Request for Real Estate Expenses

B-202611: Sep 1, 1981

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An accounting and finance officer requested an advance decision regarding an employee's supplemental claim for real estate expenses incurred when he bought garage space in connection with the purchase of a residence incident to his transfer. After the employee was transferred, he was reimbursed relocation expenses, including real estate expenses for the purchase of his new residence, a condominium. Included in the original voucher was a statement that an additional claim would be submitted for reimbursement of expenses to be incurred in the purchase of parking space in the condominium's garage. In support of his claim, the employee stated that, while the initial sales of condominium units in his building were made without garage spaces, new owners were given an option to obtain such space by a separate purchase. Because the original owners from whom he purchased his unit did not obtain garage space at the time they acquired the property, it became necessary for him to purchase garage space separately. The accounting and finance officer believed that the regulation authorizing reimbursement for expenses in connection with the purchase of a residence at a new duty station does not permit payment of expenses incurred in connection with the purchase of a garage when it can be acquired separately and sold independently of the residence unit. Where an employee's old or new residence includes a garage, GAO has routinely authorized reimbursement for the associated real estate expenses without distinguishing between or requiring an apportionment of costs associated with the dwelling and garage portions of the residence. Accordingly, the expenses incurred for the purchase of the garage space may be reimbursed, if otherwise proper.

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