[Request for Reconsideration of Decision Concerning IRS Employee's Expense Claim]

B-216938: Nov 12, 1985

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An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee requested reconsideration of a decision concerning the authorization of relocation expenses incurred due to a hardship transfer. GAO noted that: (1) IRS agreed to pay the claimant's expenses for his travel and the transportation of his dependents and household effects from Indianapolis, Indiana, to Fairbanks, Alaska, and in exchange, the claimant agreed to work for at least 2 years in Fairbanks; (2) upon completion of the 2-year period, the claimant would be eligible for payment of the same expenses upon return; (3) the transportation agreement did not authorize the payment of any real estate expenses; and (4) over 2 years later, the claimant requested and was granted a transfer to Portland, Maine and, subsequently, petitioned for reimbursement of relocation expenses. GAO found that: (1) IRS denied the claim for real estate expenses associated with the sale of the residence in Fairbanks because the transfer was not in the government's interest; (2) the transportation agreement was the basis for payment of expenses incident to the transfer to Portland; (3) the claimant's move was at his own request and he accepted a reduction in grade in order to facilitate the transfer; and (4) the agreement stated that IRS would pay certain costs for the claimant's return. GAO also found that: (1) IRS honored the terms of the service agreement and paid for the travel expenses of the claimant and his immediate family to Portland; (2) the claimant had not been paid any amount for transportation of his household effects because he disposed of most of his household goods prior to departing from Fairbanks, and regulations provide for reimbursement on the basis of the weight of household goods actually transported; (3) relocation expenses may not be paid where a transfer is primarily for the employee's convenience; and (4) mere disagreement with a previous decision is not a proper basis for the reversal of a decision where there is no evidence that there was a material mistake of law or fact in the prior decision. Accordingly, the prior decision was affirmed.