B-166350, APRIL 16, 1969, 48 COMP. GEN. 670

B-166350: Apr 16, 1969

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USE OF COLLECTION PROCEEDS THE USE OF COLLECTION PROCEEDS TO COVER THE COST OF FEES FOR MONEY ORDERS OR BANK DRAFTS PRIOR TO MAILING THE BALANCE OF THE COLLECTION TO DEPOSITORIES WITH AN APPROPRIATE ACCOUNTING ADJUSTMENT AS AN OPTIONAL METHOD TO AN EMPLOYEE PAYING THE FEE FROM HIS PERSONAL FUNDS AND OBTAINING REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE APPROPRIATION WILL NOT CONTRAVENE THE REQUIREMENTS OF 31 U.S.C. 484 THAT THE GROSS AMOUNT OF MONEYS RECEIVED ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES MUST BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. THE PROPOSED PROCEDURE UNDER WHICH THE COST OF FEES FOR MONEY ORDERS AND BANK DRAFTS WOULD BE CHARGED TO THE PROPER APPROPRIATION WITHOUT DIMINISHING THE GROSS AMOUNTS ULTIMATELY DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY MAY BE ADOPTED AFTER DETAILED ACCOUNTING PROCEDURES HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED AND APPROVED FOR PROMPTLY EFFECTING THE NECESSARY ACCOUNTING ADJUSTMENTS.

B-166350, APRIL 16, 1969, 48 COMP. GEN. 670

FEES--BANK DRAFTS, MONEY ORDERS, ETC.--USE OF COLLECTION PROCEEDS THE USE OF COLLECTION PROCEEDS TO COVER THE COST OF FEES FOR MONEY ORDERS OR BANK DRAFTS PRIOR TO MAILING THE BALANCE OF THE COLLECTION TO DEPOSITORIES WITH AN APPROPRIATE ACCOUNTING ADJUSTMENT AS AN OPTIONAL METHOD TO AN EMPLOYEE PAYING THE FEE FROM HIS PERSONAL FUNDS AND OBTAINING REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE APPROPRIATION WILL NOT CONTRAVENE THE REQUIREMENTS OF 31 U.S.C. 484 THAT THE GROSS AMOUNT OF MONEYS RECEIVED ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES MUST BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. THE PROPOSED PROCEDURE UNDER WHICH THE COST OF FEES FOR MONEY ORDERS AND BANK DRAFTS WOULD BE CHARGED TO THE PROPER APPROPRIATION WITHOUT DIMINISHING THE GROSS AMOUNTS ULTIMATELY DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY MAY BE ADOPTED AFTER DETAILED ACCOUNTING PROCEDURES HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED AND APPROVED FOR PROMPTLY EFFECTING THE NECESSARY ACCOUNTING ADJUSTMENTS.

TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, APRIL 16, 1969:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED MARCH 5, 1969, FROM YOUR ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ADMINISTRATION IN WHICH, AS AN OPTIONAL PROCEDURE, IT IS PROPOSED TO UTILIZE FROM THE PROCEEDS OF COLLECTIONS AMOUNTS SUFFICIENT TO COVER THE COSTS OF FEES FOR MONEY ORDERS OR BANK DRAFTS PRIOR TO MAILING THE BALANCE OF THE COLLECTIONS TO DEPOSITORIES. THE PROPOSAL CONTEMPLATES AN ACCOUNTING ADJUSTMENT DURING THE SAME ACCOUNTING PERIOD, WHICH WOULD CHARGE AVAILABLE APPROPRIATIONS WITH THE COSTS OF THE FEES AND CREDIT THE RECEIPT ACCOUNTS WHICH OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE BEEN INITIALY CREDITED WITH THE AMOUNTS, INCLUDING THE AMOUNTS OF THOSE FEES.

