Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
Do I need a Home To Work (HTW) Authorization if I take a Government car home the night before I leave on travel?
No, you do not need a HTW determination in this situation. However, you must be traveling under an approved travel authorization and that authorization must state that you are authorized to use a Government owned vehicle (GOV). The assumption is that you will be more productive for the Government by being able to leave directly from home on your trip rather than to go to your office, pick up the GOV, and start your trip.
Can I give Another Federal employee a ride home in a GOV if I have HTW authorization?
Ultimately, this is up to each bureau to determine, so it is important that you consult the appropriate administrative rules and regulations established by your bureau covering such matters.
For example, the 41 CFR 101-6.402, Official Use of Government Passenger Carriers Between Residence and Place of Employment, allows you to share space in a passenger carrier on a space available basis, provided that the passenger doesn't travel additional distance as a result. This is consistent with Department of the Interior (DOI) and most bureau policy.
What do you mean by "doesn't travel additional distance"? Can I go two blocks, a mile, or what off my normal route?
With respect to traveling two blocks, a mile, etc., from your "normal route", you should consult your bureau to ensure that your proposed use of the vehicle is "de minimis" and does not result in use for other than official business. (See Interior Property Management Directive 114-6.402-51.)
Why does every determination authorizing HTW usage have to be signed by the Secretary?
31 U.S. C. Section 1344, Passenger Motor Vehicle and Aircraft Use, requires that the head of the agency approve each home-to-work usage of a GOV (with some very limited exceptions). The law also specifically states that this approval authority cannot be delegated.
When the law was passed, there was a concern about abuses occurring in the use of GOV's. A specific area was the use of GOV's to travel between home and work. The concern was great enough that Congress wanted to ensure that each agency head knew of and controlled the usage of the GOV's for such transportation. The law has been very effective in that regard. Two reviews by the General Accounting Office on executive use have shown a high level of adherence to the law.
Which determinations approving HTW usage aren't sent to Congress?
The only ones that go to Congress are ones involving a clear and present danger, an emergency, or a compelling operational consideration. Any that are based on field work for example go through the same level of approval within an agency as those for the above three reasons, but copies of the field work determinations are not sent to Congress.
The two Congressional committees that receive the determinations report that they review them on a case-by-case basis and follow up with the specific agency if there is a question on one.
When I become a Federal Employee, Am I automatically allowed use of a vehicle to drive from HTW?
This really involves two questions: are you allowed use of a Government vehicle when you become a Federal employee, and can you use that vehicle to travel from HTW? Your use of a Government vehicle is dependent upon a number of factors: does your job require the use of a motor vehicle; does your bureau have a vehicle available for you to use; do you have a valid state drivers license? The answers to these questions can best be provided by your bureau fleet manager. They involve factors such as your position description, bureau policy on use of vehicles, budget dollars available and liability concerns. In summary, the use of a vehicle is not automatic for every Government employee. Your bureau fleet manager can tell you when it is appropriate.
In regard to HTW, your use of a Government vehicle is dependent upon whether your circumstances meet the criteria that your bureau has set for HTW. Generally, such use is limited to employees performing field work, some law enforcement officials performing applicable functions, a restricted number of senior Executive Branch officials, or situations where the need is due to a compelling operational consideration, a clear and present danger, or an emergency. The best source of information will again be your bureau fleet manager.
Does the employee have to pay taxes on the use of the GOV?
Yes. Use of a GOV between home and work is considered a fringe benefit subject to taxation. The bureau fleet manager should notify the employee as to the value of the fringe benefit received by using the GOV in this situation. For example, GSA has notified its employees that the taxable value of a one way use of a GOV between home and work is $1.50 (based on an imputed value of three dollars per day). Fringe benefits are calculated and reported to the Internal Revenue Service after 12 uses.
Do all employees with home to work authority pay taxes?
No. Generally, employees granted home to work transportation under field work determinations are not liable for this employer provided fringe benefit, and therefore the fringe benefit is not included on the employee's wages on his/her W-2 form.
What laws and regulations apply to home to work vehicle usage?
31 U.S.C. 1344 is the basis for the current Government regulations on use of Government passenger carriers for home to work transportation. The implementing regulations is located in the Code of Federal Regulations at 41 CFR 101-6.4. (See Interior Property Management Regulations 114-6.4 Official Use of Government Passenger Carriers Between Residence and Place of Employment)
For further information concerning HTW policies, contact Willie Davis at (202) 208-3158.