B-147628, DEC. 28, 1961

B-147628: Dec 28, 1961

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THE RECORDS SHOW THAT YOU ARE ASSIGNED TO SURPLUS COMMODITY HOUSING QUARTERS AT BEVAUX. THE FULL AMOUNT OF YOUR QUARTERS ALLOWANCE IS DEDUCTED FROM YOUR PAY. YOU FILED A CLAIM WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE AMOUNT YOU WERE REQUIRED TO PAY TO THE FRENCH AUTHORITIES. YOUR CLAIM WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER THE LAW OR REGULATIONS FOR REIMBURSEMENT TO YOU OF MONIES EXPENDED FOR TAXES. PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS: "WHEN THERE IS FILED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE A CLAIM OR DEMAND AGAINST THE UNITED STATES THAT MAY NOT LAWFULLY BE ADJUSTED BY THE USE OF AN APPROPRIATION THERETOFORE MADE. IN YOUR STATEMENT OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES ON WHICH YOUR CLAIM IS BASED.

B-147628, DEC. 28, 1961

TO COLONEL GEORGE E. HUGES, 030733:

PURSUANT TO YOUR REQUEST, THE OFFICE OF CHIEF OF FINANCE, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, WASHINGTON, D.C., BY 4TH INDORSEMENT, DATED NOVEMBER 1, 1961, FORWARDED FOR OUR CONSIDERATION UNDER THE MERITORIOUS CLAIMS ACT, 31 U.S.C. 236, YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE AMOUNT OF TAXES PAID BY YOU TO THE VILLE DE VERDUN, FRANCE.

THE RECORDS SHOW THAT YOU ARE ASSIGNED TO SURPLUS COMMODITY HOUSING QUARTERS AT BEVAUX, FRANCE, A SUBURB OF VERDUN. BY REASON OF YOUR BEING FURNISHED THESE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS, THE FULL AMOUNT OF YOUR QUARTERS ALLOWANCE IS DEDUCTED FROM YOUR PAY. SUBSEQUENT TO YOUR OCCUPANCY YOU RECEIVED TAX BILLS FROM THE VILLE DE VERDUN FOR "CONTRIBUTION MOBILIERE," A GENERAL REVENUE TAX FOR THE BENEFIT OF MUNICIPALITIES AND DEPARTMENTS LEVIED UPON THE OCCUPANCY OF A DWELLING. YOU FILED A CLAIM WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE AMOUNT YOU WERE REQUIRED TO PAY TO THE FRENCH AUTHORITIES, WHICH AMOUNT TOTALS $55.98 FOR THE CALENDAR YEARS 1960 AND 1961. HOWEVER, YOUR CLAIM WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER THE LAW OR REGULATIONS FOR REIMBURSEMENT TO YOU OF MONIES EXPENDED FOR TAXES.

THE MERITORIOUS CLAIMS ACT, 31 U.S.C. 236, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"WHEN THERE IS FILED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE A CLAIM OR DEMAND AGAINST THE UNITED STATES THAT MAY NOT LAWFULLY BE ADJUSTED BY THE USE OF AN APPROPRIATION THERETOFORE MADE, BUT WHICH CLAIM OR DEMAND IN THE JUDGMENT OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES CONTAINS SUCH ELEMENTS OF LEGAL LIABILITY OR EQUITY AS TO BE DESERVING OF THE CONSIDERATION OF THE CONGRESS, HE SHALL SUBMIT THE SAME TO THE CONGRESS BY A SPECIAL REPORT CONTAINING THE MATERIAL FACTS AND HIS RECOMMENDATION THEREON.'

IN YOUR STATEMENT OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES ON WHICH YOUR CLAIM IS BASED, YOU SAY THAT THE ,DIRECTIVE WHICH CAUSED ME TO PAY THIS FRENCH TAX IS PARAGRAPH 4, CIRCULAR NO. 608-50, HEADQUARTERS, UNITED STATES ARMY, EUROPE (REAR) (COMMUNICATIONS ZONE, APO 58, US FORCES, DATED 5 AUGUST 1960.' EXAMINATION OF THE CIRCULAR CITED BY YOU INDICATES THAT IT IS INFORMATIVE IN NATURE AND SETS FORTH THE VARIOUS TAXES FOR WHICH U.S. FORCES PERSONNEL STATIONED IN FRANCE MAY BE ASSESSED. IT IS NOT THE BASIS, AS INDICATED BY YOU, FOR THE REQUIREMENT THAT YOU PAY THE TAX.

WHETHER OR NOT ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL ARE SUBJECT TO LOCAL TAXES WHEN STATIONED IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY IS GOVERNED BY THE TERMS OF THE AGREEMENT OR TREATY EXISTING BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENTS INVOLVED. CIRCULAR NO. 608-50 SETS FORTH THE TAXES FOR WHICH NO EXEMPTION HAS BEEN GRANTED BY THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT, AND IN THE ABSENCE OF AN EXEMPTION SUCH TAXES ARE LIABILITIES PERSONAL IN NATURE WHICH ARE REQUIRED BY THE FRENCH AUTHORITIES TO BE PAID BY THE INDIVIDUALS CONCERNED. THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT TO ASSUME SUCH PERSONAL LIABILITIES BY WAY OF REIMBURSEMENT AS REQUESTED BY YOU.

YOU HAVE ADVANCED SEVERAL REASONS WHY YOU FEEL THE FRENCH TAX IS NOT PAYABLE BY YOU WITHOUT REIMBURSEMENT SUCH AS FULL QUARTERS ALLOWANCE IS DEDUCTED FROM YOUR PAY; YOU RECEIVE NO COST OF LIVING DIFFERENTIAL OR SIMILAR SUPPLEMENT; YOU ARE PRESENT AT YOUR STATION DUE TO OFFICIAL RDERS; YOU CANNOT DETERMINE ANY TANGIBLE BENEFITS RECEIVED ON ACCOUNT OF THE TAXES PAID; AND THERE IS NO MEANS AVAILABLE TO YOU TO INFLUENCE OR OTHERWISE CONTROL THE REDISTRIBUTION OR FURTHER EXPENDITURE OF THE MONEY YOU HAVE PAID.

WHILE THE FOREGOING INDICATES THAT THE TAX EXPENSE BORNE BY YOU WAS REQUIRED TO BE PAID WITHOUT ANY OFFSETTING SUPPLEMENTS, AND IN YOUR DETERMINATION NO TANGIBLE BENEFITS OR CONTROL OVER THE USE OF THE TAX FUNDS, SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT CONSTITUTE JUSTIFICATION, EITHER IN LAW OR EQUITY, FOR THE PAYMENT BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF A TAX ASSESSED AGAINST YOU AND OTHER PERSONNEL SIMILARLY SITUATED.

THEREFORE, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES INCURRED DOES NOT CONTAIN SUCH ELEMENTS OF LEGAL LIABILITY OR EQUITY AS TO WARRANT REPORTING THE MATTER FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF CONGRESS.

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