A-26123, MARCH 18, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 493

A-26123: Mar 18, 1929

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CUSTOMS FINES - REFUNDS - APPROPRIATION APPLICABLE THE PROPER APPROPRIATION FOR THE REFUND OF CUSTOMS FINES DETERMINED TO HAVE BEEN ERRONEOUSLY ASSESSED. WHICH HAVE BEEN COVERED INTO THE GENERAL FUND OF THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. IS THE PERMANENT INDEFINITE APPROPRIATION "REFUND OF EXCESSIVE DUTIES (CUSTOMS)" MADE BY THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 21. WHICH WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED FOR PAYMENT FROM THE INDEFINITE APPROPRIATION MADE BY SECTION 3689. WHICH WAS ALLOWED AND CHARGED BY THIS OFFICE TO THE APPROPRIATION FOR "REFUND OF EXCESSIVE DUTIES (CUSTOMS).'. " WAS UPON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE LATTER APPROPRIATION WAS NOT AVAILABLE EXCEPT TO CORRECT ERRORS OR OVERASSESSMENTS "IN LIQUIDATION OF ENTRIES.'.

A-26123, MARCH 18, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 493

CUSTOMS FINES - REFUNDS - APPROPRIATION APPLICABLE THE PROPER APPROPRIATION FOR THE REFUND OF CUSTOMS FINES DETERMINED TO HAVE BEEN ERRONEOUSLY ASSESSED, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, AND WHICH HAVE BEEN COVERED INTO THE GENERAL FUND OF THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS, IS THE PERMANENT INDEFINITE APPROPRIATION "REFUND OF EXCESSIVE DUTIES (CUSTOMS)" MADE BY THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 21, 1922, 42 STAT. 973. 4 COMP. GEN. 520 DISTINGUISHED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, MARCH 18, 1929:

YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 11, 1929, REQUESTS RECONSIDERATION OF SETTLEMENT K-38387-TC, OF JANUARY 19, 1929, DISALLOWING IN THE ACCOUNTS OF T. T. WILSON, COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS, CREDIT FOR $2.34 REFUNDED TO A. G. POHNDORF AS EXCESS CUSTOMS FINE COLLECTED ON A MAIL IMPORTATION, THE REFUND HAVING BEEN CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION FOR "REFUND OF EXCESSIVE DUTIES (CUSTOMS).' IN CONNECTION THEREWITH YOU CALL ATTENTION TO A SETTLEMENT BY THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE ON A SIMILAR CLAIM BY HARRY MANDELL, WHICH WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED FOR PAYMENT FROM THE INDEFINITE APPROPRIATION MADE BY SECTION 3689, REVISED STATUTES, FOR THE REFUND OF MONEYS ERRONEOUSLY RECEIVED AND COVERED, BUT WHICH WAS ALLOWED AND CHARGED BY THIS OFFICE TO THE APPROPRIATION FOR "REFUND OF EXCESSIVE DUTIES (CUSTOMS).' IT WOULD APPEAR FROM YOUR SUBMISSION THAT YOUR RECOMMENDATION FOR PAYMENT OF THE MANDELL CLAIM FROM THE APPROPRIATION MADE BY SECTION 3689, REVISED STATUTES, RATHER THAN FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR "REFUND OF EXCESSIVE DUTIES (CUSTOMS)," WAS UPON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE LATTER APPROPRIATION WAS NOT AVAILABLE EXCEPT TO CORRECT ERRORS OR OVERASSESSMENTS "IN LIQUIDATION OF ENTRIES.'

