments allocated to the Government Credit Card Contractor in ETS can be verified in the on-line payment feature or when the monthly paper Statement of Account is received in the mail. Travelers must pay any remaining Travel Card charges from a trip that was not directed via split disbursement to the Government Credit Card Contractor in ETS. The remaining charges should be paid by the Statement of Account due date. It is the Travel Cardholder's responsibility to ensure payments are posted as designated in ETS. Information regarding the split disbursement feature in ETS is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Split Disbursements.

  2. Payments may be expedited using the on-line payment feature on the Government Credit Card Contractor's website. Travel Cardholders must provide their ABA routing number, account number, and dollar amount. The Government Credit Card Contractor does not charge a fee for using the on-line payment feature; however, there may be a fee charged by the Travel Cardholder's financial institution. Information regarding on-line payments is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Card Statements and Payments.

  3. Payments to the Government Credit Card Contractor may be made by mail prior to receipt of the monthly paper Statement of Account. Travel Cardholders should include their 16 digit account number with the remittance. A copy of the electronic Statement of Account may be enclosed with the remittance. Information regarding payments by mail is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Making Payments by Mail.

  4. Travel Cardholders may use the Government Credit Card Contractor’s Phone Pay Service to expedite payment by telephone using an electronic check service. Payments made by this method will post to the Travel Cardholder’s account immediately. Travel Cardholders using this optional payment method will incur a transaction fee. This fee is not an authorized reimbursable expense. Information regarding the use of the Government Credit Card Contractor’s optional method to expedite payment is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Phone Pay Service.

Travel Vouchers: Relationship to Travel Cards
  1. Travel Cardholders must promptly file their travel vouchers because all Travel Card charges must be paid within 25 calendar days from the closing date of the Statement of Account on which they appear. Travel Cardholders cannot delay payment of Travel Card charges because travel vouchers were not timely filed. Travel Cardholders are responsible for timely payment of all undisputed charges regardless of whether they have received reimbursement.

Delinquent Accounts

  1. Travel Cards with a balance due that remains unpaid for a period of 61 days or more from the closing date of the Statement of Account on which the charges first appeared are considered delinquent. Failure to pay undisputed charges is a conduct issue that could result in disciplinary action.

Past Due Accounts
  1. A Travel Card account with an unpaid, undisputed balance 31 days after the closing date of the Statement on which the charge(s) first appeared is considered past due. If an account is unpaid 45 days from the closing date of the Statement, the Government Credit Card Contractor will send the Travel Cardholder a “past due” letter. If the account remains unpaid at 55 days, the Government Credit Card Contractor will send the Travel Cardholder a “pre-suspension” notification. A Travel Card account with an unpaid, undisputed balance 61 days after the closing date is considered delinquent.

Suspension and Reactivation
  1. If an account is unpaid 66 days from the closing date on the Statement of Account in which the charge(s) first appeared, the Government Credit Card Contractor will suspend the Cardholder’s Travel Card account and the Travel Cardholder will not be able to charge any items to the Travel Card. The Government Credit Card Contractor will reactivate a suspended Travel Card after payment has been received.

  2. Charges that have been disputed (and confirmed by the Government Credit Card Contractor by e-mail) will not be considered for default action or age to suspension. However, Travel Cardholders must be proactive in resolving disputes to ensure the charge is corrected.

  3. At the time of suspension, any special privileges assigned to the account, such as an increased Card limit, will be revoked. Special privileges will not be reinstated when the payment is made.

Multiple Suspensions
  1. If an account has been suspended two times during a rolling 12-month period for undisputed amounts and becomes past due again, the Government Credit Card Contractor can cancel the Travel Card account. A rolling 12-month period begins in one month and concludes 12 months later. For example, Travel Cardholder ABC's account is suspended in May 2014. The May 2014 suspension will continue to be considered as the first suspension until May 2015 when it will roll-off the 12-month calendar.

  2. The Government Credit Card Contractor will issue a letter to notify the Travel Cardholder and offer the Travel Cardholder an opportunity to avoid cancellation if the past due balance is paid within ten days from the date of the letter. A second letter will be sent to the Travel Cardholder if the account has been cancelled due to failure to pay the outstanding amount within the ten day period.

Payments Returned for Non-Sufficient Funds
  1. Payments by check, telephone, or via the on-line feature returned by the Government Credit Card Contractor because of non-sufficient funds (NSF) will impact the Travel Cardholder’s account.

  2. Upon the first instance of an NSF payment, any special privileges assigned to the Travel Cardholder’s account, such as an increased Card limit, will be revoked.

  3. When a second instance of an NSF occurs in a rolling 12-month period, the Government Credit Card Contractor will automatically cancel the Travel Cardholder’s account. The Government Credit Card Contractor will not reinstate an account that has a history of payments returned for non-sufficient funds.

