Mileage reimbursement rate to drop 4 cents

The General Services Administration will announce a new mileage reimbursement rate Friday, lowering it 4 cents to 44.5 cents per mile for 2006.

The rate, which applies to employees who use personal vehicles for government business, is retroactive for all official travel performed on or after Jan. 1, 2006, a draft of an announcement signed by acting GSA administrator David Bibb on Dec. 21, 2005, stated. The document will be published in the Federal Register Friday, according to GSA.

The 44.5-cent rate still exceeds the 2004 reimbursement level of 40.5 cents. After the gas price spike in September, the Internal Revenue Service made a special one-time adjustment, bringing the mileage rate from 40.5 cents per mile to 48.5 cents. GSA followed the IRS' lead less than a week later.

The rate notice scheduled for Friday follows a December announcement from the IRS saying the rate would drop 4 cents per mile on Jan. 1.

GSA's reimbursement rate generally matches the annual rate established by the IRS and by law (41 CRF part 301-10) cannot be higher than the IRS rate. In recent years, GSA has matched the IRS.

The IRS based its rate on a study of the costs of operating vehicles, which include gas prices, oil, tires and general maintenance costs.

According to federal travel regulations, employees may use personal vehicles for official travel if they obtain permission from their agency. The reimbursement rate applies only to authorized means of travel.

The federal government also will reimburse employees for approved use of personal motorcycles and airplanes for government business.

The 44.5-cent rate will cover only automobiles. GSA is still working on updating the rate for airplanes and motorcycles.

GSA Vehicle Reimbursement Rates
2006 $0.445
September-December 2005 $0.485
January-August 2005 $0.405
2004 $0.375
2003 $0.36
2002 $0.365
2001 $0.345
2000 $0.325
1999 $0.31
1998 $0.325
1996 $0.31
1995 $0.30
* No rate change in 1997

Source: General Services Administration

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