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Travel Authorization Form
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2016 PerDiem Rates
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Fit for Duty
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HARVEY PATF1 Expense Voucher ver 01-17.xls
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Affirmative Action


PA-TF1 Travel Policy

 The Pennsylvania Urban Search and Rescue Task Force will utilize the travel and reimbursement policy established by the City of Philadelphia as set forth in Administrative Board Rule #2.  This policy uses the GSA and IRS reimbursement guidance for Federal Employees for meals, travel, and lodging. 

In Revenue Ruling 2006-56, the IRS analyzed a plan for reimbursing employees (Task Force Members) for travel and determined that it does not properly track excess payments exhibits a pattern of abuse and therefore fails to qualify as an accountable plan, and is subject to all payments to employees under the plan are subject to employment taxes.

The following are the three requirements for an accountable plan:

  1. There must be a business connection and the expense must be reasonable.
  2. There must be reasonable accounting for the expenses.
  3. All excess reimbursements must be repaid in a reasonable time.

It is the policy of the Pennsylvania Urban Search and Rescue Task Force to reimburse task force members for travel, meals, and lodging for attending task force meetings, training exercises, and any approved task force function.  Reimbursement will be made according to the following:

Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE)

A per diem will be made for meals according to the current rate established by the General Services Administration for Federal Employees.  In order to qualify for meal allowance, a person must be in a travel status during at least one half hour between the time limits shown below.    When a meal or meals are furnished to the member, without charge, the M&IE rate shall be reduced by the following:  ¼ for Breakfast, ¼ for Lunch, and ½ for Dinner.  The per diem is calculated as the first and last days (travel days) as partial days and only receive a partial per diem.  If the task force provides all meals for the function, no per diem will be paid

The rate for the reimbursement will be the calculated for the location (nearest City and State) that the function is held.  These rates can be found on the GSA web site for domestic per diem rates for federal employees.

No per diem will be paid for travel less than one day in length.



Members are responsible for making their own lodging reservations.  This includes “holding” rooms if applicable.

Lodging expenses will be reimbursed for personnel who attend task force functions providing that:

·                     It is approved by the SAC via the Program Manager

·                     The trip is over 50 miles from their residence

·                     Is a reasonable rate for the local area

·                     It does not exceed the established maximum rate for the location

·                     A receipt for the lodging is submitted

If the rate exceeds the maximum rate schedule, the member is responsible for the amount exceeding the maximum rate.

If the task force provides lodging for the task force members (tents, fire stations,

Barracks, etc.), no lodging expenses will be paid.

Overnight lodging in areas less than 50 miles from a residence will NOT be allowed.  The only exceptions are listed below.


  • Inclement weather conditions that make travel difficult.
  • Late official meeting that Traveler’s attendance is required.
  • Traveler is involved as a “Conference Host” and is responsible for meeting arrangements

Justification must be submitted in writing in advance for approval, if possible.   Otherwise, verbal authorization from The Task Force Representative or Program Manager will be sufficient, as long as written justification is submitted upon returning from the function.



If a task force member needs to travel by air for any task force function, the member shall be reimbursed providing that: 

·                     It is approved by the SAC via the Program Manager

·                     Is a reasonable rate

·                     Receipts are submitted

·                     Coach Rate only

American Express is the established travel agent for the City of Philadelphia.  American Express tries to obtain the lowest reasonable fare, which is not unreasonable for the traveler.   Some unreasonable items may be several layovers, excessive travel hours, etc.  Member must complete the Travel Authorization Form and submit to PA-TF1.

Travel Authorization Form 

Members who travel by air will be reimbursed for cab/shuttle fares from the airport to their destination and return to the airport plus one dollar or fifteen percent of the fare as tip, whichever is greater.  Additionally, any parking expenses for leaving their vehicle at their home airport will be reimbursed.

The Task Force will forward the Travel Authorization Form and coordinate with the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Travel Coordinator (Carol Bobrek x6-1371).  Any issues with travel should be directed to the Task Force Administrative Staff.

Mileage for personal vehicle usage

By Law, GSA is responsible for reviewing the privately owned vehicle mileage reimbursement mileage rate on a yearly basis. However, by Law, GSA may not exceed the standard mileage reimbursement rate for a privately owned automobile (POA) established by the IRS.

This established policy will reimburse for mileage at the current federal mileage reimbursement rate.  Reimbursement will be made to task force members for mileage to and from a task force functions in their private vehicles, including tolls.  Reimbursement will be made only if:       

·                     It is a members personal vehicle

·                     Travel to the function was in excess of 50 miles one way from the task force member’s permanent residence and is not the member’s assigned location of employment

·                     The travel is approved by the SAC via the Program Manager

·                     The mileage is not excessive for the distance between the task force member’s residence and place of task force function. (It may be more cost effective to travel by air than to pay mileage).

·                     The mileage documentation form is submitted with the travel voucher.

If more than one task force member travels in the same vehicle, only the owner of the vehicle will be reimbursed for mileage.

Liability for personal vehicle usage

The employee’s personal insurance, when using a personal vehicle, is responsible for liability coverage. Mileage reimbursement paid for travel in a personal vehicle includes cost for gas, vehicle wear and tear, and insurance. For this reason, an employee’s personal insurance is primary when using a personal vehicle.  Passengers who are in the member’s personal vehicle are still covered under the driver's personal insurance.

Car Rental

In certain instances, a member may receive approval to rent a vehicle when they arrive by air at their training or meeting location.  Rental cars at destination must be approved by the City of Philadelphia Deputy Finance Director – Accounting prior to travel.  There must be substantial proof that a rental car would be more economical than a taxi between airport and hotel.

Travel regulations allow for the reimbursement of the motor vehicle rental charge when on official business.

Only the member who rented the vehicle is authorized to drive the vehicle. 

Reimbursable costs include applicable taxes and collision damage waiver or loss damage waiver.

Liability insurance, personal effects insurance, etc., are not reimbursable.

When authorized, the member may be reimbursed for a car rental up to a mid-size vehicle. 

Liability for Car Rental

Because the rental is considered a personal transaction between the member and the rental car company, liability for accidents, property damage, loss, theft, etc., rests upon the member.   Members, who do not have personal vehicle liability coverage for another vehicle which they own, should consider purchasing such coverage if they plan to rent vehicles.  This additional coverage is not reimbursable.

Other expenses

From time to time, task force members traveling to and from a task force functions may incur other reasonable expenses.  These expenses must be submitted, and the Grants Manager or Program Manager may approve them if appropriate.   If possible, prior approval for these expenses will limit the possibility of not having and expense approved.

Send with questions or comments.
Last modified: 01/18/19
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