Cancellation
  1. If an account is unpaid 131 days from the closing date on the Statement of Account in which the delinquent charge(s) first appeared, the Government Credit Card Contractor will cancel the Cardholder’s Travel Card account and revoke all charging privileges.

  2. If an account remains unpaid for 151 days from the closing date of the statement period on the Statement of Account, the Government Credit Card Contractor will report the delinquency to the credit bureau and it will appear on the Travel Cardholder’s personal credit history. More information is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Cancellation.

Cancelled Card and Need to Travel
  1. If an employee's Travel Card account has been suspended or cancelled for non-payment and, subsequently, the employee is required to travel, the following sources of payment for allowable travel expenses are authorized:

    1. Centrally Billed Travel Card Account (for common carrier transportation expenses only);

    2. Personal funds/personal charge card (except for purchases of common carrier tickets over $100); and

    3. Travel advances.

Salary Offset for Undisputed Travel Card Debt
  1. The authority for federal agencies to collect undisputed delinquent amounts incurred on an employee's Travel Card from the employee's disposable pay is contained in the Travel and Transportation Reform Act of 1998 (Pub. L. No.105-264).

  2. IRM 1.35.7 Financial Accounting, Debt Collection implements the policy for salary offset within the Internal Revenue Service.

  3. The Government Credit Card Contractor may consider salary offset for aged outstanding undisputed Travel Card charges. Selection for salary offset is made at the Government Credit Card Contractor’s discretion using established collection criteria. Salary offset will be considered upon written request from the Government Credit Card Contractor and at the approval of IRS.

  4. No more than 15% of the employee's disposable pay per pay period will be collected under this procedure. The debt covered by this collection procedure is lower in priority to all other involuntary collection, garnishment, and offset actions, and will not be collected if higher priority debt would result in more than 15% of the employee's disposable pay for any given pay period being collected.

  5. When the IRS receives a written request from the Government Credit Card Contractor for collection of Travel Card indebtedness, the employee will be afforded due process before any amounts are withheld from salary. The IRS will notify the employee in writing of its intention to collect the debt. The employee will be provided 30 days to repay the delinquent balance or enter into a written payment agreement with the Government Credit Card Contractor.

  6. Salary offset will continue until the full amount of the debt is collected or the employee makes full payment.

  7. If the employee does not make payment in full or enter into a payment agreement within the 30 day period, collection will begin the next pay period. The employee will receive a notification of the amount of the bi-weekly deduction.

  8. The salary offset provision arises under the Debt Collection procedures in 31 CFR Part 5, Treasury Debt Collection, which provide due process rights to employees, including written notice, the right to request a review of the debt and the right to a hearing. If an employee is not disputing a Travel Card debt, the employee is waiving rights that arise under the Debt Collection Act.

Reinstatement Process
  1. The Government Credit Card Contractor will rarely reinstate a Travel Card account that was cancelled due to non-payment. A Travel Card account that was cancelled due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or multiple suspensions will not be considered for reinstatement. If an employee's Travel Card account was cancelled as a result of non-payment and the employee would like to pursue reinstatement, the outstanding balance on the account, including late fees, must be paid in full. The employee should then contact his/her Manager.

  2. If the Manager determines the employee's reinstatement request should be pursued, the employee will be required to complete the on-line Travel Card Self-Study Training Course available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website. The Manager will complete the Request for Consideration of Reinstatement Form and forward it to Credit Card Services.

  3. Upon receipt of the required documentation, Credit Card Services will review the employee's Travel Card account history. If the account has been full paid, and has no history of any payment being made with a check with non-sufficient funds or collection agency involvement, Credit Card Services will forward the request to the Government Credit Card Contractor.

  4. The Government Credit Card Contractor makes the final determination on whether or not the account will be reinstated. The Government Credit Card Contractor may review and consider the complete credit history of the employee in deciding whether or not to reinstate the individual’s account. Credit Card Services will notify the Manager of the Government Credit Card Contractor’s decision. Due to the Government Credit Card Contractor’s required review of the account, the request could take several weeks to process.

  5. If the account is reinstated and becomes past due again, Credit Card Services will cancel the account. No future reinstatement requests will be considered.

  6. Information regarding requesting reinstatement of a Travel Card account and the Request for Consideration of Reinstatement Form is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Reinstatement Process.

