B-135779, AUGUST 4, 1958, 38 COMP. GEN. 95

B-135779: Aug 4, 1958

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SPECIAL ACCOUNTS DEBT COLLECTIONS WHICH ARE MADE BY GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AFTER DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES HAVE EXHAUSTED ALL REASONABLE EFFORTS TO EFFECT COLLECTIONS AND HAVE WRITTEN THE DEBTS OFF AS UNCOLLECTIBLE MAY. NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES CONCERNED HAVE AUTHORITY TO OTHERWISE MAKE USE OF THE COLLECTIONS. 1958: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF APRIL 9. SOME OF THE COLLECTIONS MADE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR ARE REQUIRED BY LAW TO BE DISTRIBUTED TO AFFECTED STATES AND TO OTHER SPECIAL PURPOSES. MONEY COLLECTED FOR DEPREDATIONS UPON THE PUBLIC LANDS ARE REQUIRED TO BE DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF THE SPECIAL FUND ACCOUNT "145881. " WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED TO RECORD RECEIPTS FROM THE SALE OF PUBLIC LANDS AND MATERIALS.

B-135779, AUGUST 4, 1958, 38 COMP. GEN. 95

DEBT COLLECTIONS - UNCOLLECTIBLE DEBTS REPORTED TO GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE - MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS V. SPECIAL ACCOUNTS DEBT COLLECTIONS WHICH ARE MADE BY GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AFTER DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES HAVE EXHAUSTED ALL REASONABLE EFFORTS TO EFFECT COLLECTIONS AND HAVE WRITTEN THE DEBTS OFF AS UNCOLLECTIBLE MAY, IN ACCORDANCE WITH 31 U.S.C. 701 (C) AND GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE REGULATIONS ISSUED THEREUNDER AND FOR ACCOUNTING CONVENIENCE, BE DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES CONCERNED HAVE AUTHORITY TO OTHERWISE MAKE USE OF THE COLLECTIONS.

TO THE SECRETARY OF INTERIOR, AUGUST 4, 1958:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF APRIL 9, 1958, WITH ENCLOSURE, FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, REQUESTING THAT THE COLLECTION OF $29.40 MADE BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION FROM THE ROGUE RIVER LUMBER COMPANY AND DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS BE TRANSFERRED AND CREDITED TO THE SPECIAL FUND ACCOUNT "145881 SALE OF PUBLIC LAND AND MATERIALS.'

AS STATED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, SOME OF THE COLLECTIONS MADE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR ARE REQUIRED BY LAW TO BE DISTRIBUTED TO AFFECTED STATES AND TO OTHER SPECIAL PURPOSES. THE SUBJECT COLLECTION REPRESENTS DOUBLE DAMAGE VALUE ARISING FROM A TIMBER TRESPASS ON PUBLIC LANDS. UNDER SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF APRIL 30, 1878, 20 STAT. 46, 16 U.S.C. 601, MONEY COLLECTED FOR DEPREDATIONS UPON THE PUBLIC LANDS ARE REQUIRED TO BE DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF THE SPECIAL FUND ACCOUNT "145881," WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED TO RECORD RECEIPTS FROM THE SALE OF PUBLIC LANDS AND MATERIALS. FUNDS CREDITED TO THIS ACCOUNT ARE SUBJECT TO DISTRIBUTION ON PERCENTAGE BASES ESTABLISHED BY LAW (31 U.S.C. 711 (17) AND 43 U.S.C. 391) TO THE AFFECTED STATES AND TO THE RECLAMATION FUND.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE INDEBTEDNESS FOR WHICH THE COLLECTION WAS MADE AROSE IN 1947, THAT AFTER A CONTINUING EFFORT FOR A PERIOD OF ABOUT 10 YEARS THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT OF YOUR DEPARTMENT, UPON A DETERMINATION THAT THE ITEM WAS UNCOLLECTIBLE, REPORTED THE DEBT TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION ON MAY 1, 1957, FOR FURTHER COLLECTION ACTION AS REQUIRED BY 4 GAO 5050.20. THE CLAIMS DIVISION COLLECTED THE DEBT AND DEPOSITED THE FUNDS TO THE CREDIT OF "053582 GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE COLLECTIONS FOR OTHER AGENCIES" RATHER THAN TO THE ACCOUNT "145881" INDICATED ON THE BUREAU'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER.

THE DEPOSIT OF THE COLLECTION AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH 4 GAO 5050.10 (1), WHICH REGULATION WAS ISSUED UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 1 (C) OF THE ACT OF JULY 25, 1956, PUBLIC LAW 798, 70 STAT. 648, 31 U.S.C. SUPP. V. 701 (C). THAT SECTION PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, THAT "* * * ANY COLLECTION MADE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES MAY BE DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS.'

WHEN AN AGENCY HAS EXHAUSTED ALL REASONABLE EFFORTS TO COLLECT A DEBT WITHOUT SUCCESS, AND HAS, AS A RESULT THEREOF, WRITTEN THE ITEM OFF ITS BOOKS AS UNCOLLECTIBLE (4 GAO 5050.80), THE DEBT NO LONGER NEED BE REGARDED AS AN ASSET TO THE AGENCY. TO REINSTATE IN AGENCY ACCOUNTS UNCOLLECTIBLE ITEMS THAT ARE COLLECTED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WOULD INVOLVE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES TO BOTH OF THE AGENCIES AND WOULD BE INCONSISTENT WITH THE PURPOSE OF PUBLIC LAW 798 WHICH WAS TO SIMPLIFY FISCAL ACCOUNTING.

THE NEED FOR DISTRIBUTING THE COLLECTION, CONSIDERING THE VERY SMALL AMOUNT INVOLVED, DOES NOT APPEAR TO EXIST AS A PRACTICAL MATTER. THEREFORE, AND IN CONSIDERATION OF THE AUTHORITY GRANTED OUR OFFICE IN THE QUOTED SECTION 1 (C), WE DETERMINED THAT THE COLLECTION MAY, FOR ACCOUNTING CONVENIENCE, BE DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. WHILE SUCH ACTION IS NOT MANDATORY, IT DOES PROVIDE THE MOST ECONOMICAL AND SATISFACTORY DISPOSITION OF SUCH COLLECTIONS, AND WE TRUST THAT YOUR DEPARTMENT WILL CONCUR IN THE PROCEDURE.

STANDARD FORM NO. 1097, VOUCHER AND SCHEDULE TO EFFECT CORRECTION OF ERRORS, TRANSMITTED WITH THE LETTER OF APRIL 9, WILL BE RETAINED IN OUR FILES.