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A request was made for an advanced decision on the question of whether an agency's employee may be reimbursed for a real estate earnest money deposit he forfeited when transferred to a new duty station incident to his acceptance of a promotion. The employee contracted to buy a house and spent $2,733 including a $2,500 earnest money deposit paid to the owner of the property and other expenditures totaling $233 for a credit report, legal fees, a pest certification, etc. The employee canceled and forfeited the deposit to accept a promotion and transfer to another locality. GAO held that the employee may not be reimbursed for his loss as a residence transaction expense. However, the forfeited deposit may be partially reimbursed as a miscellaneous expense since the $2,500 exceeds the maximum reimbursement allowed. The additional purchase related expenses of $233 also claimed by the employee would not be reimbursable in any case. Documentation from the requestor indicated that the employee raised questions concerning amounts he was reimbursed in connection with his transfer. Because the certifying officer's submission did not identify any specific item or amount as in issue, GAO assumed that the matter was resolved with the requestor.


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