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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

340.12 - Claims for Reimbursement


OPR: Admin/Financial Management

1. Purpose. This chapter contains requirements, procedures, and forms related to the manner in which persons authorized to travel can claim reimbursement of travel expenses paid by them in the conduct of official Government business.

2. Authority. Federal Travel Regulations - FPMR 101-7.

3. Fraudulent Claims. A claim against the United States is forfeited if the claimant attempts to defraud the Government in connection therewith, 28 U.S.C. 2514. In addition, there are two criminal provisions under which severe penalties may be imposed on a traveler who knowingly presents a false, fictitious, or fraudulent claim against the United States (18 U.S.C. 287 and 1001). Travelers' claims for reimbursement shall accurately reflect the facts involved in every instance so that any violation or apparent violation of those provisions may be avoided.

4. Records of Travel and Expenses. All persons authorized to travel on business for the Government (see certificate on travel voucher form) should keep a record of expenditures properly chargeable to the Government, noting each item at the time the expense is incurred and the date. The information thus accumulated will be available for the proper preparation of travel vouchers.

5. Claims on Behalf of Other Employees Prohibited. Such claims are NOT valid and cannot be processed by the Office of Financial Management. Employees traveling together are cautioned not to charge travel or any other expenses for others on their own personal credit cards or to make expenditures on behalf of anyone other than themselves. Similarly, a traveler may not claim as an expense item any amount that has been paid by another.

6. Travel Vouchers and Attachments.

A. Use of Authorized Form. All claims for the reimbursement of traveling expenses shall be submitted on SF 1012 (Travel Voucher), and must be itemized and stated in accordance with these regulations. Only the original must be submitted to the Office of Financial Management. Additional copies are not required.

B. Evidence of Authorization. All travel vouchers must be supported by a copy of the travel authorization.

C. Receipts Required. Receipts are required for allowable cash expenditures in amounts in excess of $25. Receipts are required for the following expenditures regardless of amount:

(1) Excess Baggage. The receipt shall indicate the weight of the baggage and the points between which the baggage was moved.

(2) Baggage, transfer, and checking charges.

(3) Clerical assistance.

(4) Fees relating to travel outside the conterminous United States.

(5) Hire of Special Conveyance Such as Livery, Boat, Automobile (not taxicabs locally), Aircraft, etc. Livery and other special transportation receipts must describe the service hired, the service rendered, and the rate of compensation by the day, hour, or other unit, as may have been agreed. If the subsistence of driver or team is included in the cost, that fact must be stated. A receipted bill or other form of receipt will be accepted, provided it is made out to show the period and service rendered or articles purchased and the unit price.

(6) Miscellaneous expenses allowable under SM 340.10.

(7) Operating expenses or privately owned conveyance, such as gasoline, oil, garage and hangar rental, and feeding and stabling of horses.

(8) Rental of rooms for official business.

(9) Rental of typewriters.

(10) Service, personal, such as guides, interpreters, packers, and drivers of vehicles.

(11) Services, stenographic and typing.

(12) Shipments, freight or express, regardless of amount.

(13) Steamer chairs, steamer cushions, and steamer rugs.

(14) Storage of baggage or property.

(15) Telegrams, cablegrams, radiograms.

(16) Telephone messages, long distance, except that where a coin box telephone is used and it is so stated in the travel voucher, a receipt shall not be required. Personal calls - Reference SM 313.11.

(17) Copies of records, etc., furnished by State officials (clerks of courts, etc.).

(18) Cash payments for passenger transportation services.

7. Submission and Review of Travel Vouchers.

A. Traveler's Responsibility. SF 1012 (Travel Voucher) must be prepared and submitted to the Office of Financial Management within the time frames indicated below:

(1) Travel authorized by a Trip Authorization - 5 working days from ending date of trip.

(2) Travel authorized by an Area Authorization - Voucher must be submitted monthly and should be submitted within the first five working days of the month following the travel.

(3) Change of Headquarters - Within 5 working days of completion of each portion of move, i.e., house hunting trip, enroute travel, temporary quarters, etc.

B. Approving Official. The purpose of the supervisory review of the completed travel voucher is primarily to confirm that the travel for which expenses are being claimed was performed as authorized, i.e., travel is claimed for only those days necessary to perform official duties and travel was only in those areas designated by supervisor. The supervisory review should be at a level that is fully knowledgeable of the employee's activities. The authorizing official must be at least one supervisory level above the traveler. This may not be redelegated to a lower level. The approval of the voucher shall also constitute the approval required for those items listed in Paragraph 7A.

C. Office of Financial Management. The responsibility of the voucher examiner is to ensure that the voucher is properly prepared according to pertinent regulations and USGS policy before it is certified for payment. The voucher examiner reviews the claim (1) to ascertain accuracy of the amounts claimed; (2) to determine whether the types of expenses being claimed are authorized and allowable expenses; and (3) to ensure that required receipts, statements, justifications, etc., are attached to the voucher in support of the claimed expenses.

8. Preparation of Travel Voucher.

A. Itemization.

(1) Chronological Order. Expenses incurred shall be itemized on travel reimbursement vouchers in chronological order except that travelers may enter total amounts spent during a voucher period for local metropolitan streetcar, bus, subway fares; and parking meter fees.

(2) Leave of Absence. When leave of absence of any kind is taken while an employee is in a travel status, the exact hour of departure from and return to duty status must be shown on the travel voucher.

(3) Indirect-route Travel. The travel voucher should set forth the details of the expenses actually incurred, the hour of departure from post of duty, and the hour of arrival at place of duty. Where leave has been taken while in travel status, the date and time that leave began and terminated should be shown.

