B-147628, MAY 10, 1962

B-147628: May 10, 1962

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THESE ENCLOSURES WERE FURNISHED TO SHOW THAT (1) THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ACTS AS A POLICING AGENT TO INSURE THAT THE FRENCH TAX IS PAID. (2) THE OCCUPANTS OF A HOUSE OR APARTMENT ARE REQUIRED TO PAY CERTAIN LOCAL TAXES. THE INDIVIDUAL MUST HAVE PAID THE "CONTRIBUTION MOBILIERE.'. IT WAS POINTED OUT IN OUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 28. THAT THE QUESTION OF 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. STATING IN EFFECT THAT UNITED STATES PERSONNEL WERE NOT EXEMPT FROM PAYING THE TAX INVOLVED BUT. WERE AIDING AND ABETTING A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT IN COLLECTING TAXES FROM UNITED STATES CITIZENS OCCUPYING GOVERNMENT QUARTERS IN FRANCE.

B-147628, MAY 10, 1962

TO COLONEL GEORGE E. HUGHES:

YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 5, 1962, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTS THAT WE RECONSIDER THE ACTION TAKEN IN OUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 28, 1961, B 147628, IN WHICH FOR THE REASONS STATED THEREIN WE ADVISED YOU THAT YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TAXES PAID TO THE VILLE DE VERDUN, FRANCE, DID NOT CONTAIN SUCH ELEMENTS OF LEGAL LIABILITY OR EQUITY AS TO WARRANT OUR REPORTING THE MATTER FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF CONGRESS UNDER THE MERITORIOUS CLAIMS ACT, 31 U.S.C. 236.

THE ENCLOSURES SUBMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER INCLUDE HEADQUARTERS,USACOMZEUR, CIRCULAR NO. 608-52, 9 AUGUST 1961, AN IMPLEMENTING DIRECTIVE GOVERNING THE PAYMENT OF "CONTRIBUTION MOBILIERE" BY PERSONNEL DEPARTING FRANCE; CIRCULAR NO. 614-31, 26 MARCH 1959, WITH CHANGES, CONCERNING ASSIGNMENT OF FAMILY HOUSING; CIRCULAR NO. 600-45, 6 DECEMBER 1961, GOVERNING THE ANNUAL COST OF LIVING SURVEY; AND MEMORANDUM NO. 210-10-3, HEADQUARTERS, VERDUN POST, 7 APRIL 1961, PROCEDURES FOR ORDERLY CLEARANCE OF VERDUN POST. THESE ENCLOSURES WERE FURNISHED TO SHOW THAT (1) THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ACTS AS A POLICING AGENT TO INSURE THAT THE FRENCH TAX IS PAID, (2) THE OCCUPANTS OF A HOUSE OR APARTMENT ARE REQUIRED TO PAY CERTAIN LOCAL TAXES, (3) THAT THE COST OF LIVING SURVEY INCLUDES AS AN ELEMENT OF CONSIDERATION OF FRENCH TAXES, BUT THAT BACHELOR OFFICERS' QUARTERS RESIDENTS DO NOT REPORT NOR DO MEMBERS OCCUPYING SURPLUS COMMODITY HOUSING OR OTHER GOVERNMENT QUARTERS, AND (4) THAT BEFORE OBTAINING CLEARANCE FROM YOUR STATION, THE INDIVIDUAL MUST HAVE PAID THE "CONTRIBUTION MOBILIERE.'

IT WAS POINTED OUT IN OUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 28, 1961, THAT THE QUESTION OF 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. YOU NOW CONTEND THAT THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN NEGLIGENT IN THAT IT HAS TAKEN NO APPARENT ACTION TO AMEND AN AGREEMENT OF JANUARY 23, 1953, STATING IN EFFECT THAT UNITED STATES PERSONNEL WERE NOT EXEMPT FROM PAYING THE TAX INVOLVED BUT, ON THE CONTRARY, WERE AIDING AND ABETTING A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT IN COLLECTING TAXES FROM UNITED STATES CITIZENS OCCUPYING GOVERNMENT QUARTERS IN FRANCE.

THE NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY STATUS OF FORCES AGREEMENT, SIGNED IN LONDON, JUNE 19, 1951, AUTHORIZES CERTAIN EXEMPTIONS FROM LOCAL TAXES SUCH AS ANY TAX ON SALARY AND EMOLUMENTS, AND ON TANGIBLE MOVABLE PROPERTY. HOWEVER, THERE IS NO EXEMPTION FROM LOCAL TAXES SUCH AS HERE INVOLVED. IT IS BECAUSE OF THIS THAT YOU ARE LIABLE FOR THE TAX AND NOT THE DIRECTIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS FURNISHED WITH YOUR LETTER--- THEIR PURPOSE, INSOFAR AS THE TAXES ARE CONCERNED, BEING TO INSURE THAT ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL ARE AWARE OF THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES IN REGARD TO LOCAL TAXES, AND TO INSURE THAT SUCH TAXES ARE PAID. IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, THERE BEING NO STATUTE AUTHORIZING THE UNITED STATES TO ASSUME THIS LIABILITY WHICH IS PERSONAL TO YOU AND OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, THERE IS NO BASIS EITHER IN LAW OR EQUITY TO WARRANT OUR REPORTING YOUR CLAIM FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF CONGRESS.

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