Service may be a privilege, but when the Navy sends you somewhere, they pick up the tab for your travel expenses and ensure your pay arrives on time. To do this, the Navy uses the Defense Finance and Accounting System’s Windows-based one-stop travel service, IATS, which stands for Integrated Automated Travel System. This system allows you to draw your pay while abroad serving in the Navy.
Pay Follows You
The IATS system means you don’t have to carry your pay files to your next – or first – Navy duty station. IATS ensures your pay records move with you if you receive orders for a permanent change of station. For travel to your first station or base after technical school or if you go to temporary additional duty at a location other than your permanent station, you use the IATS pay system. It allows you to draw your pay by Department of Defense travel card, check or direct deposit.
Several Forms of Payment
When the Navy cuts the orders for your reassignment from the Naval Academy, a Reserve Officers Training Corps unit at a college or university or Officer Training School, your pay record transfers to the IATS system. When you receive orders for a permanent change of station or temporary additional duty move, part of your transfer includes shifting your pay to the IATS system. The Department of Defense travel card allows you to access your funds through an ATM. If you use direct deposit, IATS ensures your pay is deposited in your account, so that your checks don’t bounce and you can use your personal ATM card.
Deductions Follow You
IATS deducts the appropriate withholding amounts – taxes, Social Security and Medicare – from your pay along the way. The system doesn't forget to take those deductions. It also takes out any allotments you've authorized, such as those to your bank account or to your dependents. The link between the IATS and the Defense Finance and Accounting system ensures that the system deducts the correct amounts from your IATS pay, so that your pay, allowances, deductions and allotments continue without interruption. You still have to file an income tax return, but your employer, through the IATS pay system, already has held taxes from your check -- similar to how a civilian employer would.
Overpayments can happen with IATS, just as they can happen with any other Navy pay system, when traveling between duty stations. To avoid unforeseen deductions from future pay periods, keep receipts for each purchase you make using IATS pay, even if your orders include leave en route to your next station. These receipts serve to document the purchases and can demonstrate to accounting and finance personnel that the purchases, such as food or temporary housing, relate to your travel under orders.
Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.