Travel Card Account Changes

  1. Information and procedures regarding account maintenance changes are available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Changes to Cardholder Accounts. Account maintenance changes include:

    1. Name Changes.

    2. Address/Phone Changes.

    3. Cancel a Travel Card Account.

    4. Reactivating a Closed Travel Card Account.

    5. Card/ATM Limit Changes.

    6. Merchant Category Code (MCC) Changes.

    7. Realignment/Reorganization.

    8. Transferring to a New Organization.

Travel Card Problems

  1. Information and procedures regarding Travel Card problems are available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select Problems. Travel Card problems include:

    1. Lost/Stolen or Compromised Card.

    2. Card Restrictions.

    3. Card Declined.

    4. Trip Cancellation and/or Waiting for Account Credit.

    5. Delinquent Accounts.

    6. Payments Returned for Non-Sufficient Funds.

    7. Dispute Process.

    8. Credit/Overpayments.

Centrally Billed Travel Card Account Program (CBA)

  1. The Centrally Billed Travel Card Account (CBA) is a corporate Travel Card account set up for travelers who do not have a Travel Card to use for official IRS transportation expenses (airline and train tickets). One CBA account is established for each Business Organization.

Responsibilities

  1. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the Agency-Wide Shared Services (AWSS), Employee Support Services Division (ESSD), Credit Card Services Branch (CCSB) share joint responsibility for the Centrally Billed Travel Card Account. The CFO is responsible for program policy. Credit Card Services is responsible for program administration and procedures.

CFO Financial Management
  1. CFO, Financial Management is responsible for the policies and program audits governing the Centrally Billed Travel Card Account.

Credit Card Services, AWSS Employee Support Services
  1. Credit Card Services is responsible for administration, procedures, and oversight of the Centrally Billed Travel Card Account.

CBA Program Responsibilities
  1. Credit Card Services is responsible for the following actions:

    1. Safeguarding the CBA Cardholder account numbers.

    2. Reviewing travel authorizations for appropriate information/approvals.

    3. Authorizing the Travel Management Center (TMC) to issue tickets that are charged to the CBA.

    4. Reviewing the activity on the CBA to ensure: 1) Travelers are not seeking reimbursement for CBA charges; 2) Erroneous/duplicate charges are identified and resolved 3) All charges are for travelers authorized to use the CBA for official government travel.

    5. Initiating and completing the dispute resolution process when unauthorized or erroneous/duplicate charges appear on the Statement of Account.

    6. Reviewing, reconciling, and certifying monthly CBA Statements of Account for payment and sending them to the Beckley Finance Center (BFC).

    7. Ensuring payments to the Government Credit Card Contractor are properly and timely posted to the account.

    8. Providing CBA expenditure information to the Business Organizations.

Manager Responsibilities
  1. Managers are responsible for the following actions:

    1. Concurring with or rejecting employee requests to use the CBA.

    2. Ensuring the travel authorizations have the correct funding codes when the CBA is used to pay for the transportation.

    3. Approving or disapproving employee travel authorization requests.

    4. Ensuring expenses charged to the CBA are not claimed for reimbursement on the employees travel voucher.

CBA User Responsibilities
  1. Authorized CBA Users are responsible for the following actions:

    1. Contacting the Travel Management Center (TMC) to make the reservation.

    2. Informing the TMC that the CBA will be used to purchase the common carrier transportation tickets.

    3. Obtaining the cost of the transportation ticket, the cost of the TMC fee, and the reservation locator code from the TMC.

    4. Notifying the TMC and Credit Card Services if an authorized trip is cancelled.

    5. Filing timely travel vouchers identifying "CBA" as the method of payment for transportation costs charged to the CBA.

CBA Program Guidelines

  1. The Centrally Billed Travel Card Account (CBA) is a credit card account that travelers can use to charge common carrier transportation expenses and is available to:

    1. Infrequent travelers (employees who travel away from their official work location less than twice a year);

    2. New employees who have not yet obtained their own Travel Card;

    3. Invitational travelers;

    4. Employees who have received a written exemption from the mandatory use of the Travel Card from the Associate Director, Employee Support Services, Credit Card Services; and

    5. Family members of employees (who do not have a Travel Card) in relocation status (for house-hunting trips and en-route travel).

  2. Travelers who have a Travel Card cannot use the CBA unless they meet one of the following exceptions:

    1. Incur foreign travel transportation costs.

    2. Have a suspended or cancelled Travel Card account.

Authorized Uses of the CBA
  1. The CBA can only be used for purchasing common carrier transportation tickets and related fees for official IRS travel while employees are in travel status away from their official station. Authorized uses are as follows:

    1. Airline Tickets.

    2. Railway Tickets.

    3. Travel Management Center fees associated with transportation ticketing.

Unauthorized Uses of the CBA
  1. Unauthorized uses of the CBA are as follows:

    1. Personal Travel (airline/train).

    2. Rental cars/gasoline.

    3. Lodging/meals.

CBA Ticket Authorization Process
  1. The Traveler’s Manager must give concurrence for the Traveler to use the CBA. The Traveler will use ETS to complete and sign a travel authorization. A signed travel authorization reflecting Central Billed as the method of reimbursement will systemically route to a Credit Card Services Conditional Router for review and approval.

