Refunds of Oil and Gas Filing Fees by Bureau of Land Management

B-198371: May 22, 1980

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Shirley Jones
(202) 512-8156
jonessa@gao.gov

 

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A certifying officer of the Bureau of Land Management requested an advance decision concerning the payment of refunds of filing fees which may result in erroneous payments. The Bureau is in the process of refunding a total of $7,000,000 in oil lease application filing fees to some 70,000 applicants. As a consequence of deficiencies in the Bureau's records, it is known that a small percentage of these funds will result in erroneous payments and the certifying officer wanted to know if he was liable for these payments if he certifies the vouchers. The certifying officer would be liable for these payments. GAO has no authority to authorize erroneous payments in advance. To prevent erroneous payments, the Bureau should structure its filing fee refund program as a claims program and exercise its claims settlement authority.

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