B-40355, MARCH 1, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 648

B-40355: Mar 1, 1944

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IT IS THE ESTABLISHED RULE THAT AMOUNTS REPRESENTING COLLECTIONS ON ACCOUNT OF ERRONEOUS OR ILLEGAL CHARGES TO LAPSED APPROPRIATIONS ARE REQUIRED TO BE DEPOSITED AND COVERED INTO THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE CREDIT OF THE APPROPRIATION ORIGINALLY CHARGED. THE FACT THAT SUCH AMOUNTS MAY BE SMALL AND ARE IMMEDIATELY CARRIED TO THE SURPLUS FUND OF THE TREASURY THROUGH THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED BY OPERATION OF LAW CONSTITUTES NO LEGAL BASIS FOR DEPARTING FROM THE ESTABLISHED RULE. AS FOLLOWS: THE DEPARTMENT IS RECEIVING FROM TIME TO TIME COLLECTIONS PERTAINING TO APPROPRIATIONS WHICH HAVE REVERTED TO THE SURPLUS FUND. IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOU ADVISE IF THERE IS ANY OBJECTION TO THIS PROPOSED PROCEDURE.

B-40355, MARCH 1, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 648

APPROPRIATIONS - LAPSED - DISPOSITION OF AMOUNTS REPAID IN THE ABSENCE OF EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY TO THE CONTRARY, IT IS THE ESTABLISHED RULE THAT AMOUNTS REPRESENTING COLLECTIONS ON ACCOUNT OF ERRONEOUS OR ILLEGAL CHARGES TO LAPSED APPROPRIATIONS ARE REQUIRED TO BE DEPOSITED AND COVERED INTO THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE CREDIT OF THE APPROPRIATION ORIGINALLY CHARGED, RATHER THAN TO THE CREDIT OF MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS, AND THE FACT THAT SUCH AMOUNTS MAY BE SMALL AND ARE IMMEDIATELY CARRIED TO THE SURPLUS FUND OF THE TREASURY THROUGH THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED BY OPERATION OF LAW CONSTITUTES NO LEGAL BASIS FOR DEPARTING FROM THE ESTABLISHED RULE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, MARCH 1, 1944:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED A LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 22, 1944 ( SPFDT 131/16308 MISC. REC.), FROM THE FISCAL DIRECTOR, HEADQUARTERS ARMY SERVICE FORCES, AS FOLLOWS:

THE DEPARTMENT IS RECEIVING FROM TIME TO TIME COLLECTIONS PERTAINING TO APPROPRIATIONS WHICH HAVE REVERTED TO THE SURPLUS FUND. THESE ITEMS USUALLY INVOLVE SMALL SUMS BUT IN MANY INSTANCES DATE BACK SEVERAL YEARS. THE DEPARTMENT PROPOSES TO ISSUE INSTRUCTIONS TO TRANSFER THESE FUNDS DIRECT INTO MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS.

IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOU ADVISE IF THERE IS ANY OBJECTION TO THIS PROPOSED PROCEDURE.

THE COLLECTIONS REFERRED TO PRESUMABLY CONSTITUTE REFUNDS OR REPAYMENTS OF MONEYS TO APPROPRIATIONS AS A RESULT OF COLLECTIONS ON ACCOUNT OF ERRONEOUS OR ILLEGAL CHARGES THERETO AND WHICH ORDINARILY WOULD BE FOR DEPOSITING AND COVERING INTO THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE CREDIT OF THE APPROPRIATIONS ORIGINALLY CHARGED. BUT WHERE THE AMOUNTS OF SUCH COLLECTIONS ARE SMALL AND THE APPROPRIATIONS INVOLVED HAVE CEASED TO BE AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY PROPOSED TO DEPOSIT AND COVER SUCH COLLECTIONS DIRECTLY INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS INSTEAD OF TO THE CREDIT OF THE INVOLVED APPROPRIATIONS.

IT LONG HAS BEEN THE RULE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT SUCH MONEYS PROPERLY ARE FOR DEPOSITING AND COVERING INTO THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE CREDIT OF THE APPROPRIATIONS ORIGINALLY CHARGED. SEE 5 COMP. GEN. 734, 736, AND DECISIONS CITED THEREIN. AND, IN 6 COMP. GEN. 337, 339, IT WAS STATED THAT "THE FACT THAT AN APPROPRIATION TO WHICH THE FUNDS ARE PROPERLY FOR CREDIT HAS LAPSED AT THE TIME OF COLLECTION HAS NEVER BEEN CONSIDERED A SUFFICIENT JUSTIFICATION FOR COVERING THE FUNDS INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS.'

WHILE IT MAY BE THAT THE MONEYS INVOLVED ARE IMMEDIATELY FOR CARRYING TO THE SURPLUS FUND OF THE TREASURY BY OPERATION OF LAW, IN THE ABSENCE OF EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY TO THE CONTRARY, FUNDS REPRESENTING REPAYMENTS TO APPROPRIATIONS MAY GET INTO THE GENERAL FUND OF THE TREASURY ONLY BY BEING CARRIED THERETO AS SURPLUS THROUGH THE APPROPRIATIONS INVOLVED. THE FACT THAT THE AMOUNTS INVOLVED MAY BE SMALL CONSTITUTES NO PROPER LEGAL BASIS FOR DEPARTING FROM THE LONG ESTABLISHED PRACTICE REFERRED TO. HENCE, THE PROPOSAL ADVANCED IN THE ABOVE-QUOTED LETTER MAY NOT BE APPROVED UNDER EXISTING LAW.