B-173652, OCT 27, 1971

B-173652: Oct 27, 1971

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ALTHOUGH IT IS BELIEVED THAT "PURCHASE" AS USED IN OMB CIR. CLAIM FOR TITLE ABSTRACT AND COLORADO DOCUMENTARY FEE MAY NOT BE PAID AS CLAIMANT STANDS IN SHOES OF THE PURCHASER AND IN THE LOCALITY SUCH EXPENSES ARE PAID BY SELLER. UNITED STATES DEP OF THE INTERIOR: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 16. BATH WAS TRANSFERRED FROM GRAND LAKE. THE TOTAL CLAIMED ON THE VOUCHER IS $33.08. ARE FOUND IN OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. LEGAL AND RELATED COSTS. *** THE FOLLOWING EXPENSES ARE REIMBURSABLE *** IF THEY ARE CUSTOMARILY PAID BY THE SELLER OF A RESIDENCE AT THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION OR IF CUSTOMARILY PAID BY THE PURCHASER OF A RESIDENCE AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION.

B-173652, OCT 27, 1971

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - REIMBURSEMENT FOR REAL ESTATE EXPENSES WHEN EMPLOYEE TAKES BY GIFT DECISION ALLOWING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART A CLAIM OF MR. HENRY BATH, A BUREAU OF RECLAMATION EMPLOYEE, TO REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES ($33.08) INCIDENT TO TAKING TITLE TO RESIDENCE BY GIFT FROM A RELATIVE AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL DUTY STATION. ALTHOUGH IT IS BELIEVED THAT "PURCHASE" AS USED IN OMB CIR. NO. A-56 AND 5 U.S.C. 5724A DOES NOT PRECLUDE REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES WHERE EMPLOYEE TAKES BY GIFT, CLAIM FOR TITLE ABSTRACT AND COLORADO DOCUMENTARY FEE MAY NOT BE PAID AS CLAIMANT STANDS IN SHOES OF THE PURCHASER AND IN THE LOCALITY SUCH EXPENSES ARE PAID BY SELLER. CLAIM FOR $1.75 RECORDING FEE MAY BE PAID.

TO BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, REGION 7, UNITED STATES DEP OF THE INTERIOR:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 16, 1971, FILE REFERENCE 7-360, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER SUBMITTED BY MR. HENRY BATH, A BUREAU OF RECLAMATION EMPLOYEE, COVERING CERTAIN EXPENSES HE INCURRED IN TAKING TITLE TO A RESIDENCE WHICH HE APPARENTLY OCCUPIED INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE IN OFFICIAL DUTY STATION.

YOU INDICATE THAT MR. BATH WAS TRANSFERRED FROM GRAND LAKE, COLORADO, TO ESTES PARK, COLORADO, WHERE HE REPORTED FOR DUTY ON APRIL 30, 1970. THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED BY MR. BATH AND WHICH YOU QUESTION COVERS THE FOLLOWING EXPENSES HE APPARENTLY INCURRED IN TAKING TITLE (BY WAY OF GIFT FROM A RELATIVE) TO THE RESIDENCE IN LOVELAND: "RECORDING FEE" ($1.75), "COLO. DOC, FEE" ($.43), AND "BRING ABSTRACT UP TO DATE" ($31.00), WHICH MAKES A TOTAL OF $33.18. THE TOTAL CLAIMED ON THE VOUCHER IS $33.08.

THE REGULATIONS COVERING THE REIMBURSEMENT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES FOR CERTAIN EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF OFFICIAL DUTY STATION, IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF MR. BATH'S TRANSFER, ARE FOUND IN OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED, TRANSMITTAL MEMORANDUM NO. 5, EFFECTIVE JUNE 26, 1969, ATTACHMENT A. SECTION 4.2 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES IN PART FOR CERTAIN REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE OF A RESIDENCE AT THE NEW DUTY STATION.

SUBSECTION 4.2C PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"C. LEGAL AND RELATED COSTS. *** THE FOLLOWING EXPENSES ARE REIMBURSABLE *** IF THEY ARE CUSTOMARILY PAID BY THE SELLER OF A RESIDENCE AT THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION OR IF CUSTOMARILY PAID BY THE PURCHASER OF A RESIDENCE AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION, *** ; COSTS OF (1) *** PREPARING ABSTRACT, *** OR (2) *** COSTS OF *** RECORDING FEES."

SUBSECTION 4.2D PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"D. MISCELLANEOUS COSTS. THE FOLLOWING EXPENSES ARE REIMBURSABLE *** IF THEY ARE CUSTOMARILY PAID BY THE SELLER OF A RESIDENCE AT THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION OR IF THEY ARE CUSTOMARILY PAID BY THE PURCHASER OF A RESIDENCE AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION, TO THE EXTENT THEY DO NOT EXCEED AMOUNTS CUSTOMARILY PAID IN THE LOCALITY OF THE RESIDENCE: *** MORTGAGE AND TRANSFER TAXES; STATE REVENUE STAMPS; AND SIMILAR FEES AND CHARGES. *** "

WE DO NOT BELIEVE THE WORD "PURCHASE" AS USED IN THE ABOVE REGULATIONS OR IN THE PROVISIONS OF LAW, 5 U.S.C. 5724AA), WAS INTENDED TO EXCLUDE REIMBURSEMENT OF OTHERWISE PROPER REAL ESTATE EXPENSES IN A SITUATION SUCH AS HERE WHERE AN EMPLOYEE OBTAINS TITLE TO THE PROPERTY BY GIFT. HOWEVER, YOU INDICATE THAT THE EXPENSE OF A TITLE ABSTRACT AND THE COLORADO DOCUMENTARY FEE ARE CUSTOMARILY PAID BY THE SELLER. MR. BATH, OF COURSE, STOOD IN THE SAME SHOES AS A PURCHASER IN THIS CASE. THEREFORE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUBSECTION 4.2C SUPRA, MR. BATH MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR THE EXPENSE OF THE TITLE ABSTRACT AND THE COLORADO DOCUMENTARY FEE. THE RECORDING FEE OF $1.75 MAY BE ALLOWED ASSUMING THAT SUCH FEE IS ONE CUSTOMARILY PAID BY THE PURCHASER.

THE VOUCHER WITH ACCOMPANYING PAPERS IS RETURNED HEREWITH FOR HANDLING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE.