An Army Corps of Engineers' district office requested an advance decision as to whether a transferred civilian employee is entitled to reimbursement of a loan origination fee incident to the purchase of a residence. When she was transferred, the employee was authorized travel expenses, including expenses associated with the sale or purchase of a residence. Upon settlement of the residence she purchased near her new duty station, the employee was charged a loan origination fee by the mortgage institution. The Joint Travel Regulations were recently amended to include loan origination fees, but the Corps withheld payment, because it was unsure of the criteria and limits of reimbursement. GAO found that: (1) a loan origination fee may be considered bona fide if it is included on an itemized settlement disclosure statement; (2) the employee was entitled to reimbursement; and (3) the amount claimed is within the overall limitation set by travel regulations. Accordingly, if the amount does not exceed the amount customarily paid in the locality of her residence, the claim may be paid.
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