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NEWS | Jan. 11, 2024

Avoid improper DTS payments by checking receipts

Defense Travel Management Office

The rate of improper payments related to Defense Travel System (DTS) voucher processing has increased, as measured and reported by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) Post-payment Review Team. DFAS reports that more than 70% of those improper payments are due to inadequate or invalid receipts. The top errors and reasons for improper payments include:

  • Lodging paid with an invalid receipt or paid without a receipt
  • Rental car paid with invalid receipt or paid without receipt
  • Airfare paid with an invalid receipt

Travelers should double-check that they have provided proper/valid receipts before voucher submission. It is important to remember that a receipt is always required for lodging, regardless of the amount, and is required for all other individual expenses of $75 or more.

Approving officials (AOs) must return vouchers to the traveler for correction when required receipts are missing or not adequate/valid. AOs may be held pecuniarily liable for any improper payment they approve.

What is an adequate/valid receipt?

The DoD Financial Management Regulation says: “A legibly written/printed/electronic document (or facsimile thereof) provided by a service provider or vendor to a customer, which provides documentary evidence that the service provider or vendor has been paid for services or goods, provided to the customer.” To be considered valid, a receipt must include:

  1. Name of the entity providing the good(s)/service
  2. Date(s) that the good(s)/service was/ were provided/purchased
  3. Price of the good(s)/service, any tax levied, the total monetary amount due
  4. Indication that the total monetary amount due was paid.

For additional guidance, check out the What is a Valid Receipt? [PDF, 4 pages] information paper or download slides on this topic [PPT] from the Travel Assistance Center (TAC) outreach call on May 24, 2022.

Examples of receipts that are NOT adequate/valid
• A pre-checkout folio that shows the amount due and does not show that payment was made ("zero balance" folio)
• The receipt does not show the daily itemized charges, just the total amount charged/paid
• Any receipt where key/required information is not visible or legible, the traveler’s name for example
Rental Car
• A Rental Agreement, showing just the booking information and an estimate of the amount that will be due on return
• Receipt that shows a balance due and does not show the actual payment
• A DTS screenshot of the booking, rather than an actual receipt from the TMC
• The pre-ticketed booking/reservation, rather than the actual TMC-provided receipt
Travel Card
A statement rather than an actual receipt from the vendor
Blank Receipts
Oops, yes, it happens (when a traveler copies the wrong side of the receipt)