B-196527, DEC 29, 1980

B-196527: Dec 29, 1980

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DIGEST: SALES TAX PAID ON PURCHASE OF MOBILE HOME AT NEW DUTY STATION IN TEXAS IS A REIMBURSABLE TRANSFER TAX UNDER FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS. SINCE BURDEN OF PAYMENT IS ON PURCHASER AND THE TAX IS ON THE TRANSACTION RATHER THAN THE PROPERTY. BRITE - SALES TAXES ON PURCHASE OF MOBILE HOME: THIS DECISION IS IN RESPONSE TO THE REQUEST FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. BRITE WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE FORT WORTH DISTRICT. HAS SUSPENDED PAYMENT OF $933.49 ATTRIBUTABLE TO SALES TAX PAID ON PURCHASE OF THE MOBILE HOME PENDING OUR DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER IT IS A REIMBURSABLE TRANSFER TAX. WE HAVE HELD THAT SALES TAXES PAID ON THE PURCHASE OF A MOBILE HOME AT A NEW DUTY STATION ARE REIMBURSABLE WHEN THE BURDEN OF PAYMENT FALLS UPON THE PURCHASER AND THE TAXES ARE NOT BUSINESS PRIVILEGE TAXES MEASURED BY SALES.

B-196527, DEC 29, 1980

DIGEST: SALES TAX PAID ON PURCHASE OF MOBILE HOME AT NEW DUTY STATION IN TEXAS IS A REIMBURSABLE TRANSFER TAX UNDER FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PARA. 2- 6.2D, SINCE BURDEN OF PAYMENT IS ON PURCHASER AND THE TAX IS ON THE TRANSACTION RATHER THAN THE PROPERTY.

JERRY D. BRITE - SALES TAXES ON PURCHASE OF MOBILE HOME:

THIS DECISION IS IN RESPONSE TO THE REQUEST FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, AT FORT WORTH, TEXAS, CONCERNING THE CLAIM OF JERRY D. BRITE, A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF SALES TAX PAID ON THE PURCHASE OF A MOBILE HOME INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL DUTY STATION.

MR. BRITE WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE FORT WORTH DISTRICT, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, FROM THE ROCK ISLAND DISTRICT IN JOHNSTON, IOWA, IN NOVEMBER 1978. JUNE 1979, HE PURCHASED A MOBILE HOME TO BE LOCATED ON A SUBDIVISION LOT HE HAD PURCHASED 2 MONTHS EARLIER. THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS (FTR), AT PARA. 2-6.2D (FPMR 101-7, MAY 1973) PROVIDE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF "MORTGAGE AND TRANSFER TAXES" INCURRED IN THE SALE OR PURCHASE OF A RESIDENCE. THE ARMY HAS REIMBURSED MR. BRITE FOR EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO HIS PURCHASE OF THE MOBILE HOME AS WELL AS THE REAL ESTATE, BUT HAS SUSPENDED PAYMENT OF $933.49 ATTRIBUTABLE TO SALES TAX PAID ON PURCHASE OF THE MOBILE HOME PENDING OUR DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER IT IS A REIMBURSABLE TRANSFER TAX.

TEXAS LAW IMPOSES A 4 PERCENT SALES TAX ON THE SALE OF PERSONAL PROPERTY WITHIN THE STATE. REVISED CIVIL STATUTES OF TEXAS, TITLE 122A, AS CODIFIED AT VATS TAX-GEN., ARTICLE 20.01 ET SEQ. WE HAVE HELD THAT SALES TAXES PAID ON THE PURCHASE OF A MOBILE HOME AT A NEW DUTY STATION ARE REIMBURSABLE WHEN THE BURDEN OF PAYMENT FALLS UPON THE PURCHASER AND THE TAXES ARE NOT BUSINESS PRIVILEGE TAXES MEASURED BY SALES. HOWARD B. G. KITTREDGE, B-190484, FEBRUARY 14, 1978. SINCE THESE CONDITIONS ARE PRESENT HERE, WE FIND THAT MR. BRITE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT.

LIABILITY FOR PAYMENT OF THE TEXAS SALES TAX IS SPECIFICALLY IMPOSED UPON THE PURCHASER BY STATUTE. VATS TAX-GEN., ARTICLE 20.021 (VERNON, SUPP. 1979). SEE ALSO, ABLE IRRIGATION COMPANY V. CALVERT, 495 S.W. 2D 270 (CIV. APP. TEXAS 1973). SECONDLY, IN DETERMINING WHETHER A TRANSACTION IS A "SALE" FOR PURPOSES OF THE SALES TAX, THE STATE COURTS HAVE LOOKED TO THE "ESSENCE OF THE TRANSACTION." THE TAX IS IMPOSED UPON THE PARTICULAR TRANSACTION, AND NOT UPON THE PROPERTY ITSELF. SEE, E.G., BULLOCK V. STATISTICAL TABULATING CORPORATION, 549 S.W. 2D 166 (SUPP. CT. TEXAS 1977). CLEARLY THEN, IT IS NOT A TAX ON THE PRIVILEGE OF DOING BUSINESS OR UPON OWNERSHIP OF PROPERTY, BUT A TAX UPON THE EXCHANGE OF GOODS WITH ULTIMATE LIABILITY FOR PAYMENT FALLING UPON THE BUYER.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THIS CASE THE TEXAS STATE SALES TAX IS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE TERM "TRANSFER TAX" AS IT APPEARS IN FTR PARA. 2-6.2D. MR. BRITE IS THEREFORE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF $933.49 PAID AS SALES TAX ON THE PURCHASE OF THE MOBILE HOME.