THE PERMANENT INDEFINITE APPROPRIATION MADE BY SECTION 3689, REVISED STATUTES, FOR "REFUNDING MONEYS ERRONEOUSLY RECEIVED AND COVERED" IS AVAILABLE BY ITS TERMS "TO REFUND MONEYS RECEIVED AND COVERED INTO THE TREASURY BEFORE THE PAYMENT OF LEGAL AND JUST CHARGES AGAINST THE SAME.' THE WORDS "LEGAL AND JUST CHARGES" AS USED IN THIS SECTION MEAN AN OBLIGATION OR LIEN ON THE MONEY RECEIVED WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN PAID THEREFROM BEFORE IT WAS COVERED INTO THE TREASURY. (14 COMP. DEC. 82; 17 ID. 273; 6 COMP. GEN. 293.) IT WAS FURTHER HELD IN 10 COMP. DEC. 239, AND 4 COMP. GEN. 520, THAT THIS PERMANENT INDEFINITE APPROPRIATION WAS NOT AVAILABLE FOR REFUNDING CUSTOMS FINES. WHILE THE LAST-MENTIONED DECISION WAS PROMULGATED AFTER THE PASSAGE OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 21, 1922, THE APPROPRIATION MADE BY THAT ACT WAS NOT CONSIDERED THEREIN, THE QUESTION PRESENTED BEING WHETHER THE APPROPRIATION UNDER SECTION 3689, REVISED STATUTES, WAS AVAILABLE.

SECTION 520 OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 21, 1922, 42 STAT. 973, MAKES A PERMANENT INDEFINITE APPROPRIATION, AS FOLLOWS:

REFUND OF EXCESSIVE DUTIES.--- (A) THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO REFUND DUTIES AND CORRECT ERRORS IN LIQUIDATION OF ENTRIES IN THE FOLLOWING CASES:

(1) WHENEVER IT IS ASCERTAINED ON FINAL LIQUIDATION OR RELIQUIDATION OF AN ENTRY THAT MORE MONEY HAS BEEN DEPOSITED OR PAID THAN WAS REQUIRED BY LAW TO BE SO DEPOSITED OR PAID;

(2) WHENEVER IT IS DETERMINED IN THE MANNER REQUIRED BY LAW THAT ANY FEES, CHARGES, OR EXACTIONS, OTHER THAN DUTIES, HAVE BEEN ERRONEOUSLY COLLECTED;

(3) WHENEVER A MANIFEST CLERICAL ERROR IS DISCOVERED IN ANY ENTRY OR LIQUIDATION WITHIN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE OF ENTRY, OR WITHIN SIXTY DAYS AFTER LIQUIDATION WHEN LIQUIDATION IS MADE MORE THAN TEN MONTHS AFTER THE DATE OF ENTRY; AND

(4) WHENEVER DUTIES HAVE BEEN PAID ON HOUSEHOLD OR PERSONAL EFFECTS WHICH BY LAW WERE NOT SUBJECT TO DUTY, NOTWITHSTANDING A PROTEST WAS NOT FILED WITHIN THE TIME AND IN THE MANNER PRESCRIBED BY LAW.

(B) THE NECESSARY MONEYS TO MAKE SUCH REFUNDS ARE HEREBY APPROPRIATED, AND THIS APPROPRIATION SHALL BE DEEMED A PERMANENT AND INDEFINITE APPROPRIATION.

WHILE SUBDIVISION (1) OF THIS APPROPRIATION IS LIMITED TO OVERPAYMENTS DISCOVERED IN FINAL LIQUIDATION OR RELIQUIDATION, SUCH LIMITATION DOES NOT ATTACH TO THE OTHER THREE SUBDIVISIONS THEREOF. SUBDIVISION (2) AUTHORIZES THE REFUND OF "ANY FEES, CHARGES, OR EXACTIONS, OTHER THAN DUTIES" ERRONEOUSLY COLLECTED, AND CONSTITUTES AUTHORITY FOR REFUNDING FROM THE APPROPRIATION SO MADE ANY CUSTOMS FINES WHICH HAVE BEEN DETERMINED TO HAVE BEEN ERRONEOUSLY COLLECTED.

UPON REVIEW $2.34 IS CERTIFIED FOR CREDIT IN THE ACCOUNTS OF T. T. WILSON.