GAO was requested to decide whether a Federal employee was entitled to reimbursement of expenses incurred in selling his residence since the sale occurred before the employee received official notice of a transfer. Applicable regulations state that an employee may be reimbursed for real estate expenses incurred prior to and in anticipation of a transfer only if a clearly evident administrative intent to transfer the employee exists at the time the expenses are incurred. Previous GAO decisions have held that the following constitute a clear intention to transfer an employee: (1) unofficial telephone contacts linked with a notice of reduction in force; (2) a letter notifying that a position was surplusage coupled with an offer to help find another job; (3) a verbal notification of tentative selection for a position; and (4) an official announcement that all essential functions of the installation were to be relocated. Since the employee sold his residence upon notice that he would be terminated at his old duty station coupled with an offer of assistance in relocating, GAO found that the employee incurred real estate expenses after a clear intent to transfer him was evident. Accordingly, the voucher could be certified for payment, if otherwise proper.
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