(4) Suspended Items. Items suspended from previous travel vouchers and reclaimed must be stated after all other items have been listed.

(5) Receipts attached chronologically. Receipts must be numbered consecutively, commencing with No. 1 for each voucher.

B. Subsistence Claims.

(1) Per Diem. Itemization of subsistence expenses must not be made on the travel voucher where a per diem is allowed. The exact period for which per diem is claimed must be stated.

(2) Actual Subsistence Expenses. When actual subsistence reimbursement is authorized, claims shall be submitted in accordance with SM 340.9.

C. Transportation Expenses.

(1) Transportation Requests, Unused Tickets. The travel voucher must show, in the space provided for such information, the serial numbers of the transportation request(s) issued, with: dates of travel, the points of departure and destination, classes of service used, name of transportation company, and the value of the transportation secured. Any differences in the actual travel performed as opposed to that shown on the GTR, shall also be shown. When itineraries are changed or trips canceled after tickets have been issued to the traveler, a statement shall be entered on the voucher, and initialed by the traveler, that tickets have been either used for official travel or all unused tickets, or portions thereof, have been properly accounted for and attached to the voucher.

(2) Special Conveyance. When a special conveyance or a privately owned conveyance is used, the travel voucher must show the dates and points of travel and the type of conveyance used. If the distance traveled between any given points is greater than the usual route between these points, the reason for the greater distance shall be shown.

(3) Cash Payment for Common Carrier Fare. A traveler using cash to purchase any authorized passenger transportation service for official travel shall account for those expenses on an authorized travel voucher form, furnishing pertinent receipts, passenger coupons, or other appropriate evidence to support the claim for reimbursement. Receipts are not required for local transit system fares. A traveler who has procured passenger transportation services with cash (whether using personal funds or a travel advance) shall assign to the Government his/her right to recover any excess payment involving a carrier's use of improper rates by including the following statement on the travel voucher: "I hereby assign to the United States any rights I may have against other parties in conjunction with any reimbursable carrier transportation charges described herein."

D. Reporting Payments to Other Employees. Reimbursement shall not be allowed for payments made to other Government employees for transportation expenses, except in cases of necessity, which shall be satisfactorily explained, i.e. traveler is in a remote area and there are no commercial car rental companies in the area.

E. Foreign Travel--Claims for Exchange Fees. Charges for cashing United States Government checks issued in reimbursement of expenses incurred for travel in foreign countries shall be allowed in subsequent vouchers.

F. Erasures and Alterations. Erasures and alterations in the totals on travel vouchers must be initialed by the traveler, and erasures and alterations in the totals on receipts must be initialed by the person who signed the receipt.

G. Purpose of Travel Statement. The purpose(s) of travel must be stated on the travel voucher for each trip for which reimbursement is being claimed. If travel is performed for several different purposes such as travel authorized under an unlimited open authorization or a limited open authorization, the purpose of travel for each trip must be stated on the reimbursement claim. The purpose of travel statement must be consistent with the purpose(s) stated on the corresponding travel authorization.

9. Administrative Approvals.

A. Administrative Approval of the Voucher. The administrative approval of the voucher shall constitute the approvals required for:

(1) Return to official station due to illness or injury.

(2) Excess baggage charges.

(3) Continuation of per diem during leave of absence due to illness or injury.

(4) Continuation of actual subsistence during leave of absence due to illness or injury.

(5) Charges for arranging reservations of accommodations.

B. Authorizations or Approvals Specifically Stated. Except as listed above, the authorizations or approvals required by these regulations must be specifically stated in travel orders. Such authorization or approvals include:

(1) Authority of travel.

(2) Travel required to places where meals are obtained.

(3) Taxicab fares between residence and office on day travel is performed.

(4) Taxicab fares between residence and office in cases of necessity.

(5) Taxicab for local travel.

(6) Rental of automobile or special conveyance.

(7) Hire of a conveyance from another employee or member of employees' family.

(8) Use of accommodations superior to those authorized.

(9) Use of extra-fare trains.

(10) Use of higher cost service when lower cost service is available on same mode of transportation.

(11) Use of foreign flag air carriers.

(12) Use of privately owned vehicle when it is advantageous to the Government.

(13) Use of privately owned vehicle when use of common carrier transportation is most advantageous to the Government.

(14) Use of privately owned vehicle when use of a Government-furnished vehicle would be most advantageous to the Government.

(15) Reductions in maximum per diem rates when appropriate.

(16) Additional per diem when travel enroute is 6 hours or more.

(17) Reimbursement of actual subsistence expense.

(18) Maximum daily reimbursement.

(19) Miscellaneous expenses.

(20) Hire of a room.

(21) Traveler's checks, money orders, or certified checks.

(22) Fees relating to travel outside conterminous United States.

(23) Payment of account when agency billed direct.

(24) Waiver of requirements for receipts.

(25) Waiver of itemization for local telephone calls.

(26) Return to official station due to a personal emergency situation.

(27) Travel to an alternate location due to illness or injury or a personal emergency situation.

10. Suspension of Charges. Items on travel vouchers not stated in accordance with these regulations or not properly supported by receipts when required shall be suspended, and the notification of such action shall indicate the reasons therefor. Such items as may be subsequently allowable shall be included in a subsequent regular or supplemental travel voucher. Full itemization shall be required for all suspended items which are reclaimed and charges must be supported by the original suspension notice or a copy thereof.

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
Contact: APS, Office of Policy and Analysis
Last modification: 08-Jan-2013@15:43 (kk)
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