IRS raises mileage reimbursement rate; GSA could follow

The Internal Revenue Service will increase its standard mileage reimbursement rate two cents to 36.5 cents per mile in 2002, a rate that the General Services Administration could adopt for all federal employees.

GSA sets the mileage reimbursement rate for federal employees. By law (41 CFR Part 301-10), the governmentwide rate cannot exceed the IRS'. Last year, the rates GSA set for mileage reimbursement mirrored those set by the IRS.

GSA is required by law to independently review the IRS study that determined the new rates. GSA bases the rate it adopts for 2002 on the IRS study and other data.

The current standard mileage rate is 34.5 cents per mile. The rate has not changed once this year, but in other years, each rate change was based on a similar change made by the IRS.

Under federal travel regulations, an employee may use a personal vehicle for official travel if authorized by his or her agency. If an agency authorizes travel by other means, such as travel by air, and an employee drives his or her own car instead, the employee's reimbursement is limited to the cost of the authorized means of travel.