Why does a completely tax exempt organization voluntarily throw away billions of dollars by paying taxes on travel? I travel a lot for the Navy and detest that taxes for TDY travel expenses are charged to my government credit card. Though the Government Treasury will get the taxes back, for the Navy and the Program Office (PMA), those funds are lost. Those lost and unrecoverable funds, which can quickly add up to billions, take away from the budgeted needs of the Fleet. The fact that the government is already paying a premium for contracted carriers and a “travel agency” is bad enough, but paying taxes on travel expenses is absurd!
I book my travel through DTS (Defense Travel System online and/or SatoTravel) and I am not amused that the government, via the government travel card, is taxed by the airlines, car rental companies, gas stations and hotels. Why are taxes being charged when all of the travel expenses are booked by a government employee through travel services that only a government employee can use and are paid for using a government card? After reviewing the DOD budget, accounting for those who may travel, for the future value of money and for the taxes that could be incurred this year alone, we are effectively throwing away well over $10 billion, that’s billion with a “B,” dollars within the DOD alone.. Though I usually remember to bring a tax exempt form with me for most of my hotel stays, this form should not be necessary and is often not used or forgotten by government employees.
Though I like to do my part to use resources wisely, I have not found a way to eliminate the taxes that are charged for hotel stays, especially in Virginia (which is technically a Commonwealth), as well as commercial travel, car rentals, gas for the car rental and etc. As the government is already tax exempt, I think that being charged taxes, which eliminates funds from an already scarce budgeted Fleet resource and can quickly add up to billions, is in short, insane.