B-124228, JUN. 24, 1955

B-124228: Jun 24, 1955

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THE CHARGES INCLUDED ON THE VOUCHER ARE: TABLE 1. THE HOME OF THE DECEDENT 77.91 TOTAL $927.91 WHILE IT IS IS NOT SPECIFICALLY SO STATED ON THE VOUCHER. WE ASSUME THAT THE REMAINS WERE TRANSPORTED FROM VALDOSTA TO MUSKOGEE BY COMMON CARRIER. THE COSTS OF EMBALMING AND CASKET IN EXCESS OF $150 ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE BY THE UNITED STATES. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE $150 LIMITATION FOR EMBALMING AND CASKET HAS BEEN EXCEEDED. THE GEORGIA SALES TAX IS A "LEVY ON THE PURCHASER OR CONSUMER OF THE TANGIBLE PERSONAL PROPERTY OR SERVICES.'. WE HAVE HELD THAT REIMBURSEMENT TO AN EMPLOYEE MAY INCLUDE SALES TAXES INCURRED IN THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS. 25 COMP. THIS WAS BASED ON THE PROVISION IN THE THEN APPLICABLE REGULATIONS (EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8588.

B-124228, JUN. 24, 1955

TO MR. M. D. LEWIS, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD:

YOUR LETTER OF MAY 26, 1955, REQUESTS A DECISION AS TO THE PROPER AMOUNT WHICH MAY BE CERTIFIED ON A VOUCHER COVERING EXPENSES INCURRED IN RETURNING TO HIS LAST RESIDENCE THE REMAINS OF AN EMPLOYEE WHO DIED WHILE IN AN OFFICIAL TRAVEL STATUS. THE CHARGES INCLUDED ON THE VOUCHER ARE:

TABLE

1. HEARSE SERVICE, EMBALMING, CASKET AND SHIPPING CASE $836.85

2. GEORGIA SALES TAX 13.15

3. TRANSPORTATION CHARGES FROM VALDOSTA, GEORGIA, TO

MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA, THE HOME OF THE DECEDENT 77.91

TOTAL $927.91

WHILE IT IS IS NOT SPECIFICALLY SO STATED ON THE VOUCHER, WE ASSUME THAT THE REMAINS WERE TRANSPORTED FROM VALDOSTA TO MUSKOGEE BY COMMON CARRIER.

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8557, SEPTEMBER 30, 1940, AS AMENDED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10209, FEBRUARY 1, 1951, PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF JULY 8, 1940, 54 STAT. 743, PROVIDES:

"SECTION 2. WHEN AN EMPLOYEE DIES WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES, THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED SHALL PAY THE EXPENSES OF PREPARING THE REMAINS OF THE DECEDENT AND OF TRANSPORTING THE REMAINS TO THE HOME OR OFFICIAL STATION OF THE DECEDENT OR TO SUCH OTHER PLACE AS THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT MAY DESIGNATE AS THE APPROPRIATE PLACE OF INTERMENT * * *.

"SECTION 3. PREPARATION OF REMAINS. THE COST OF PREPARATION OF REMAINS ALLOWABLE UNDER SECTION 2 OF THESE REGULATIONS SHALL INCLUDE COSTS OF EMBALMING, CREMATION, NECESSARY CLOTHING, AND CASKET. THE TOTAL AMOUNT ALLOWED FOR SUCH PREPARATION SHALL NOT EXCEED $150.

"SECTION 4. TRANSPORTATION OF REMAINS. THE COSTS OF TRANSPORTATION OF REMAINS ALLOWABLE UNDER SECTION 2 OF THESE REGULATIONS SHALL INCLUDE THE COSTS OF REMOVAL OF THE REMAINS FROM THE PLACE WHERE DEATH OCCURRED TO AN UNDERTAKING ESTABLISHMENT, PROCUREMENT OF BURIAL AND SHIPPING PERMITS, FURNISHING AN OUTSIDE CASE FOR SHIPMENT (INCLUDING, WHEN NECESSARY, THE SEALING OF SUCH SHIPPING CASE), REMOVAL TO A COMMON CARRIER, TRANSPORTING THE BODY BY COMMON CARRIER, AND ONE REMOVAL AT THE PLACE OF INTERMENT FROM THE COMMON CARRIER TO AN UNDERTAKING ESTABLISHMENT OR OTHER PLACE OF IMMEDIATE DELIVERY. * * *"

IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 3, ABOVE, THE COSTS OF EMBALMING AND CASKET IN EXCESS OF $150 ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE BY THE UNITED STATES. SINCE THE ITEM OF $836.85 ON THE VOUCHER COMBINES THE COSTS OF HEARSE SERVICE, EMBALMING, CASKET AND SHIPPING CASE, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE $150 LIMITATION FOR EMBALMING AND CASKET HAS BEEN EXCEEDED.

THE GEORGIA SALES TAX IS A "LEVY ON THE PURCHASER OR CONSUMER OF THE TANGIBLE PERSONAL PROPERTY OR SERVICES.' CODE OF GEORGIA ANNOTATED, 92- 3414A. WE HAVE HELD THAT REIMBURSEMENT TO AN EMPLOYEE MAY INCLUDE SALES TAXES INCURRED IN THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS. 25 COMP. GEN. 360; B-42457, JUNE 16, 1944. THIS WAS BASED ON THE PROVISION IN THE THEN APPLICABLE REGULATIONS (EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8588, NOVEMBER 7, 1940, AS AMENDED) AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES "ACTUALLY AND NECESSARILY INCURRED.' ALLOWANCE OF REIMBURSEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13, EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8557, OF THE ITEMS AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID BY THE ORDER NECESSARILY CONTEMPLATES THE PROCUREMENT OF AND PAYMENT FOR THE GOODS AND SERVICES BY A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL WHO WOULD BE REQUIRED TO PAY THE SALES TAXES. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE SALES TAX IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE ALLOWABLE COST.

BASED ON THE FOREGOING, THE VOUCHER SHOULD BE RESTATED TO SHOW SEPARATELY THE COST OF EMBALMING AND CASKET. THE COSTS, INCLUDING SALES TAX, OF EMBALMING AND CASKET NOT EXCEEDING $150 PLUS THE COSTS, INCLUDING SALES TAX, OF HEARSE SERVICE, SHIPPING CASE AND TRANSPORTATION CHARGES FROM VALDOSTA, GEORGIA, TO MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA, MAY THEN, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.