[Treasury Request for Decision Concerning Use of Appropriated Funds for Litigation Cost Awards]

B-210706: Jul 5, 1984

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GAO was asked whether the permanent indefinite judgment appropriation established by legislation is available to satisfy litigation cost awards against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). GAO found that the judgment appropriation is the proper payment source of awards made by the Federal district courts and the U.S. Claims Court; however the appropriation is not available to pay litigation cost awards made the Tax Court. At present, no IRS appropriation is available to pay litigation cost awards. Although Congress has authorized the payment of litigation costs in Tax Court cases, as yet no funds have been appropriated for this purpose. Accordingly, GAO recommended that IRS request specific congressional appropriations to cover the litigation cost awards which the Tax Court has made. In the alternative, Congress could amend legislation so as to make the permanent judgment appropriation available as the source of funds for the payment of Tax Court awards making the source the same as for district court and U.S. Claims Court awards.