4.6 Travel By State-Owned or Personal Vehicles
4.6.1 General Provisions
The Legislature in its 2005 special session passed Senate Bill 1 EX, amending OCGA 50-19-5 and tying the mileage reimbursement rate for use of a personal motor vehicle to the rate established by the United States General Services Administration (GSA) pursuant to the Federal Travel Regulations Amendment 2005-01 as of July 1, 2005, or subsequently amended.
These GSA rates are based on a determination of the most advantageous form of travel. Advantageous use may be determined based on energy conservation, total cost to the state including costs of overtime, lost work time, and actual transportation costs, total distance traveled, number of points visited, and number of travelers. Documentation of the determination of “advantageous use” should be retained for audit purposes.
Note: For more information, refer to the following:
- General Services Administration: http://www.gsa.gov/pov
- DOAS Vehicle Cost Comparison Tool: http://ssl.doas.state.ga.us/vehcostcomp/
Employees are encouraged to utilize institution-owned vehicles, if available, for travel within the state of Georgia, and, when appropriate, for travel outside the state. However, if institution-owned vehicles are not available, employees may choose between using DOAS or personal vehicles. Institutions may reimburse employees for the mileage incurred during the employee’s use of a personal vehicle.
The mileage reimbursement encompasses all expenses associated with the operation of a personal motor vehicle, with the exception of tolls and parking expenses, which are reimbursed separately.
4.6.2 Mileage Reimbursement Rates for Use of Personal Vehicles
By law, state institutions do not have the authority to enforce mileage rates other than those stated in the applicable policy. Any reimbursement of mileage claims paid to an employee in excess of rates stipulated in this policy must be refunded to the state or characterized as taxable compensation to the employee.
Note: Mileage rates are changed only upon notification from SAO and OPB via the SAO web site or official communication. New rates should not be utilized based solely on GSA updates.
Privately-Owned Vehicle (POV) Reimbursement Rates
For travel on or after January 1, 2011, reimbursement rates for the business use of personal motor vehicles are as follows:
Tier 1 Rate. When it is determined that a personal motor vehicle is the most advantageous form of travel, the employee will be reimbursed for business miles traveled as follows:
Vehicle Type Rate Per Mile Automobile $0.56 Motorcycle $0.53 Aircraft $1.31
Tier 2 Rate. If a government-owned (institution-owned or DOAS motor pool, for employees in the vicinity of Capitol Hill) vehicle is available, and its use is determined to be most advantageous to the state, OR if it is determined (through institution policy or otherwise) that a rental vehicle (Enterprise Rent-a Car contract) is the recommended method of travel, but a personal motor vehicle is used, the employee will be reimbursed for business miles traveled at the rate of $0.235 per mile.
Tier 3 Rate. This rate is no longer applicable.
Determination of Business Miles Traveled
Employees may be reimbursed for the mileage incurred from the point of departure to the travel destination, as noted below.
If an employee departs from headquarters, mileage is calculated from headquarters to the destination point.
If an employee departs from his/her residence, mileage is calculated from the residence to the destination point, with a reduction for normal one-way commuting miles. For the return trip, if an employee returns to headquarters, mileage is calculated based on the distance to such headquarters.
If an employee returns to his/her residence, mileage is calculated based on the distance to the residence, with a reduction for normal one-way commuting miles.
Institutions are responsible for setting internal, written policies covering normal commuting miles/start points for mileage reimbursement when an employee’s regular business function requires the use of a personal motor vehicle for travel from his/her residence to multiple locations in a given day, or when an employee’s “headquarters” differ from day to day.
If travel occurs on a weekend or holiday, mileage is calculated from the point of departure with no reduction for normal commuting miles.
If an employee utilizes state-sponsored transportation alternatives (e.g. MARTA), for which payments have been made for the period of time the employee is on travel status, the “normal commuting mileage” should be calculated as the mileage from the employee’s residence to the boarding site of the alternative transportation method.
If an employee does not regularly travel to an office (headquarters) outside of his/her residence (i.e., residence is “headquarters”), the requirement to deduct normal commuting miles does not apply.
Note: This exception does not apply to those operating under the institution’s telework policy.
