Entitlement to Reimbursement of Real Estate Expenses

B-199316: Aug 29, 1980

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The Director of Personnel of the Defense Mapping Agency asked if agency employees who were transferred from Panama to Texas might be reimbursed for the sale of their former residences in the United States made more than 2 years after their transfer to Panama. The employees occupied Government quarters in the Canal Zone and maintained permanent residences at their old U.S. duty stations. As distinguished from transfers between 2 duty stations within the United States, these employees were limited to tours of duty of between 2 and 5 years and were guaranteed return rights to their former positions and return transportation to their former duty stations. Incident to the transfer to Texas, all of the employees had been offered the option to exercise their return rights to their former duty stations. Regulations specify that employees may not be reimbursed for the sale of their former residences made more than 2 years after the dates of the transfers. This regulation may not be waived or modified by the employing agency or GAO regardless of the circumstances present. The transfer to Panama and the transfer from Panama to Texas were separate and distinct transfers of official station with separate reimbursement for travel and relocation expenses. There is no authority for treating this transfer as part of an earlier transfer. There is no authority for the reimbursement of real estate expenses incurred more than 2 years from the date of transfer.