  2. The Credit Card Services Conditional Router will review the reservation and will either approve (authorize) or disapprove (return) the request. The document is "stamped" in ETS and the Traveler receives a general e-mail message indicating the status.

    1. Approved (authorized) requests will route to the Traveler's Manager for review and approval of the trip. The Travel Management Center (TMC) will issue the transportation ticket three or four days prior to the scheduled departure date and will e-mail or fax the Traveler an invoice, confirming the ticket has been purchased.

    2. Disapproved (returned) requests will not include a justification in the e-mail message from ETS. Travelers may review the justification and/or status of a pending request by selecting "Digital Signature" from the pull-down list located at the bottom of the ETS screen.

  3. Additional information regarding the process for using the CBA is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website, select CBA Ticket Authorization Process.

Travel Voucher Considerations
  1. CBA charges are centrally billed and paid monthly. Travelers who use the CBA cannot claim reimbursement for transportation and TMC fees on their travel voucher. Travelers should ensure that:

    1. If using ETS, the method of reimbursement should reflect "Central Billed" on the transportation ticket and the TMC fee.

    2. If using the Manual Travel Authorization Form, the travel voucher (Standard Form 1012) should indicate use of the "CBA" as the method of payment for the transportation ticket and TMC fee.

  2. Managers should review the TMC itinerary or invoice attached to the voucher to determine the method by which the transportation ticket was purchased. Expenses charged to the CBA should not be approved for reimbursement to the Traveler. Information about "Travel Voucher Considerations" is available on the Employee Resource Center (ERC) website.

Unused Tickets
  1. If the CBA ticket is not used, the TMC will issue a refund automatically within 24 hours (no exchanges are permitted).

Ticket Cancellation
  1. When the CBA is used to purchase common carrier transportation tickets and the trip is cancelled, the employee must promptly notify the TMC and Credit Card Services.

    1. If an electronic ticket was issued using the CBA, the Traveler must notify the TMC of the cancelled trip immediately and request issuance of a credit.

    2. If the ticket has been invoiced, the ETS travel authorization must be left open.

    3. If a paper ticket was issued, the Traveler must notify the TMC of the cancelled trip immediately and return the paper ticket to the TMC. A credit will NOT be issued for the paper ticket until the ticket is returned to the TMC.

      Note:

      Paper tickets should be returned to the office that issued the ticket. In the event the Traveler is unsure of the issuing office, the ticket should be returned to: SatoTravel, Attn: Refunds Department 9000 Tesoro Drive, San Antonio, Texas 78217

  2. Travelers must notify Credit Card Services via an OS GetServices ticket or by calling the ERC at 866–743–5748 (TTY: 866-924-3578) for assistance if a trip is cancelled. Provide the following information immediately after the trip is cancelled:

    1. Original travel authorization number;

    2. Date the TMC confirmed cancellation and/or date paper ticket was returned for refund; and

    3. Dates of travel.

Special Travel Considerations
  1. Last-Minute Travel - For last-minute travel, defined as Friday afternoon or weekend travel notification, the Traveler may contact the TMC for transportation tickets. Travelers who do not have a Travel Card or have a Travel Card that is declining, may use the CBA. The TMC will issue the CBA ticket and notify Credit Card Services of the emergency issuance. The Traveler must complete and the travelers Manager must approve a travel authorization either through the ETS or on a Manual Travel Authorization Form.

  2. Travel Expenses Charged to Another Business Organization - The Traveler's Manager is responsible for ensuring the Traveler has provided the correct funding codes in ETS or on the Manual Travel Authorization Form. When travel is not being charged to the Traveler's home organization, the correct funding codes must be obtained from the organization funding the travel.

  3. Disapproved (Returned) CBA Transportation Requests - Current Travel Cardholders who selected CBA as the method of payment for transportation in ETS and were disapproved, must cancel the current transportation reservation and create a new reservation using their Travel Card.

  4. Airport Travelers (Reservation without Ticket or No Reservation) - Travelers who arrive at the airport during business hours without an airline ticket and who must use the CBA (no Travel Card or Travel Card has declined), may contact the TMC to secure a reservation. The Traveler must then contact the ERC and request expedite assistance to obtain approval to use the CBA and acquire the transportation ticket.

  5. Invitational Travel - The Business Organization will designate an IRS employee to serve as a representative for the Invitational Traveler. The designated IRS employee is responsible for making travel arrangements and completing the Manual Travel Authorization Form.

  6. Relocation Travel - Tickets for common carrier transportation authorized for an IRS employee's spouse for travel associated with house hunting can be charged to the CBA. En-route common carrier transportation tickets authorized for the IRS employee's spouse or dependents can also be charged to the CBA. IRS employees should:

    1. Ensure the relocation authorization provides for house hunting and en-route travel.

    2. Contact the TMC to make reservations.

    3. Complete the Manual Travel Authorization Form.