Employees may also be reimbursed for business miles traveled as follows:
- Miles traveled to pick up additional passengers;
- Miles traveled to obtain meals for which the employee is eligible for reimbursement; and,
- Miles traveled to multiple work sites.
The following examples clarify how these mileage rules and exceptions apply to employee travel:
Headquarters to Remote Site. An employee’s normal commute is 15 miles, one way. The employee is required to travel to job site 40 miles from headquarters. Employee drives to headquarters, then to remote site, then back to headquarters before returning home. Employee business miles traveled: 80 miles.
- From Headquarters to Remote Site: 40 miles
- From Remote Site to Headquarters: 40 miles
- Total Business Miles: 80 miles
Residence to Headquarters to Remote Site. An employee’s normal commute is 15 miles, one way. The employee is required to travel to job site 18 miles from headquarters. The employee drives to headquarters, then to the remote site, then home, which is 19 miles from remote site. Employee business miles traveled: 22 miles.
- From Headquarters to Remote Site: 18 miles
- From Remote Site to Residence: 19 miles
- Less Residence to Headquarters: -15 miles
- Total Business Miles: 22 miles
Residence to Remote Site. An employee’s normal commute is 15 miles, one way. The employee leaves from home to attend a conference 200 miles from the employee’s residence. At the conclusion of the conference, the employee returns directly home. Employee business miles traveled: 370 miles.
- From Residence to Remote Site: 200 miles
- Less Residence to Headquarters: -15 miles
- From Remote Site to Residence: 200 miles
- Less Residence to Headquarters: -15 miles
- Total Business Miles: 370 miles
Headquarters to Remote Site with Lodging. An employee’s normal commute is 15 miles, one way. The employee leaves from headquarters on Monday for a remote work site 150 miles from headquarters. The employee acquires lodging 5 miles from remote work site, and then returns to headquarters on Friday. Employee business miles traveled: 340 miles.
- From Headquarters to Remote Site: 150 miles
- From Remote Site to Lodging – Mon: 5 miles
- Lodging/Remote Site Round Trip – Tues: 10 miles
- Lodging/Remote Site Round Trip – Wed: 10 miles
- Lodging/Remote Site Round Trip – Thurs: 10 miles
- From Lodging to Remote Site – Fri: 5 miles
- From Remote Site to Headquarters: 150 miles
- Total Business Miles: 340 miles
4.6.3 Prohibited Mileage Reimbursements
Employees are not entitled to mileage reimbursement for:
- Travel between their place of residence and their official headquarters; or,
- Personal mileage incurred while on travel status.
4.6.4 Reimbursement for Parking Fees and Tolls
Institutions may reimburse employees who incur parking and toll expenses while on official travel for the institution. These expenses are reimbursable for travel in both state-owned and personal vehicles.
While there are no maximum limits for parking, employees are encouraged to utilize low-cost, long-term parking to minimize the cost.
4.6.5 Required Documentation of Mileage, Parking, and Toll Expenses
All requests for reimbursement of mileage, parking, and toll charges must be documented on the employee travel expense statement.
Personal/commuting mileage is then excluded to determine the actual state-use miles. Employees should claim mileage based on the most direct route from the point of departure to the destination. Employees should use alternative methods such as Google maps or MapQuest to calculate actual travel distances, and approvers should confirm these calculations.
Deviations from the most direct route (e.g., due to field visits, picking up passengers, etc.) should be explained on the travel expense statement.
Requests for reimbursement of parking fees and tolls paid should also be recorded on the travel expense statement. Employees are expected to obtain receipts for these expenses. If it is not possible to obtain a receipt, a written explanation should be included on the expense statement.
Employees who share a state-owned or personal vehicle with another employee and do not claim reimbursement for mileage should indicate the name of the person they rode with and the dates of the trips on the travel expense statement.
Instances in which employees utilize state-owned aircraft also should be noted on the travel expense statement.
4.6.6 Use of Institution-Owned or DOAS Vehicles
Institutions maintaining a fleet of vehicles should establish the necessary policies and procedures consistent with state fleet management policy for employees to request, utilize, and maintain the vehicles. Employees traveling in state-owned vehicles should purchase fuel using the state-contracted fuel program credit card at fuel program network fuel stations. If the vehicle should break down while traveling, the institution responsible for maintaining the vehicle should provide for repairs and roadside assistance to the driver.