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Highlights

A decision was requested concerning whether a transferred Federal employee may be reimbursed for freight and commissioning expenses incurred in the purchase of a boat used as his residence at his new duty station. Federal regulations allow a transferred employee to be reimbursed reasonable expenses required to be paid by him in connection with the purchase of a residence at his new duty station. However, GAO found that neither the transportation charges nor the commissioning expenses claimed by the employee were analogous to charges incurred incident to the purchase of a residence on land. Accordingly, they may not be reimbursed as real estate transaction expenses. In addition, GAO has held that regulations which allow reimbursement for the transportation charges incurred in the transportation of a mobile home to a new duty station cannot authorize the movement of a boat incident to a permanent change of station, even though the boat is actually used as a residence. Further, GAO was unable to authorize payment of the transportation expenses under a new regulation which provides for paying appropriate costs in connection with the transportation of a boat when it will be used as a residence at a new duty station, because the boat was not the property of the employee at the time it was shipped. An employee who is transferred in the interest of the Government is entitled to a miscellaneous expenses allowance. Certain commissioning expenses which were costs incurred primarily to make the boat operable as a sailing vessel were not costs that were inherent in the relocation of a residence and, accordingly, may not be reimbursed as miscellaneous expenses. However, commissioning expenses that were necessary to the functioning of the boat as a residence may be allowed. Finally, the launching cost, which is similar to the cost of setting up a mobile home at a new location, may be reimbursed. Accordingly, GAO found that the freight transportation expenses may not be reimbursed, but certain miscellaneous expenses may be reimbursed in accordance with this decision.

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