Watch Out for Mileage + Gasoline/Vehicle Operating Costs (For Distribution to AOs)
When you were a child, you may have received an allowance for doing chores around the house (if you didn’t, play along with us anyway). This small amount of money was your recompense for taking out the trash, washing the dishes, pulling weeds around the yard, and any other number of “fun” tasks.
Along the same lines, travelers receive a mileage allowance for driving their personal vehicle to a TDY site. The mileage allowance is intended to defray the usual costs that come with driving a car to a duty site – such as the cost of gasoline and the wear & tear on your tires, just to name a few.
We say all that to say… since travelers receive a mileage allowance, they can’t claim gasoline, the cost of a new set of tires, the cost of bumper stickers, or any other personal vehicle operating costs on their DTS voucher/local voucher.* Why? Well…
First, it’s forbidden by forbidden by the Joint Travel Regulations.
Second, the whole point of a mileage allowance is to defray the costs of driving the vehicle – so it makes no sense for a traveler to claim a mileage allowance PLUS the cost of operating the vehicle. It’d be like saying, “Hey, Mom and Dad – I know you gave me an allowance for this month’s chores, but can I get paid a little extra for taking out the trash?”
Where travelers get confused is that they see a “Gasoline – POV” option on the Non-Mileage Expenses screen, so they mistakenly add it to their voucher/local voucher. This expense type is only for certain travel types (see * note below) and should never be combined with a mileage allowance.
Random observation – This type of mistake happens regularly enough that DFAS has “mileage + gasoline” as one of its checkpoints on its post-payment audits of DTS vouchers/local vouchers.
That’s where you, noble AO, can help protect the traveler. First, coach your travelers to only claim only one expense type, never both. Second, be on the lookout for travelers who mistakenly claim both. If you see a claim for both in one voucher/local voucher, return it to the traveler and have them remove the inappropriate expense. After all, it’s better for you to catch it now than for a DFAS post-payment auditor to find it later.
For more information on mileage – including some very helpful FAQs – check out our website.
*As you can imagine, there are exceptions to everything. In this case, some very specific, medically-related travel situations allow for the reimbursement of gasoline (see JTR) – but the regulations are very clear that the recipient (or “traveler”, take your pick) is also not entitled to a mileage allowance.
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