PA-TF1 Travel Policy
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:
There must be a business connection and the expense must be
There must be reasonable accounting for the expenses.
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Travel regulations allow for
the reimbursement of the motor vehicle rental charge when on official
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
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.
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.