IT IS STATED THAT THE DEPARTMENT HAS OVER 8,000 COLLECTION OFFICERS WHO RECEIVE FUNDS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES FOR REPAYMENT OF LOANS, USE OF RECREATION AREAS, SALE OF FOREST PRODUCTS, ETC. MANY OF THE COLLECTION OFFICERS ARE NOT LOCATED NEAR A FEDERAL DEPOSITORY AND MUST USE MAIL SERVICE TO TRANSMIT COLLECTIONS.

BEFORE MAILING THESE COLLECTIONS, CASH RECEIPTS MUST BE CONVERTED TO A POSTAL MONEY ORDER OR A BANK DRAFT. DEPARTMENTAL INSTRUCTIONS BASED UPON 31 U.S.C. 484 PROVIDE THAT FEES CHARGED FOR THESE INSTRUMENTS CANNOT BE PAID FROM CASH RECEIPTS. THE EMPLOYEE IS REQUIRED TO PAY SUCH FEES FROM HIS PERSONAL FUNDS AND OBTAIN REIMBURSEMENT FROM APPROPRIATIONS.

BECAUSE OF THE BELIEF THAT EMPLOYEES, EVEN THOUGH REIMBURSED, SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PAY THESE FEES FROM PERSONAL FUNDS, AND BECAUSE ECONOMIES IN ACCOUNTING OPERATIONS COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED, YOU WOULD LIKE TO USE THE PROCEDURE AS SET OUT IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF THIS DECISION AS AN OPTIONAL PROCEDURE FOR USE BY YOUR AGENCIES. THE LETTER STATES THAT THE RESULT OF THESE TRANSACTIONS WOULD BE IDENTICAL TO THAT OF THE PRESENT PROCEDURE WHERE THE FULL AMOUNT OF RECEIPTS ARE INITIALLY DEPOSITED IN A DEPOSITORY AND THE EMPLOYEE REIMBURSED FROM APPROPRIATION ACCOUNTS FOR FEES PAID FROM PERSONAL FUNDS. YOUR QUESTION IS WHETHER THE PROPOSED PROCEDURE MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS OF 31 U.S.C. 484.

SECTION 3617 OF THE REVISED STATUTES WHICH HAS BEEN CODIFIED AS 31 U.S.C. 484 PROVIDES:

THE GROSS AMOUNT OF ALL MONEYS RECEIVED FROM WHATEVER SOURCE FOR THE USE OF THE UNITED STATES, EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN SECTION 487 OF THIS TITLE, SHALL BE PAID BY THE OFFICER OR AGENT RECEIVING THE SAME INTO THE TREASURY AT AS EARLY A DAY AS PRACTICABLE, WITHOUT ANY ABATEMENT OR DEDUCTION ON ACCOUNT OF SALARY, FEES, COSTS, CHARGES, EXPENSES, OR CLAIM OF ANY DESCRIPTION WHATEVER. BUT NOTHING HEREIN SHALL AFFECT ANY PROVISION RELATING TO THE REVENUES OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT.

THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY TO THE CONTRARY, THE PROVISIONS OF THAT SECTION REQUIRE THAT THE GROSS AMOUNT OF MONEYS RECEIVED BY AN OFFICER ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. SEE 45 COMP. GEN. 27; 27ID. 422; 23ID. 564.

YOUR PROPOSED OPTIONAL PROCEDURE WOULD RESULT IN CHARGING THE COST OF THE FEES FOR MONEY ORDERS AND BANK DRAFTS TO THE APPROPRIATION CONGRESS HAS PROVIDED FOR THE PURPOSE AND WOULD NOT RESULT IN DIMINISHING THE GROSS AMOUNTS ULTIMATELY DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY. ACCORDINGLY WE HAVE NO OBJECTION TO ITS ADOPTION AFTER DETAILED ACCOUNTING PROCEDURES FOR PROMPTLY EFFECTING THE NECESSARY ACCOUNTING ADJUSTMENTS HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED AND HAVE BEEN FOUND MUTUALLY SATISFACTORY TO YOUR ACCOUNTANTS AND TO THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. CF. 15 COMP. GEN. 993.