A-27594, JUNE 21, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 660

A-27594: Jun 21, 1929

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UNITED STATES - FEES - ACKNOWLEDGMENTS IN INTERNAL REVENUE CASES A UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER IS NOT AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO COLLECT A FEE FROM THE UNITED STATES FOR TAKING AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF A TAX LIEN OR ITS DISCHARGE. WHERE NO QUALIFIED UNITED STATES OFFICIAL IS AVAILABLE TO TAKE SUCH AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT THE APPROPRIATION FOR COLLECTING THE INTERNAL REVENUE MAY BE CHARGED WITH THE COST OF SUCH ACKNOWLEDGMENTS TAKEN BEFORE OFFICERS DUTY AUTHORIZED BY LAW OF THE STATES IN WHICH TAKEN TO TAKE SAME. TO THE EFFECT THAT UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS WERE NOT AUTHORIZED TO CHARGE A FEE FOR TAKING ACKNOWLEDGMENTS OF COLLECTORS OF INTERNAL REVENUE TO TAX LIENS FILED UNDER SECTION 3186. THE APPARENT CONCLUSION OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE IS TO THE EFFECT THAT THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 3165.

A-27594, JUNE 21, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 660

COMMISSIONERS, UNITED STATES - FEES - ACKNOWLEDGMENTS IN INTERNAL REVENUE CASES A UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER IS NOT AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO COLLECT A FEE FROM THE UNITED STATES FOR TAKING AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF A TAX LIEN OR ITS DISCHARGE, AND WHERE NO QUALIFIED UNITED STATES OFFICIAL IS AVAILABLE TO TAKE SUCH AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT THE APPROPRIATION FOR COLLECTING THE INTERNAL REVENUE MAY BE CHARGED WITH THE COST OF SUCH ACKNOWLEDGMENTS TAKEN BEFORE OFFICERS DUTY AUTHORIZED BY LAW OF THE STATES IN WHICH TAKEN TO TAKE SAME.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JUNE 21, 1929:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED IN REFERENCE TO DECISION DATED JULY 20, 1928, 8 COMP. GEN. 22, 25, TO THE EFFECT THAT UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS WERE NOT AUTHORIZED TO CHARGE A FEE FOR TAKING ACKNOWLEDGMENTS OF COLLECTORS OF INTERNAL REVENUE TO TAX LIENS FILED UNDER SECTION 3186, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED, YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 7, 1929, WHEREIN YOU REFER TO AN UNDATED OPINION OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE AND APPEAR TO REQUEST RECONSIDERATION OF THE DECISION OF JULY 20, 1928.

THE APPARENT CONCLUSION OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE IS TO THE EFFECT THAT THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 3165, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 1115, ACT OF FEBRUARY 26, 1926, 44 STAT. 117, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE INTERNAL REVENUE OFFICERS NAMED THEREIN TO TAKE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS FOR FILING LIENS PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 3186, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED. THERE APPEARS NOTHING INCONSISTENT BETWEEN SAID OPINION AND THE DECISION IN 8 COMP. GEN. 22. NOTE THE STATEMENT, PAGE 24, THAT "IT IS UNNECESSARY, AT THIS TIME, TO DECIDE WHETHER THE AUTHORITY TO "ADMINISTER OATHS AND TAKE EVIDENCE" INCLUDES THE TAKING OF ACKNOWLEDGMENTS FOR DISCHARGE OF TAX LIENS.' THE BASIS FOR THE CONCLUSION IN THE DECISION OF JULY 20, 1928, IS THAT THERE WAS NOTHING IN THE STATUTES FIXING THE FEES OF UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS WHICH WOULD AUTHORIZE THEM TO CHARGE THE UNITED STATES FOR TAKING SUCH ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS, AND ATTENTION WAS INVITED TO ACCOUNTS AND COLLECTION CIRCULAR NO. 345, DATED FEBRUARY 24, 1923, OF THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE, TO THE EFFECT THAT CLERKS OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTS WERE AUTHORIZED AND REQUIRED TO ADMINISTER OATHS, ETC., FOR THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT CHARGE.

THE FACT, IF IT BE A FACT, THAT DEPUTY COLLECTORS, ETC., AS NAMED IN SECTION 3165, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED, ARE WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO TAKE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS FOR THE FILING OR DISCHARGE OF TAX LIENS DOES NOT MAKE IT NECESSARILY FOLLOW THAT THE UNITED STATES MUST PAY A FEE TO UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS FOR TAKING SUCH ACKNOWLEDGMENTS, AND IT IS REPEATED THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY IN THE LAW RESPECTING THE FEES OF UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS WHICH WOULD AUTHORIZE THEM TO MAKE SUCH A CHARGE.

IT MAY BE STATED IN ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION WHETHER "FEES MAY BE PROPERLY PAID FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR COLLECTING THE INTERNAL REVENUE FOR COLLECTORS' ACKNOWLEDGMENTS TAKEN BEFORE OFFICERS DULY AUTHORIZED BY LAW OF THE STATES IN WHICH SUCH NOTICES ARE FILED" THAT WHERE THERE IS NO UNITED STATES OFFICIAL AVAILABLE TO TAKE AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF A TAX LIEN OR ITS DISCHARGE, WHO IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO ADMINISTER OATHS AND TAKE SUCH ACKNOWLEDGMENTS, THE APPROPRIATION FOR COLLECTING THE INTERNAL REVENUE MAY BE CHARGED WITH THE COST OF TAKING AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT BEFORE SOME STATE OFFICER AUTHORIZED TO TAKE SAME. HOWEVER, IN EACH SUCH CASE, WHERE THE FEE IS CLAIMED, A CLEAR SHOWING WILL BE REQUIRED AS TO THE UNAVAILABILITY OF A UNITED STATES OFFICER TO TAKE THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT.