Questions concerning this policy chapter should be directed to:

0801  Overview

This chapter establishes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) financial policies and procedures relating to the reimbursement of authorized relocation package expenses for both permanent change of station (PCS) and temporary change of station (TCS) relocation allowances, entitlements, and the discretionary Appraised Value Offer Program (AVO).

Key points covered in this chapter:

  • Human Resource Administration, Office of The Chief Human Capital Officer (OCHO) Bulletin, February 17, 2023, established it is the responsibility of the VA “authorizing official” (e.g., the hiring manager) to approve PCS relocation allowances for a recruitment action;
  • FTR § 302-3.503 requires an executed Service Agreement (SA) to be eligible for reimbursement of relocation allowances, except in the case of a Senior Executive Service (SES) employee who is authorized for separation relocation allowance (also known as “last move home”) benefits or for TCS;
  • Employees will not use their travel card for expenses associated with moving their household goods (HHG) when electing the self-shipment method;
  • AO’s will only authorize discretionary temporary quarters subsistence expense (TQSE) allowance when it will minimize or avoid other relocation expenses such as prolonged temporary storage of HHG (FTR § 300-3.1);
  • VA will not authorize TQSE if the distance between the old and new official duty stations is less than 50-miles (FTR § 302-6.4); and
  • VA will not authorize a temporary change of station (TCS) for periods shorter in duration than 6 months nor lasting longer than 30 months.

Under 5 U.S.C. § 406 (Inspector General Act of 1978 – Public Law 95-452), VA Office of Inspector General (VA OIG) employees shall adhere to travel Directives, policies, procedures, and guidance provided by the VA OIG.

Union rights and privileges related to travel expenses, as defined in Union agreements, do not supersede the regulations contained in the FTR.

0802 Revisions

See changelog.

0803 Definitions

Amended Value Sale – If the employee is authorized to participate in the Appraised Value Offer Program and finds a qualified buyer for his or her home, the relocation services contractor will purchase the home from the employee for the negotiated sale price from the third-party buyer. The contractor will close the transaction with the buyer and pay the applicable reasonable and customary seller’s closing costs (inclusive of the real estate commission).

Appraised Value Offer Program (AVO) – Homesale program in which a contractor will make the employee an offer based on relocation appraisals. The employee has 60 calendar days after contractor notification of the appraised value offer to accept or decline the contractor’s offer if no third-party offer is received from an outside buyer. The employee must meet mandatory marketing and inspection requirements to accept the appraised value offer. This program was formerly referred to as the Guaranteed Home Buyout Option Program.

Appointing Official – A Human Resources (HR) representative, or his/her designee, who has the authority to sign the VA Form 3918, Intra-Agency Transfer Request, Part 1.

Approving Official (AO) – A manager, or his or her designee, with the authority to approve or direct travel for official Government business.

Buyer Value Option Program (BVO) – Homesale program in which a relocation appraisal is not completed, nor is an appraised value offer provided. Efforts are concentrated on a contractor providing ongoing marketing assistance to help employees receive a third-party offer from an outside buyer. When a bona fide buyer is found, the contractor purchases the home from the employee for the third-party sale price. The contractor then closes the sale with the buyer, paying the applicable reasonable and customary seller’s closing costs (inclusive of the real estate commission).

Commuted Rate – A price rate used to calculate a set amount to be paid to an employee for the transportation and temporary storage of his/her household goods (HHG) (FTR § 300-3.1). It includes the cost of line-haul transportation, packing/unpacking, crating/uncrating, drayage (hauling and related fees incident to moving the HHG) incident to transportation and other accessorial charges and costs of temporary storage within the applicable weight limit for storage including handling in/out charges and necessary drayage.

Direct Reimbursement for Sale of Residence at Departure Duty Station – Reimbursement for reasonable and customary seller’s closing costs in accordance with the regulation of up to a maximum of 10 percent of the actual sale price of the employee’s property.

Immediate FamilyAny of the following named members of the employee’s household at the time he or she reports for duty at the new permanent duty station or performs other authorized travel involving family members: Spouse; Domestic Partner; Children of the Employee; Dependent Parents of the Employee; and Dependent Brothers and Sisters of the Employee. Reference FTR § 300-3.1 definition of “Immediate Family”, “Spouse”, “Domestic Partner”, and “Marriage”, for more specific guidance on each named member.

Note: “Immediate Family” definition is based on current FTR § 300-3.1. If the definition in the FTR is updated, the VA definition will default to the FTR.

Relocation Service Company (RSC) – A third–party supplier under contract with an agency to assist a transferred employee in relocating to the new official station. Services may include: Homesale programs, home inspection, home marketing assistance, home finding assistance, property management services, shipment and storage of household goods (HHG), voucher review and payment, relocation counseling, and similar items.

Special Properties – Eligible properties are determined by the contractor and VA to be especially difficult to sell or where the property value is especially difficult to determine, in accordance with the relocation services contract. VA is required to pay a higher fee to the contractor for special handling fees.

Tour Renewal Agreement Travel – Overseas tour renewal travel refers to the travel of the employee and his or her immediate family members returning to their home in the Continental United States (CONUS) (FTR § 300-3.1), Alaska, or Hawaii between overseas tours of duty.

0804 Roles and Responsibilities

Secretary of Veterans Affairs (SECVA) or designee, is responsible for approving Homesale Program listing extension requests beyond the required 90-day period, for all eligible SES and SES Equivalent Title 38 employees (Reference Section 080503.08).

Deputy Secretary Under Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, and Other Key Officials have been delegated from the SECVA the authority to authorize and approve travel actions in accordance with Appendix E: Delegation of Authority Table.

Assistant Secretary for Management, and Chief Financial Officer (ASM/CFO) is responsible for establishing financial policy inclusive of travel, systems, and operating procedures for all VA financial entities.

Human Resources Administration (HRA) is responsible for establishing policy guidelines to determine who may authorize PCS, TCS, and the discretionary AVO allowance as being in the best interest of the government for all non-SES, and for SES, and SES Equivalent Title 38 positions.

Hiring Officials are responsible for:

  1. Ensuring all PCS relocation allowances, and AVO when applicable, are authorized in accordance with:
    1. HRA’s, Office Of The Chief Human Capital Officer OCHO Bulletin, February 17, 2023.
    2. VA Directive 5005, Staffing for all non-SES positions; or
    3. VA Directive 5027, Senior Executive Service Handbook for all SES and SES Equivalent, Title 38 positions.
  2. Providing all approval documentation to their respective HR staff office when initiating all recruitment efforts.
  3. Ensuring funds are available for all authorized PCS and TCS allowance expenses.
  4. Providing all re-delegated approval memorandums to the FSC PCS Travel Division by email (vafsc.pcstravelportalinquiry@va.gov), promptly for the travel authorization to be approved. Delays in approval of a travel authorization may result in delaying the employee’s reporting date.

Servicing Human Resource (HR) Office for the gaining station’s or a staff office’s Servicing HR office are responsible for:

  1. Verifying the required approval level for PCS relocation allowances and AVO when authorized, is obtained from the hiring manager before commencing all recruitment actions in accordance with:
    1. HRA’s, Office of The Chief Human Capital Officer OCHO Bulletin, February 17, 2023.
    2. VA Directive 5005, Staffing for all non-SES positions; or
    3. VA Directive 5027, Senior Executive Service Handbook for all SES and SES Equivalent, Title 38 positions.
  2. Attaching the approval documentation, referenced in paragraph A. above, in the selected employee’s folder in the PCS Travel Portal in order for the FSC PCS Travel Division to process the VA Form 3918, Intra-Agency Transfer Request when it is submitted. The FSC PCS Travel Division will not process the PCS relocation if the required approval document is not present; nor will the employee be enrolled in AVO without a signed authorization by the appropriate official, as specified in paragraph A, above. The absence of valid authorization documents in the employee’s PCS Travel Portal folder may delay the employee’s ability to relocate, resulting in the HR office changing the Reporting Date.
  3. Initiating and submitting a completed VA Form 3918 in the PCS Travel Portal in accordance with Appendix B, Permanent Change of Station Travel Portal.

Financial Service Center (FSC) PCS Travel Division is responsible for:

  1. Ensuring HR has attached a PDF of the following authorizing documents before processing the VA Form 3918:
    • For PCS, a document must be present evidencing a signature by an official who has been properly delegated the authority to authorize relocation allowances for the position. If the PCS relocation approval document is not attached, the FSC will notify HR the relocation will not be processed until the documentation is attached; and
    • The absence of valid authorization documents in the employee’s PCS Travel Portal folder may delay the employee’s ability to relocate, resulting in a change required to the Report Date.
  2. Ensuring enrollment in AVO, first requires authorization of PCS allowances, and requires AVO approval (reference Section 080405). The absence of a properly signed AVO memorandum will limit the selected candidate’s real estate options to Direct Reimbursement or BVO, unless the required AVO approval documentation is subsequently provided.
  3. Ensuring AOs approving discretionary allowances in the PCS Travel Portal for each VA Form 3918, Intra-Agency Transfer Request submitted have the delegated authority or a written re-delegation of authority has been received.
  4. Providing PCS Allowance Counseling to relocating employees.
  5. Preparing the relocating employee’s travel authorization (TA) (FTR § 300-3.1) in accordance with Appendix B, Permanent Change of Station Travel Portal.
  6. Assisting travelers in completing PCS travel vouchers for reimbursement, and auditing and reimbursing PCS travel vouchers in accordance with FTR, U.S. General Services Administration decisions, General Accountability Office Comptroller General decisions, and this chapter.
  7. Initiating the Home Marketing Incentive Award, only for eligible employees in accordance with Section 080503.09.
  8. Administering VA’s PCS relocation services contract including contract negotiation; Contracting Officer Representative (COR) oversight of the contract to ensure compliance by the provider; provide COR monitoring of contract performance and compliance; process homesale initiations to the relocation service provider; and notify contractor to schedule shipment and storage of HHG.
  9. Performing an annual review of historical data related to VA’s Homesale Program (Section 080503.10).
  10. Performing Relocation Income Tax Allowance (RITA) calculations and reimbursing Withholding Tax Allowance to travelers. Submitting data to the payroll system of record and report tax data to the Internal Revenue Service and other tax authorities. Notifying employees of annual deadline for filing their RITA Claim and Statement of Income and Tax Filing Status form.
  11. Processing bills of collection to travelers, as necessary, performing obligation reviews to ensure funds are liquidated timely, and certifying contractor invoices for payment.

Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction (OALC) is responsible for the transportation Memorandum of Understanding with a Relocation Services Company includes the requirement to use international shipping companies in compliance with Section 080505.01A, in this chapter, and require pre-payment audits to be completed through and in compliance with the General Services Administration (GSA).

Travel Approving Officials (AO) AOs authorized to approve relocation discretionary allowances other than AVO are responsible for:

  1. Being knowledgeable and consistent with the FTR (41 C.F.R. Chapters 301-304), and Volume XIV Travel, ensuring all relocation travel is authorized in the most economical and effective manner in advance of expenses being incurred, and only authorized for employees under their jurisdiction.
  2. Ensuring adequate funds are available before authorizing travel and completing all AO actions in the PCS Travel Portal, in accordance with Appendix B, Permanent Change of Station Travel Portal.
  3. Ensuring travelers under their jurisdiction complete VA Form 10091, VA-FSC Vendor File Request Form in order to receive travel reimbursement electronically.
  4. Examining travel vouchers within 3 days of receipt to ensure claimed travel expenses do not include expenses unrelated to official travel, or are in excess of the officially authorized amounts, prior to approving reimbursement. Ensuring justifications, supporting documentation, and paid-in-full receipts are attached.

Travelers are responsible for:

  1. Completing all actions required in the PCS Travel Portal in accordance with Section 080501.06, and Appendix B, Permanent Change of Station Travel Portal. Submitting travel vouchers in accordance with Section 080501.11.
  2. Complying with FTR, Volume XIV, Travel policy, and the FSC PCS Travel Counselor guidance provided, relating to relocation travel expenses, extension requests, and reimbursement. Participating in homesale counseling provided by the Relocation Service Company (RSC) when BVO is elected or AVO is authorized.
  3. Minimizing costs of official travel by exercising the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business and expending personal funds.
  4. Ensuring their travel authorization is approved prior to incurring any expenses related to the relocation, (i.e., househunting (HH) travel, sale or purchase of residence, etc.). Travel expenses may not be reimbursed if travel expenses occur before final travel authorization.
  5. En route travel or temporary quarters subsistence expenses (TQSE), obtaining when possible, exemptions of tax imposed on hotel accommodations for locations listed in the General Services Administration (GSA) GSA SmartPay State Tax Information website by providing any required documentation (reference FTR § 301-11.28, § 301-11.29).
  6. Complying with VA’s Travel Charge Card Program guidance contained in Volume XVI Chapter 2, Government Travel Charge Card Program, and as required in this chapter under Section 050501.10.

0805 Policies

080501 General Policy

  1. Relocation allowances for Federal civilian employees authorized to relocate at Government expense are covered in 41 Code of Federal Regulations, Chapters 300, 301 and 302).
  2. The authorization of permanent change of station (PCS) and temporary change of station (TCS) relocation allowances, entitlements, and the discretionary Appraised Value Offer Program (AVO), is governed by Human Resources Administration (HRA) policy. HRA’s, Office of The Chief Human Capital Officer (OCHO) Bulletin, February 17, 2023, established, “It is the responsibility of the VA “authorizing official” (e.g., the hiring manager) to approve PCS/relocation allowances for a recruitment action. The authorizing official should consider factors such as grade level, applicant availability, cost, and availability of funds when approving PCS/relocation allowances for a recruitment action.” HRA policy can be found in VA Directive 5005, Staffing for Non-SES positions, and VA Directive 5027, Senior Executive Service Handbook for SES, and SES Equivalent Title 38 positions.
  3. General and administrative policy are included in this section. PCS relocation allowance entitlements and the Appraised Value Offer Program (AVO), a discretionary allowance, must be authorized in advance of recruitment actions; and when authorized must be stated in all applicable job opportunity announcements or recruitment notices for the position. All recruitment Job Opportunity Announcements (JOAs) and notices must include a statement reimbursement of authorized relocation allowances is dependent upon eligibility of the selected candidate, subject to Federal Travel Regulations, Chapter 302 – Relocation Allowances (with a hyperlink to FTR 302 – Relocation Allowances).

080501.01 Employee Eligibility Requirements

  1. VA will determine relocation eligibility based on existing regulatory provisions in effect at the time an employee reports to the new official duty station.
  2. The following relocating employees are generally eligible for relocation expense allowances (FTR § 302-1.1):
    1. An employee newly appointed to his or her first official duty station;
    2.  An employee transferring in the interest of the Government from one agency or official duty station to another for permanent duty, and the commuting distance between the new official duty station and permanent residence has increased by 50-miles or greater from the old official duty station and the permanent residence (reference FTR § 302-2.6);
    3. An employee performing travel in accordance with an overseas tour renewal agreement (reference FTR §§ 302-3.209 – 302-3.224);
    4. An employee returning to his or her place of residence after completing a prescribed tour of duty for the purposes of separation from Government service or separation from the overseas assignment for reassignment to the same or different Government agency, which may or may not include PCS relocation benefits;
    5. A student trainee assigned to any position upon completion of college work;
    6. Assignment under 5 U.S.C. § 4109, Government Employees Training Act (GETA);
    7. A career appointee to the SES, as defined in 5 U.S.C. § 3132(a)(4), and a prior SES appointee who is returning to his or her official residence for separation and who will be retaining SES retirement benefits; or
    8. An employee who is being assigned to a TDY station in connection with a TCS assignment lasting longer than 6 months but less than 30 months.
  3. VA will adhere to the distance requirements for relocation expense entitlement guidelines found in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Publication 521, Moving Expenses for the applicable tax year (FTR § 302-2.6(a)).
  4. In accordance with FTR § 302-2.6, the distance test is met when the new official duty station is at least 50-miles further from the employee’s current residence than the old official duty station is from the same residence. For example, if the old official duty station is 3 miles from the current residence, then the new official duty station must be at least 53 miles from that same residence in order to receive relocation expenses for residence transactions.
  5. VA will not reimburse employees for relocation expenses if the employee does not meet the IRS distance test. However, under extenuating circumstances, the travel AO may submit a request for a waiver of the 50-mile distance requirement for approval (FTR § 302-2.6(b)). Travel AOs are cautioned before submitting a waiver request for approval, and to carefully weigh the justification for the waiver against the appearance of impropriety to the public when the distance between the old and new duty station is also less than 50-miles. Reference Section 080501.09 for guidance on submitting waiver requests for approval.
  6. Virtual employees who are transferred to another VA station but will continue to work virtually will not be authorized for a PCS move.
  7. Some relocation allowances have specific eligibility requirements, which are identified in the respective policy sub-sections of Section 0805 in this chapter, for example Section 080503, Residence Transaction Allowances. Employees relocating should reference the subsection for each allowance they anticipate receiving to ensure they will meet any specific eligibility requirements. Only allowances authorized on an employee’s TA will be reimbursed.

080501.02 Employee Allowances for Relocation

  1. For the purpose of this policy, the context of the term “employee” refers to:
    1. New appointees (reference FTR Subpart A – New Appointee for allowances); or
    2. Transferred employees (reference FTR Subpart B – Transferred Employee under the applicable Table for allowances).
  2. VA may grant the following allowances, as specified in the applicable FTR Subparts A and B when an employee is both authorized and eligible:
    1. Entitlements. VA will pay or reimburse employees for these relocation allowances; and
    2. Discretionary Allowances. VA has discretionary authority to pay or reimburse employees these allowances, when authorized by the delegated AO.
  3. Relocation allowances for a political appointee is determined based on their status as a new employee (new appointee) or current employee (transferred employee) at the time of their appointment.
  4. When an employee is authorized a relocation allowance in addition to the requirements in Section 080501.01, they must also meet any eligibility requirements specific to an allowance.
  5. Refer to Appendix C, Relocation General Entitlements and Discretionary Allowances, for additional information on relocation allowances.

080501.03 Use of Relocation Services Company (RSC)

  1. VA has vested the employee with the option to elect the Buyer Value Option Program (BVO) instead of the mandatory entitlement of Direct Reimbursement. Appendix D, Relocation Services Contract, provides additional information regarding the Relocation Services Program. All employees who elect BVO or are authorized for AVO, are required to participate in homesale counseling provided by the Relocation Services contractor and must not list their homes until their travel authorization is approved (FTR § 302-12.109). Within one business day of receiving a completed VA Form 3918, an FSC PCS Travel Counselor will contact the employee to schedule their PCS Allowance Counseling meeting.
  2. The FSC PCS Travel Division will not conduct counseling sessions while an employee is driving a vehicle for safety reasons and in accordance with Executive Order dated October 1, 2009: Federal employees shall not engage in text messaging (a) when driving a government owned vehicle, a privately owned vehicle, or rental car while on official Government business or (b) when using electronic equipment supplied by the Government while driving (refer to Volume XIV, Chapter 3, Transportation Expenses).

080501.04 Employee’s Effective Reporting Date

  1. VA requires the reporting date to be the date on which the employee physically reports for duty at the new or first official duty station. This date will be specified on the VA Form 3918, Intra-Agency Transfer Request. The “reporting date” will be the first day of the one-year time limit allowed to complete all authorized relocation activities and incurred related expenses (FTR Subpart A – Time Limits). The effective transfer or appointment date will not always coincide with the reporting date. For example, the effective transfer or appointment date at the official duty station may be Sunday, March 1, 20XX, yet the physical reporting date may be Monday, March 2, 20XX.
  2. All employees, virtual or non-virtual, accepting positions requiring them to relocate to new duty stations, must physically report to their new official duty stations on the reporting date. The reporting date assigned must be no later than 90 days from the tentative notification date of the appointment, or for positions requiring credentialing, no later than 90 days from the date the credentialing is signed by the field facility Director. The receiving station’s supervisor may authorize transferring employees to remain as temporary virtual employees up to 90 days due to documented verifiable delays related to the sale or purchase of their residences at their current official duty stations or due to delays related to family situations (e.g., school, work, or illness).
  3. A request to waive the 90-day reporting requirement in order to extend the reporting date beyond 90 days requires specific approval. Reference paragraph Section 080501.09 for guidance on submitting waiver requests for approval.
  4. When an employee is on TDY at a prospective new official duty station and he or she accepts the position, refer to Volume XIV, Chapter 2, Travel Per Diem, to determine how to calculate per diem.

080501.05 Service Agreement (SA)

  1. An SA is a written agreement between the employee and the VA, signed by the employee, stating that the employee will remain in the service of the Federal Government for a specified period of time (FTR § 302-2.13). An SA must be executed on VA Form 3918, Intra-Agency Transfer Request prior to the beginning of any PCS relocation travel. VA will not pay a relocation allowance to any employee who has not signed an agency SA (FTR § 302-3.503), except in the case of an SES employee who is authorized for “last move home” benefits or for TCS. FTR § 302-2.14 identifies the types of relocation travel requiring an SA.
  2. The SA will consist of:
    1. Employee Name, including additional employee data as reflected in VA Form 3918;
    2. Releasing Official Duty Station with location (city and state) or departure home (city and state) if a new appointee;
    3. Receiving Official Duty Station with location (city and state);
    4. Duration: SAs require a minimum period of service with the Federal Government for Continental United States (CONUS), Outside of Continental United States (OCONUS), and renewal agreement travel. Reference FTR § 302-2.14 for minimum periods required. VA requires a 36-month service agreement be signed commencing with the effective date of transfer or reassignment for SES and SES Equivalent Title 38 positions authorized AVO;
    5.  For OCONUS assignments, the tour agreement, VA Form 3918, SA, and travel authorization should all be consistent in the duration length.
    6. Duplicate Reimbursement Disclosure Statement;[1]
    7. Signature of employee; and
    1. Date of execution.
  3. Violation of an SA, other than for reasons beyond an employee’s control, and approved in accordance with Appendix E, Delegation of Authority Table, will require an employee to reimburse the Government for all costs reimbursed by the employee’s agency, including the Withholding Tax Allowance (WTA) and Relocation Income Tax Allowance (RITA).
    1. A new SA cannot void an existing SA that is already in effect. While a relocation allowance SA is transferable within the Federal Government, the relocation allowance is specific to the receiving agency. Each SA is in effect for the period specified in the agreement.
    2. The employee must notify the transferring agency of the timeframes remaining on any previous and or current SA. The subsequent agency has the ultimate responsibility for recording the timeframe requirements associated with the employee’s prior SA.
    3. The employee relocating to an OCONUS location is required to provide the VA HR point of contact with his or her actual stateside place of residence immediately upon notification of the assignment. This information must be documented in the SA.

[1] The duplicate reimbursement disclosure states the employee, and their immediate family has not accepted, and will not accept, duplicate reimbursement for relocation expenses. Refer to FTR § 302-2.21 and FTR § 302-2.22 for additional information.

080501.06 VA Form 3918, Intra-Agency Transfer Request

  1. VA Form 3918 initiates the relocation request to the PCS Travel Division for processing. The completed form is required to be submitted within two business days from the date the candidate accepts the tentative notification of appointment offer, or for positions requiring credentialing, from the date the credentialing is signed by the field facility Director. Reference Appendix B, Permanent Change of Station Travel Portal for specific procedures on processing VA Form 3918.
  2. Prior to submitting VA Form 3918, the gaining station’s or staff office’s servicing HR office is required to attach a PDF of all relocation allowance approval documentation for PCS, and AVO when authorized, in the selected candidate’s PCS Travel Portal folder. The FSC PCS Travel Division will ensure the authorizing documents for PCS allowances, and AVO when applicable, have been attached before processing the VA Form 3918. The absence of an authorizing document may delay the employee’s ability to relocate, resulting in a change required to the Report Date. Absence of a signed AVO memorandum will limit the selected candidate’s real estate options to Direct Reimbursement or BVO, unless the required AVO approval documentation is subsequently provided.
  3. Appendix E, Delegation of Authority Table, identifies the officials delegated the authority to approve PCS and TCS, relocation allowance discretionary expenses, and other actions. When approval functions are re-delegated to another position, the re-delegation memorandum must be provided by email to the FSC PCS Travel Division at vafsc.pcstravelportalinquiry@va.gov before submitting VA Form 3918.

080501.07 Travel Authorization (TA)

  1. Relocation expenses may not be incurred until the employee has an approved electronic TA (Form 3036) by the designated travel AO (FTR § 302-2.1). Appendix B, Permanent Change of Station Travel Portal, identifies the required actions for a TA by the servicing HR staff offices, AOs, employees, and the FSC PCS Travel Division. Once VA Form 3918, Intra-Agency Transfer Request is submitted, each action is required to be completed within one business day. Completing these actions in the required time frame will ensure the travel authorization is completed prior to the report date. In the event a travel authorization is not approved in advance of the report date, the AO must contact HR to initiate a change in the report date, which cannot exceed 90 days beyond the original notification date. Reference Section 080501.04, for specific information on the 90-day reporting requirement.
  2. The travel authorization will include, but is not limited to:
    1. Mandatory entitlements for which the employee is eligible;
    2. Authorized discretionary allowances; and
    3. Advance of Funds.
      Note: Travel advances requested on an SF 1038 – Advance of Funds Application and Account, can only be authorized if an employee is exempt from the use of a Government Travel Charge Card. An approved SF 1038 must be attached in the employee’s folder in the PCS Travel Portal. Appendix F, Advance of Funds, provides information on relocation allowances that are eligible for travel fund advances.
  3. Relocation allowances are subject to Relocation Withholding and Income Tax Withholding allowances. Reference Section 080509 for specific guidance.

080501.08 Time Limits and Extensions

  1. Time Limit. Employees must complete all aspects of their relocations within one year of their reporting date. However, AOs will allow the following exceptions cited in FTR § 302-2.10 and FTR § 302-2.11. In these two exceptions, the one-year period is exclusive of time spent on active military service and the time lost due to shipping restrictions.
  2. Extensions. An extension to incur all relocation expenses may be granted up to one additional year if the employee submits an extension request to their AO no later than 30 calendar days after the expiration date of the initial one-year period (FTR § 302-11.22 and FTR § 302-11.23) The AO may authorize an extension beyond the initial one-year, on a case-by-case basis, if an employee can demonstrate they are actively marketing their home, experienced delays related to the sale or purchase of their residence at the official duty stations, or delays due to family situations such as school, work, or illness (FTR § 302-11.421(a)). Any request submitted after the 30-day time limit requires an approval waiver request of the 30-day time limit (FTR § 302-11.23). Reference Section 080501.09 for guidance on submitting waiver requests for approval.
  3. When an extension is authorized, the total relocation timeframe cannot exceed two years from the reporting date. The AO must verify an approved waiver and all supporting documentation are uploaded into the employee’s folder in the PCS Travel Portal, prior to approving the amended travel authorization.

080501.09 Waiver Requests

  1. The delegated approval level required to waive the FTR 50-mile distance test requirement, VA’s 90-day reporting requirement, and the 30-day time limit for submitting a one-year extension request for completing all relocation transactions can be referenced in Appendix E, Delegation of Authority Table. A memorandum substantiating a re-delegated authority must be provided to the FSC PCS Travel Division with the approved waiver request if not previously provided.
  2. All waiver requests must be submitted in the form of a memorandum including the applicable extenuating circumstances and attaching all relevant documentation, background materials, and any additional information as evidence to support the extenuating circumstances. Waiver requests will be submitted to the respective Administration or Staff Office in VA’s document processing system to obtain the required level of approval. The travel AO is required to verify the approved waiver memorandum and all supporting documentation is uploaded into the transferring employee’s folder in the PCS Travel Portal to meet the six-year record retention requirement, prior to approving the travel authorization.

080501.10 Use of Government Travel Charge Card for PCS and TCS Travel

  1. A relocating employee may use their Government Travel Charge Card for authorized househunting (HH) and en route travel expenses only.
  2. Prior to using their travel card for HH travel expenses, an employee must provide their current station’s Travel Card Agency/Organizational Program Coordinator (A/OPC) with a copy of their approved HH travel authorization.
  3. In advance of their en route travel, the relocating employee must coordinate and confirm with their losing and gaining station’s or staff office’s A/OPCs that their travel card has been transferred under their new duty station and their credit limit has been raised to the contracted bank designated amount. The employee is required to provide the gaining station’s or staff office’s A/OPC a copy of their approved en route travel authorization. Reference Volume XVI, Chapter 2, Government Travel Charge Card Program for guidance on appropriate use of the travel card and required receipts.
  4. An employee may only be issued a travel advance for HH and en route travel expenses if they do not have the use of a Government Travel Charge Card. Reference Appendix F, Advance of Funds, in this chapter.

080501.11 Travel Vouchers

Employees must submit a travel voucher (FTR § 300-3.1) within five business days after completion of each benefit (e.g., HH trip, en route travel, sale or purchase of residence) for official relocation travel. Any claim for reimbursement will be applied to outstanding travel advances, until reconciled. Temporary quarters subsistence expense (TQSE) claims should be filed in accordance with Section 080502.03. Attach or fax all supporting documents and certifications as outlined in this chapter into their folder in the PCS Travel Portal prior to submitting a travel voucher. Receipt requirements for sale or purchase of residence transactions are specified in FTR § 302-11.302. VA will only reimburse sale or purchase of residence transactions paid by the employee or a member of their immediate family (FTR § 302-11.303).

080501.12 Defrauding the Government

FTR § 302-2.7 identifies VA’s actions for any employee who attempts to defraud the government under any part of the relocation process.

080501.13 File Retention

VA will retain all relocation files for six years in accordance with the National Archive and Records Administration (NARA) guidelines, which set forth the governing provisions of file retention for executive agencies.

080502 Permanent Change of Station Allowances For Subsistence and Transportation Expenses

080502.01 Allowances for En Route Travel Subsistence and Transportation

  1. Per Diem.
    1. Employees will use the standard Continental United States (CONUS) per diem rates for en route relocation travel between the old and new official duty stations. Employees will be reimbursed in accordance with FTR § 302-4.100 and Volume XIV, Chapter 2, Travel Per Diem (see 4. below).
    2. Per diem reimbursement is based on the actual number of days used to complete the trip, not to exceed the established authorized travel days. When authorized POV, the number of authorized travel days will be based on an average minimum driving distance of 300 miles per calendar day. Travel is to be continuous via the authorized mode of travel, and the most direct usually traveled route. Per diem will not be paid unless the travel period to the new official duty station is 12 hours or more.
    3. VA will not authorize per diem for employees’ immediate family members if employees are:
      1. New appointees;
      2. Assigned to posts of duty OCONUS returning to places of their actual residence for separation; or
      3. Being relocated under GETA (allows per diem payment for employee only).
    4. In accordance with  FTR PART 302–4,Subpart C – Per Diem, eligible family members will be authorized the following per diem amounts for en route relocation travel within CONUS:
      • A spouse or domestic partner who is accompanied by employee will receive 75 percent of employee’s daily rate (FTR 302-4.203);
      • A spouse or domestic partner who travels separately (not accompanied by employee) will receive the same rate as an employee (FTR 302-4.204);
      • A family member 12 years or older will receive 75 percent of employee’s daily rate (FTR 302-4.206); and
      • Children under 12 years will receive 50 percent of employee’s daily rate (FTR 302-4.206).
    5. A spouse or domestic partner for per diem purposes, is considered to be “accompanied by an employee”, when traveling on the same day(s) along the same general route, even if the two parties are driving separate POVs (FTR 302-4.205).
  2. Transportation.
    1. The mode of transportation will be authorized as determined necessary for the en route travel, in accordance with the TDY rules in FTR § 301-10 Transportation Expenses (FTR § 302-4.100).
    2. POV mileage is determined based on the actual place of origin. For new employees, the place of residence at origin to the new official duty station will be utilized in determining mileage. For transferring employees, the old and new official duty stations will be utilized. Acceptable evidence for POV ground mileage will include odometer readings of actual and necessary distance traveled for conducting official business. A comparison of actual mileage will be made against the number of miles calculated using MapQuest® used by VA as the principal standard for determining approved reimbursement. Other similar standards (e.g., Rand McNally, Yahoo) may be used if data is not available in Mapquest.com®. When the deviation exceeds 5 percent between the actual and standard (rounded up to the nearest mile), justification must be provided to the authorizing official. VA may consider exceptions (FTR § 302-4.401) for extreme circumstances involving:
      1. Delays beyond the employees’ control (e.g., illness en route, road construction, vehicle repairs);
      2. Delays due to an act of God;
      3. Restrictions by Government officials; or
      4. Employees who have been certified as being physically handicapped.
    3. VA will allow reimbursement to employees for the driving of more than one POV if the AO determines it is advantageous to the Government. Authorization for one additional POV for the employee’s immediate family may be reimbursed if approved for separate travel, or if justified for driving at the same time due to the number of immediate family members and necessary luggage causing one POV not to suffice. The use of more than one POV must be requested by the employee and authorized in writing by the AO. Appendix G, Privately-Owned Vehicle Mileage Rates, provides information on rates.

080502.02 Allowances for Househunting (HH) Trip Expenses (Discretionary)

  1. HH can only be incurred by the employee and/or spouse to seek a permanent residence, if authorized. New appointees and employees assigned under the Government Employees Training Act (5 U.S.C. 4109) are not eligible for a HH allowance (FTR § 302-5.4). Reference FTR Subpart A—Employee’s Allowance for Househunting Trip Expenses, for further guidance.
  2. VA may authorize HH to expedite the process of finding a permanent residence. The duration authorized for HH must be reduced from the duration authorized for Temporary Quarters Subsistence Expense (TQSE). The criteria are:
    1. Employee’s old and new official duty stations are located within the United States, including OCONUS non-foreign locations;
    2. Employee’s old and new official duty stations are 75 or more miles apart. Distance must be measured by map distance and travel must be by a usually traveled surface route; and
    3. Employee is not assigned to Government or other prearranged housing at their new official duty station.
  3. Refer to Appendix E, Delegation of Authority Table for approval level required.
  4. VA will only authorize one round trip for an employee and his or her spouse in connection with a specific transfer. If an employee and spouse travel separately for a HH trip, reimbursement will be limited to the cost that would have been incurred if the employee and spouse had traveled together as one round trip.
  5. VA may authorize up to 10 calendar days, which includes the trip duration in the travel authorization. Employees may begin travel as soon as their travel authorization is approved for a HH trip.
  6. During the PCS Allowance Counseling session on HH, the employee is provided the opportunity to request the type of TQSE they will receive via a Discretionary Request Form submitted to the AO. AOs will make the determination whether the per diem or lump sum method is offered to the employee for HH. In the event the AO offers the lump sum option, the employee must make their final election of either per diem or lump sum method.
  7. In accordance with FTR § 302-5.13, VA may reimburse (discretionary expense) eligible employees a HH trip per diem and transportation allowances as follows:
    1. Transportation expenses based on the actual costs incurred by employee and or spouse.
    2. A per diem subsistence expense allowance for an employee and or a spouse based on one of the following:
      • At the standard CONUS rate (see GSA Per Diem Rates) for the employee and or spouse if you travel separately, or if you both travel together, the standard CONUS rate multiplied by 1.75), for the 10 days or less that your agency authorizes for you; or
      • When offered by VA, and chosen by the employee, a Lump Sum, as follows:
        • If you perform an HH trip and your spouse does not, or if your spouse performs an HH trip and you do not, multiply the applicable locality per diem rate by 5.00 (see GSA Per Diem Rates); or
        • If you and your spouse both perform an HH trip together or separately, multiply the applicable locality per diem rate by 6.25 (see GSA Per Diem Rates).
  8. Transportation Mode(s). VA will authorize employees to travel by the transportation mode(s) determined to be most advantageous to the Government. Reimbursement will be paid based on the authorized mode(s). A cost comparison must be prepared to determine the costs for alternative modes of transportation unless authorized to use a specific mode of transportation for medical reasons. For trips less than 250-miles, VA considers POV to be most advantageous method of transportation unless there are reasons for not using a POV that are acceptable to the AO (e.g.,traveler is physically impaired, does not own or lease a POV, has only one POV that is used for family transportation, or the POV is not roadworthy for such a trip).

080502.03 Allowances for TQSE

  1. Temporary quarters (TQ) refers to lodging obtained for the purpose of temporary occupancy from a private or commercial source. TQSE is a discretionary allowance intended to reimburse employees for some of the costs incurred for meals, lodging, and other necessities while occupying temporary quarters, when it is determined to be in the best interest of the government. Temporary quarters may be authorized at the old and new duty station in accordance with FTR § 302-6.10. New appointees, employees assigned under GETA, or employees returning from an overseas assignment for the purposes of separation are not eligible for TQSE (FTR § 302-6.5).
  2. An AO may authorize the TQSE allowance only when it will minimize or avoid other relocation expenses such as prolonged temporary storage (FTR § 300-3.1) of household goods (HHG). A determination must be made on the number of days TQSE will be authorized, and the number of days should be limited to only a necessary period of time (FTR § 302-6.3), subject to time limitations, until the employee and or their immediate family can secure and occupy permanent residence quarters. TQSE for the employee and his or her immediate family member is contingent upon establishing occupancy of the temporary quarters. TQSE does not include transportation expenses, such as rental car reimbursement.
  3. VA will not authorize TQSE if the distance between the old and new official duty stations is less than 50-miles (FTR § 302-6.4). Factors used to determine whether quarters are temporary include:
    1. Duration of the lease (see note below);
    2. Movement of HHG into the quarters;
    3. Type of quarters;
    4. Attempts to secure a permanent dwelling; and
    5. Length of time the employee occupies the quarters.
      Note: TQ leases signed for more than 6 months when employees do not have a contract to purchase a permanent residence after the 6 month lease, will be considered by VA to be permanent housing. Authorization for temporary quarters ceases when the employee takes full delivery of their HHG regardless of the duration of a lease.
  4. If an employee has already entered temporary quarters or incurred TQSE expenses, only the AE method can be authorized and effective the date it is approved. Once an employee elects LS, the decision is final and cannot be changed. The AO may authorize the reimbursement option of LS only if they determine it is more advantageous to the government than AE. Reimbursement of TQSE will commence based on the date authorized by the delegated AO to occupy temporary quarters. TQSE must be authorized in advance of occupancy and may not be approved retroactively. Any days the employee occupies temporary quarters prior to approval will not be authorized. Appendix H, Temporary Quarters Subsistence Allowances, provides the per diem rates used for calculation.
    1. TQSE AE. AOs may authorize AE for a limited time period. VA may authorize reimbursement of AE for a period up to midnight of the day prior to occupying permanent quarters, but no later than midnight of the third business day after the closing date on a purchase of permanent quarters or lease effective date (FTR § 302-6.108). For example, when an employee completes closing on a home purchase or secures a rental for residency and occupies the residence on day 25 in a 30 day approved AE period, the last day TQSE will be reimbursed is day 24. If an employee does not occupy the secured residence on day 25 of a 30 day approved AE period, reimbursement of AE will end no later than midnight of the third business day from the date the residence was secured.

      VA AOs will not authorize reimbursement of AE beyond the established authorized period for the employee to remain in temporary quarters for the purpose of renovations, delays in furniture or HHG delivery within the employee’s control, or for any other reason resulting out of personal preference (FTR § 302-6.7).

      An AO may authorize AE in increments of 30 days or less, as he or she determines the number of days necessary for a permanent residence to be secured, but not to exceed 60 consecutive days initially. An AO may extend authorization of TQSE beyond 60 days, up to an additional consecutive 60 days (FTR § 302-6.104), if one of the compelling reasons identified in FTR § 302-6.105 applies.

      All AE extension requests must be submitted in a timely manner in order to obtain extension approval prior to the expiration date of the originally authorized period. Under no circumstances will VA authorize AE reimbursement for more than a total of 120 consecutive days (FTR § 302-6.105).

      Reference Appendix H, Temporary Quarters Subsistence Allowances, for maximum daily AE reimbursement guidance.

    2. TQSE LS. The employee is required to certify he or she, and the number of immediate family members that will occupy temporary quarters when requesting LS. When LS is requested, the AO is required to consider possible temporary duty travel the employee may be directed to perform while occupying temporary quarters, and if there are family members who will not be occupying the temporary quarters for the entire period. If authorized by the AO, LS will only be calculated based on the actual number of immediate family members that will occupy the temporary quarters. The AO must weigh the advantage to the VA when considering approval of LS over AE.

      LS may be authorized for the number of days determined necessary, up to a maximum of 30 days with no extensions under any circumstances. Requests for approval of LS cannot be authorized to include days when permanent quarters are known to be available. The AO will limit the number of days LS is authorized when the employee has secured a permanent residence in less than 30 days.

      LS will be based on the applicable official duty station’s locality rate in effect when the LS offer is accepted by the employee and is paid in a lump-sum payment. Refer to Appendix H, Temporary Quarters Subsistence Allowances, for the per diem rates used for calculation.

  5. Travel vouchers for TQSE will be submitted as follows:
    1. AE: An employee will submit travel voucher claim for TQSE in 30 day increments unless the employee’s total duration in temporary quarters is less than 30 days. If waiting the 30 day period to submit for reimbursement is a hardship, the employee can contact their FSC PCS Travel Counselor to request an advance (Appendix F, Advance of Funds). All expenses must be itemized, including meals. Expenses that do not accrue daily (e.g., laundry expenses, etc.) may be averaged over the number of days your agency authorizes AE. Receipts are only required for lodging and dry cleaning (not coin operated dry cleaning), regardless of amount, and for any individual meal or other individual expense when the cost exceeds $75. All other meal expenses do not require receipts (FTR § 301-11.306). VA will review the itemized expenses and receipts provided and exclude from the employee’s reimbursement any non-reimbursable expenses (e.g., alcohol, or entertainment expenses), making a notation of the exclusion on the itemized document or receipt for audit purposes.
    2. LS: Payment for LS will be issued to the employee in the form of a settlement, not an advance. The employee will complete a travel voucher requesting LS payment. VA will make the LS payment as close as is reasonably possible to the time that the employee will begin occupancy of the temporary quarters. Receipts or settlement travel vouchers are not required for LS payments. VA may at any time request proof that you actually occupied TQ, even if not for the full length of time on which the lump sum calculation was based. In the absence of sufficient proof of TQSE occupancy, VA may demand repayment of the TQSE lump sum payment in accordance with FTR § 302-6.305.

      Note: Taxes are withheld, and a RITA may be filed on this payment in the following year.

080503 Residence Transaction Allowances

080503.01 General Conditions and Limitations for Eligibility

  1. Service Agreement (SA). A SA must be in place to be eligible for all relocation allowances. Reference Section 080501.05 for specific guidance on SAs.
  2. Eligible Employees. Eligible employees include all VA employees and other Federal Government employees who join the VA without a break in service and who are transferring for the benefit of the Government, subject to FTR § 302-11.2 (eligible) and FTR § 302-11.4 (not eligible).
  3. Eligibility for Benefits for Sale of a Residence at the Departure Official Duty Station. To be eligible for benefits for sale of a residence at the departure official duty station on of the following must apply:
    1. The dwelling must be the employee’s actual residence from which he or she commuted to and from work at the time of official notification of transfer (FTR § 302-11.100);
    2. The employee or member of the Immediate Family must have acquired title interest in the dwelling, consistent with time requirements in FTR § 302-11.104; or
    3. One of the three FTR § 302-11.101 situations applies to the title of the residence (or the interest in a cooperatively owned dwelling on a pro rata basis).
  4. The VA will determine who holds title to the property based on FTR § 302-11.102. The employee must demonstrate “equitable title interest” on various types of title scenarios in accordance with FTR § 302-11.105.
  5. If the above title requirements are not fully met, the employee will be reimbursed on a pro rata basis to the extent of their verified title interest. Refer to FTR 302, Subpart B, Title Requirements, for additional information on eligibility for this benefit.
    NOTE:
    1. All land and buildings must be reasonably related to the residence site. Non-residential property is ineligible.
    2. For relocation services, additional eligibility requirements will be determined by the contractor in accordance with contract guidelines.

080503.02 Direct Reimbursement or Buyer Value Option Program (BVO)

An employee authorized sale and purchase residence transaction allowances has the option to select Direct Reimbursement or BVO for reimbursement. Direct Reimbursement is an entitlement, where BVO is a discretionary allowance option the VA has vested with the employee to elect under the Homesale Program. Employees are required to participate in homesale counseling provided by the RSC if BVO is elected.

080503.03 Direct Reimbursement of Real Estate Expenses

  1. Real Estate expenses for both the sale and purchase of a residence are mandatory entitlements for transferring employees. For direct reimbursement on the sale or purchase of primary residences at the departure and destination official duty stations, VA will reimburse expenses that are considered allowable in FTR § 302-11.200. Additional clarification on reimbursable FTR §302-11.200 expenses are provided:
    • The maximum rate for a broker’s fee or real estate commission is currently six percent of the sale price of your house;
    • Escrow settlement fee or agent’s fee for closing a real estate transaction;
    • Power of Attorney (trustee fee);
    • Release fee; and
    • Title insurance binder (in lieu of title search).
  2. Non-Reimbursable Expenses. VA will not reimburse employees for the expenses in connection with residence transactions listed in FTR § 302-11.202 including:
    • Cost of litigation;
    • Funding fees (e.g., VA funding fee); and
    • Down payments.
  3. Expired Leases.
    1. VA will reimburse employees for certain expenses associated with the settlement of an unexpired lease if the dwelling was the actual residence the employee commuted to and from work at the time he or she was officially notified of the transfer, and one of the following three situations applies to the lease agreement:
      1. The lease is solely in the employee’s name; or
      2. The lease is jointly in the employee’s name with one or more members of their immediate family; or
      3. The lease is solely in the name of one or more members of the employee’s immediate family.
        If the above title requirements are not met, the employee will be reimbursed on a pro rata basis.
    2. VA will reimburse expenses, including broker’s fees, for obtaining a sublease or charges for advertising an unexpired lease, when the following additional conditions are met:
      1. Terms of the lease provide payment of settlement expenses that cannot be avoided by sublease or other arrangement;
      2. Expenses were not incurred due to failure to give timely lease termination notice after the employee had definite knowledge of their transfer; and
      3. Broker’s fees or advertising charges are not in excess of those customarily charged for comparable services in the locality.
    3. Employees will submit a completed expense claim (travel voucher) in the PCS Travel Portal and itemize each expense associated with the settlement of the unexpired lease. In addition, receipts will be included for all expenses claimed showing paid in full. A copy of the signed lease agreement, letter notifying termination of lease, and document identifying any penalty for lease termination are also required. All required receipts and documents can either be faxed into or attached to the completed travel voucher. The expenses can be submitted as a lump sum payment or on a monthly basis depending on the terms of the lease settlement agreement with the rental agency.

080503.04 Direct Reimbursement for Sale of Residence at Departure Official Duty Station

  1. When an employee elects Direct Reimbursement, the employee may be eligible for reimbursement for reasonable and customary seller’s closing costs in accordance with FTR § 302-11.200(a), for up to a maximum of 10 percent of the actual sale price of his or her property. If the employee elects Direct Reimbursement for the sale of his or her residence, that decision is irrevocable. The employee cannot convert to AVO if originally offered, or BVO.
  2. The employee will attend closing (either in person or virtually), will pay out-of-pocket for closing costs, and will submit for reimbursement. Under this program, the employee must sell and close on the property within one (1) year of his or her effective reporting date unless granted an extension for up to one additional year. The Home Marketing Incentive (HMI) Award is not applicable under Direct Reimbursement.

080503.05 BVO for Sale of Residence at Departure Official Duty Station

  1. BVO is a discretionary allowance when relocation expenses have been authorized. Reimbursement of BVO is an employee vested option when authorized PCS, but is dependent upon the employee meeting eligibility requirements in Section 080503.01, and reimbursement must be in accordance with FTR Chapter 302 – Relocation Allowances and the policy in this chapter. If an employee elects BVO and subsequently decides to opt out of the program, they will be limited to Direct Reimbursement. Employees are required to participate in the BVO homesale counseling provided by the RSC. Refer to Appendix D, Relocation Services Contract, for information on BVO.
  2. All properties entering BVO must meet the terms of the current relocation services contract. Properties found ineligible will not be transacted through this contract. If found ineligible, the employee is limited to Direct Reimbursement.
  3. Employees must meet the time limit for listing their home for sale under Section 080503.08.

080503.06 Direct Reimbursement for Purchase of Residence at Destination Official Duty Station

To be eligible for reimbursement, employees must purchase and close on their property within one (1) year of his or her effective reporting date unless granted an extension for up to one additional year. The new home must be the home that the employee commutes to and from work on a daily basis in order to be authorized for reimbursement and meet title requirements specified under Section 080503.01C. If the title requirements are not met, the employee will be reimbursed on a pro rata basis. The employee will be reimbursed reasonable and customary buyer’s closing costs not to exceed 5 percent of the actual new home purchase price.

080503.07 Authorized AVO (Discretionary)

  1. When AVO has been authorized, participation in the program is dependent upon the employee meeting eligibility requirements in Section 080503.01, and reimbursement must be in accordance with FTR Chapter 302 – Relocation Allowances and the policy in this chapter. For a description of the features of AVO reference Appendix D, Relocation Services Contract.
  2. Employees not authorized, or authorized but ineligible for AVO, will be limited to reimbursement under Direct Reimbursement or BVO.
  3. Employees are required to participate in the AVO homesale counseling provided by the RSC.
  4. All properties entering AVO must meet the terms of the current relocation services contract. Properties found ineligible will not be transacted through this contract.
  5. Employees must meet the time limit for listing their home for sale under Section 080503.08.
  6. An employee approved for AVO must market his or her home for at least 60 days before accepting an appraised value offer.
  7. Reference Section 080503.09 below for guidance on the Home Marketing Incentive Program allowance.

080503.08 Sale of Residence Listing Requirement

VA employees enrolled in AVO and BVO must list their homes for sale within 90-days from the date of initiation with the relocation services contractor. Only SES and SES Equivalent Title 38 employees are eligible to seek an extension to the 90-day deadline. Employees must submit their extension requests of this listing requirement with adequate justification to the SECVA, or designee, for approval.

080503.09 Home Marketing Incentive Program (HMIP)

  1. The HMIP provides a cash incentive award of 2 percent of the selling price of their homes, not to exceed $8,000, to VA employees enrolled in AVO only and who have successfully found qualified buyers for their residences (referred to as the “amended sale”). Employees who sell their homes and are not enrolled in AVO are not eligible for HMIP. Employees enrolled in BVO and employees enrolled in AVO with homes considered Special Properties are not eligible for HMIP.
  2. Reference Appendix I, Home Marketing Incentive Program for further information.

080503.10  Review of Homesale Program

  1. The FSC will conduct an annual review of historical data related to VA’s Homesale Program prior to exercising any homesale contract options or procuring relocation services for new contract awards. The data analyzed will examine the number of employees who participated in each program, homesale transaction costs, and median homesale values.
  2. Contract requirements in the Statement of Work will be reviewed for cost avoidance and program efficiencies contributing to employees quickly achieving sales on their properties resulting in lower program costs. Throughout the contract year, the designated Contracting Officer Representative will monitor the contract for compliance and analyze all data related to the Homesale Program.

080504 Miscellaneous Expense Allowances

  1. VA will reimburse employees who have no immediate family member(s) a $650 flat amount, or if the expenses are itemized, an amount up to one week basic compensation, whichever is the lesser amount.
  2. VA will reimburse employees who have one or more immediate family member(s) a $1,300 flat amount, or if the expenses are itemized, an amount up to two weeks basic compensation, whichever is the lesser amount.
  3. When miscellaneous expenses exceed A or B above, supporting documentation of miscellaneous expenses must be attached in the PCS Travel Portal (FTR § 302-16.103). The maximum miscellaneous expense allowance authorized must not exceed the highest basic salary for a GS-13, step 10 provided in 5 U.S.C. 5332, at the time the employee reported for duty at his or her new official station.
  4. Refer to Appendix J, Miscellaneous Expense Allowance Guidelines, for additional information.

080505 Transportation and Storage of Property

080505.01 HHG Shipment

  1. Reference FTR § 300-3.1 for a definition of HHG. An employee may elect shipment by commercial carrier or self-shipment methods for the shipment of HHG within CONUS. Employees transferring to, from, and within OCONUS areas are required to use shipment of HHG by the commercial carrier method.
  2. Shipment by Commercial Carrier Method. Under this method, the FSC PCS Travel Counselor will initiate a Bill of Ladingwith VA’s contracted commercial carrier, who will contact the employee once the Bill of Ladinghas been received and processed. The commercial carrier will pack, ship, store, deliver, and unpack your goods in one lot. Under this method, VA will pay the commercial carrier directly and the employee will not incur any associated upfront costs. If the employee lives in a remote location that the commercial carrier is unable to access by truck, VA will pay the commercial carrier for additional costs incurred in order to reach the residence, as long as the 18,000-pound limit is not exceeded, and up to an additional 2,000 pounds if the additional weight was as a result of uncrated packing materials.
  3. VA will ensure the RSC utilized is a GSA qualified pre-payment auditor for VA household goods (HHG) shipments and conducts pre-payment audits prior to making payment to transportation providers. The RSC will send monthly pre-payment audit reports to GSA post audits, Washington, DC to ensure VA is following audit requirements.
  4. VA will ensure vendor contracts for international HHG shipping by water require the use of ships registered under the laws of the United States whenever such ships are available (The Cargo Preference Act of 1904, 10 U.S.C. 2631, and The Cargo Preference Act of 1954, 46 U.S.C. 55302).
  5. Self-Shipment Method. Under this method, employees will itemize the costs associated with moving their HHG on the travel voucher. If an employee elects to move his or her goods using this method, approval must be obtained from the Approving Official and documented on the travel authorization. Self-shipment reimbursement is limited to the actual cost incurred, not to exceed what the Government would have incurred under the method selected by VA (FTR § 302-7.16). Reimbursable costs under the self-shipment method may include the following items:
    • Truck rental (Expenses for other types of vehicles may be reimbursed when deemed appropriate to accomplish a smaller self-shipment move of HHG (e.g., SUV or trailer). Reimbursement will not exceed the reasonable constructive cost of a truck rental, and will be in accordance with self-shipment requirements in this chapter,
    • Fuel;
    • Packaging materials;
    • Toll charges;
    • Weight tickets; and
    • Insurance on HHG.
  6. Employees will not charge any expenses under the self-shipment method to their Government Travel Charge Card if the expenses are associated with moving their HHG. Instead, employees will prepare a claim for reimbursement for all expenses within the PCS Travel Portal. Employees will attach the following documents to their travel vouchers:
    • Weight certificates from the nearest weighing station before and after loading the vehicle. [Note: If hauling goods in multiple trips, before and after loading weight certificates must be provided for each trip. If there were two trips; then two separate certificates must be provided for both before loading and after loading. The same before and after loading certificate cannot be utilized for more than one trip. Reference paragraph C3 below for separate weight certificates required for professional items];
    • Copy of the travel authorization limiting the reimbursement of the self-shipment method to the cost of the shipment by the Commercial Carrier Method;
    • Inventory of goods being shipped; and
    • All associated paid-in-full receipts for which reimbursement is requested.

Refer to Appendix K, Items Allowed and Not Allowed To Be Shipped With Household Goods.

080505.02 Shipment of POVs Within CONUS

  1. AOs may authorize the shipment of a POV within CONUS (FTR § 300-3.1), a discretionary allowance not an entitlement. VA will generally limit the authorization to one POV per employee. Under extenuating circumstances, however, AOs may authorize one additional POV for shipment, when shipment is more cost effective to VA (FTR § 302-9.301). AOs will consider the following when authorizing the shipment of a POV:
    • The POV is in operating order and legally titled and tagged for driving; and
    • The distance the POV is to be shipped is greater than 600 miles.
  2. VA may authorize employees to transport only the number of POVs equal to the number of people on the relocation travel orders, who are licensed drivers, not to exceed two, while relocating within CONUS at Government expense.

080505.03 Shipping Professional Books, Papers, and Equipment (PBPE)

  1. VA may authorize shipment of PBPE if the weight will not exceed the maximum weight of 18,000 pounds. PBPE includes professional or specialized items owned by employees, but used to perform their jobs (e.g., periodicals, magazines, reference materials, specialized clothing, technician and mechanic tools or instruments). When authorized, shipping PBPE is considered an administrative cost to VA. However, for ease of administration in calculating this allowance, PBPE should be included as part of the HHG shipment, if possible.
  2. AOs will review, certify, and approve the shipment of these professional items. A written inventory of goods to be shipped will be reviewed by the employee’s new supervisor. The inventory of goods should be separated into the following three categories:
    • Professional Books;
    • Papers; and
    • Equipment.
  3. Items should generally be listed individually, but may be grouped if appropriate (e.g., encyclopedia set). For goods listed as a group, the employee will provide an estimate of the number of items contained in the group (e.g., encyclopedia set of 10 books). A justification will also be provided in support of the need for the goods included under each category. If items are deemed necessary and authorized for shipment, the commercial carrier will pack the professional items listed on the employee’s approved inventory separately from your HHG. The Bill of Lading will contain separate weight readings and costs associated with the employee’s professional items in order to be fully reimbursed as an administrative expense of the station or staff office separate from the relocation funds.

080505.04 Temporary Storage of HHG

  1. VA will provide up to 60 calendar days temporary storage (FTR § 300-3.1) of HHG for shipments within CONUS and up to 90 calendar days for shipments that include an OCONUS origin or destination. Storage of goods in excess of 30 calendar days is treated as taxable income to the employee and will be included as gross income.
  2. Employees may request to extend temporary storage of their goods beyond the applicable 60 or 90 day original period in 30 calendar day increments, but not to exceed a maximum of 90 additional calendar days (FTR § 302-7.9), by submitting a memorandum to their AOs and the FSC PCS Travel Counselor. All requests for extensions must be submitted prior to the expiration of the original applicable 60 or 90 day period. If the extension is approved, the authorization must be documented as an amendment to the travel authorization and the AO must verify the signed memorandum is uploaded into the transferring employee’s folder in the PCS Travel Portal before approving the amendment. Circumstances beyond the employee’s immediate control that could justify additional storage time may include those listed in FTR § 302-7.10.
  3. Under no circumstances may goods be stored in temporary storage for a period of more than 150 calendar days total (60 days initial authorization plus up to 90 days extended storage if authorized) for shipments from CONUS to CONUS locations, or more than 180 calendar days total (90 days initial authorization plus up to 90 days extension) for shipments that include OCONUS origin or destination.

080505.05 Extended Storage of HHG

  1. AOs may approve a period necessary for extended storage (refer to FTR § 300-3.1 for definition of extended storage), not to exceed 90 days beyond the initial temporary storage 60 days period, under the following documented circumstances if the extensions apply to the employee’s transfer (FTR § 302-8.102).
    1. Employee is assigned to an isolated official duty station within CONUS; or
    2. Employee is assigned to an OCONUS official duty station and VA determines extended storage is cost effective; or
    3. Employee is assigned to an overseas location where VA limits the amount of HHG the employee may transport to that location; or
    4. It is necessary for a TCS.
  2. Extended storage of HHG is not permitted for a career SES employee eligible for last move home benefits. The AO will verify the supporting documentation is uploaded to the transferring employee’s folder in the PCS Travel Portal before approving the extension.
  3. An official duty station must meet one of the following two criteria to be classified as an isolated station:
    1. The quarters to be occupied at the new official duty station will not accommodate the HHG; or
    2. Quarters that would accommodate the HHG are not available within 50-miles of the new official duty station.
  4. VA will provide extended storage at either of the following, as determined by the RSC vendor:
    1. Available Government-owned storage space; or
    2. Suitable commercial storage space if:
      1. Government-owned space is not available; or
      2. Commercial storage space is more economical or suitable because of location, transportation costs, or for other reasons.

080505.06 Limitation on Shipment and Storage of HHG

  1. AOs may approve a period necessary for extended storage, not to exceed 90 days beyond the initial temporary storage 60 days period, under the following documented circumstances if the extensions apply to the employee’s transfer (FTR § 302-8.102).
  2. Government’s Liability. The Government’s liability for loss of damage to HHG is determined by VA under title 31 U.S.C. 3721 and 3723 and VA implementing rules and regulations issued pursuant to the law, (FTR § 302-7.12).
  3. Reimbursement Limitation. Employees may pursue other methods for transportation and temporary storage of HHG and PBPE in accordance with FTR § 302-7.401; however, your reimbursement is limited to the actual cost incurred by the Government, not to exceed the method selected by the RSC Vendor (FTR § 302-7.16).

080505.07 Insurance Coverage on Shipment and Storage of HHG

  1. Full Value Protection Method. VA will provide full value protection of HHG at no cost to the employee when using the contracted commercial carrier. Full value protection insures HHG at the full replacement value for individual items not to exceed the maximum of $5 per pound for the entire shipment weight. For example, an employee ships 10,000 pounds of HHG to his or her new official duty station. If the moving truck transporting the goods is involved in an accident that results in the loss of all of the employee’s HHG, the employee will receive a maximum of $50,000 to replace his or her belongings.
  2. Excess Full Value Protection Method. Employees may elect the excess full value protection to insure their HHG based on the dollar valuation of their belongings being shipped. Employees should select this method if they want to ensure full coverage of their goods in the event of damage or loss of the shipment. If this method is selected, the employee will be billed for the additional cost to VA.

080505.08 Weight Allowances and Unaccompanied Air Baggage (UAB)

  1. VA will authorize shipment and storage of employee household goods (HHG) up to the maximum weight allowance of 18,000 pounds (FTR § 302-7.2(a)), and may establish a lower net weight allowance and a lower allowance for packing materials in special circumstances, such as transferring an employee into government-furnished quarters (FTR § 302-7.2(b)). For uncrated or van line shipments, a 2,000 pound allowance is added to the 18,000 pounds net weight allowance to cover packing materials for the shipment. In no case may a shipment weigh over 20,000 gross pounds (the 18,000 pounds net weight of the uncrated HHG plus the 2,000 pound allowance for packing materials). The employee is responsible for payment of any shipping in excess of the 18,000 pounds uncrated or 20,000 pounds for uncrated and packing materials, and temporary storage (FTR § 300-3.1) charges in excess of the 18,000-pound maximum weight allowance. VA will issue a bill of collection for payment of charges for shipping and storage in excess of the allowable limits.
  2. An AO may authorize a UAB shipment in accordance with FTR § 302-7.300. UAB for CONUS to CONUS shipments is not allowed under the FTR.
  3. The travel AO may authorize UAB shipment when deemed necessary, or may authorize the shipment of UAB by expedited means in accordance with FTR § 302-7.303.
  4. The UAB shipment is part of, not in addition to, the 18,000 pounds net weight allowance for HHG. Reference FTR § 302-7.302 for the maximum weight allowance for a UAB shipment.

080505.09 Mobile Homes

The term “mobile home” refers to traditional trailer homes as well as boats. Employees will be permitted to transport a mobile home provided they certify that it is being used as the current residence and will be used as the permanent residence at the new official duty station. Refer to FTR Part 302-10 and Appendix L, Shipment Of Mobile Homes, for reimbursement guidance.

080505.10 Emergency Storage of POV

The AO may authorize storage of a POV which has been shipped at the expense of the Federal Government when the Federal Government or a specific State declares a national or local emergency, respectively, and evacuation is required.

080506 Outside of Continental United States Relocations

For a definition of OCONUS Foreign and Non-Foreign areas reference FTR § 300-3.1.

080506.01 Outside of Continental United States (OCONUS) Foreign Relocations

  1. VA may authorize the following relocation allowances for OCONUS Foreign relocations:
    1. Transportation of employee and family;
    2. Shipment of POV;
    3. Property Management Services, not to exceed VA’s contracted negotiated rate with the third party vendor (refer to Appendix M, Property Management Services);
    4. Extended Storage of HHG (FTR § 302-8.200) when:
      1. The official station is one to which you are not authorized to take, or at which you are unable to use, your HHG; or
      2. Your AO authorizes it as being in the public interest; or
      3. Your AO determines the estimated cost of storage would be less than the cost of round-trip transportation (including temporary storage) of the HHG to your new official station.
    5. Temporary Quarters Subsistence Expenses (TQSE):
      1. Prior to CONUS departure, or
      2. Upon arrival at OCONUS location; or
    6. TQSE (upon return from OCONUS assignment).
  2. Refer to the Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR) for additional allowances that VA may authorize for foreign OCONUS relocations. Refer to Volume XIV, Chapter 6, International Travel, for Passport and Visa information needed for travel to foreign countries.

080506.02 OCONUS, Non-Foreign Relocations

  1. VA may authorize the following relocation allowances for OCONUS non-foreign locations:
    1. Transportation of employee and family;
    2. Shipment of POV;
    3. TQSE;
    4. Relocation Services Program; or
    5. Allowances for expenses incurred in connection with residence transactions.
  2. Employees are eligible for an allowance for expenses incurred in connection with residence transactions when authorized relocation expenses. Authorized expenses may include the following:
    1. Sale of employee’s residence at the old official duty station from which the employee commutes daily, and or the purchase of a residence at the employee’s new official duty station in the United States;
    2. Residence or mobile home lot, considered as the employee’s permanent residence at the old official duty station; or
    3. Purchase of a new residence in the United States after completion of an overseas tour of duty. The return move is to a different official duty station in the United States. The new official duty station must be at least 50-miles from the previous official duty station in the United States.
  3. VA AOs may authorize extended storage of HHG for the duration of the assignment, including up to 30 days before the tour begins and up to 60 days after the tour has been completed. Extensions may be authorized for subsequent service or tours of duty at OCONUS locations but only if requests for the extension are submitted prior to the end date of the authorized initial time period.
  4. When a tour of duty is terminated, the employee’s storage costs will be paid at the Government’s expense until the end of the month. The following example demonstrates time limitations for extended storage of HHG for OCONUS tours of duty:
    • Before Tour – 30 days
    • During Tour – Not to exceed tour duration (12-36 months)
    • After Tour – 60 days
  5. Once the OCONUS assignment has been completed, VA will pay for relocation costs back to actual stateside place of residence as indicated on the SA. If the employee accepts a position with no relocation entitlements or accepts a position at another Government agency with relocation entitlements at a location other than the place of residence on the SA, VA will pay for relocation costs back to the actual stateside place of residence, as indicated on the SA. The employee or receiving Federal agency is responsible for any additional relocation costs.

080507 Senior Executive Service Separation Relocation Allowance

  1. Senior Executive Service (SES) employees must meet the conditions as defined in FTR Subpart D – Relocation Separation to be eligible for separation relocation allowance (also known as “last move home”). The employee must reside in a different geographical area which is at least 50-miles from his or her last official duty station. GSA granted VA a waiver, effective December 19, 2003, to the “50-mile rule” due to hardships caused for some VA employees. This waiver remains in effect from the December 19, 2003, effective date, until either a permanent citation is made in Federal regulations or until the GSA’s Office of Government -wide Policy rescinds the waiver. To qualify under the waiver for reimbursement of HHG moving expenses, SES members must:
    • Reside in Government-furnished housing on VA facility grounds;
    • Be required to vacate Government-furnished housing upon separation from Federal service; and
    • Meet the qualifications for SES “last move home” benefits.
  2. Before receiving reimbursement for moving expenses, the employee must submit a request to VA for authorization and approval of his or her moving expenses with the tentative moving dates and the origin and destination location of the employee’s planned move. All travel and transportation of HHG must begin no later than six months after the employee’s date of separation.
  3. In accordance with FTR § 302-3.101, Table G, VA must pay the following separation relocation allowances:
    • Transportation for employee and immediate family member(s) (FTR Part 302-4);
    • Per diem for employee only (FTR Part 302–4);
    • Transportation and temporary storage of household goods (FTR Part 302–7);
    • Transportation of a mobile home or boat used as a primary residence in lieu of the transportation of household goods (FTR Part 302–10); and
    • Relocation income tax allowance (RITA) (FTR Part 302–17).
  4. In accordance with FTR § 302-3.101, Table G, the following separation relocation allowances are discretionary expenses VA may or may not be authorized:
    • Shipment of privately owned vehicle (POV) (FTR part 302–9, Subpart B); and or
    • Use of a relocation services company (FTR Part 302–12).

080508 Temporary Change of Station Allowances

  1. VA will authorize a Temporary Change of Station (TCS) in accordance with FTR § 302-3.404. An employee must meet the distance requirement of 50-miles or more, as prescribed in Section 080501.01B. A service agreement is not required for TCS travel.
  2. Duration of a TCS. A TCS will not be shorter in duration than 6 months nor last longer than 30 months.
    1. If the assignment is cut short of the 6 months for reasons other than separation, TCS expenses will be reimbursed.
    2. If the TCS lasts longer than 30 months, VA:
      1. Must permanently assign the employee to the temporary official duty station or return the employee to the previous official duty station.
      2. May not pay for extended storage or property management services past the 30th month.
      3. Must pay the expenses of returning the employee, his or her immediate family members, and the HHG to the previous official duty station unless permanently assigned to the temporary official duty station.
  3. VA will pay for the following expenses in connection with the employee’s departure and return to the official duty station:
    • Travel, including per diem, for employees’ and their immediate families (refer to Section 080502);
    • Transportation and temporary storage of HHG (refer to Section 080505.01);
    • Transportation of a mobile home instead of transportation of HHG (refer to Section 08050509);
    • TQSE (refer to Section 080502.03);
    • Miscellaneous expense allowances (refer to Section 080504);
    • Property management expenses, not to exceed the VA’s contracted negotiated rate with the third party vendor (FTR § 302–15.70(b), and reference Appendix M, Property Management Services);
    • Transportation of a POV (refer to Section 080505.02);
    • Lease break at permanent official duty station location and lease break after completion of TCS at TCS location (if applicable); and
    • A relocation income tax allowance for additional income taxes incurred on payments (refer to Section 080509).
  4. VA will authorize the following expenses if employees are permanently assigned to TCS official duty stations:
    1. Travel, including per diem, for one round trip between the temporary official duty station and the previous official duty station, for employees and members of their immediate family who relocated to the temporary official duty station. VA may also pay the same expenses for a one-way trip from the previous official duty station to the new permanent official duty station for any immediate family member who did not accompany the employee to the temporary official duty station;
    2. Residence transaction expenses;
    3. Relocation services;
    4. Temporary quarters subsistence expenses (TQSE);
    5. Transportation of HHG not previously transported to the temporary official duty station;
    6. Transportation of a privately-owned vehicle(s) not previously transported to the temporary official duty station; and
    7. If the employee changes his or her residence as a result of the permanent assignment to the temporary official duty station, VA may pay for transporting the HHG, subject to the weight limit per FTR, between the residence the employee occupied during the temporary assignment and the new residence.
  5. The following individuals are not eligible for a TCS:
    • A new appointee;
    • An individual employed intermittently in the Government service as a consultant or expert and paid on a daily when-actually-employed (WAE) basis;
    • An individual serving without pay or at $1 a year; or
    • An employee assigned under GETA.
  6. Refer to Appendix N, Temporary Change of Station Allowances, for additional information.

080509 Withholding Tax Allowance and Relocation Income Tax Allowance

  1. Purpose of Withholding Tax Allowance (WTA) and Relocation Income Tax Allowance (RITA). The WTA and the RITA assist employees with the additional Federal, State, or local income tax liability incurred as a result of a move. The allowances are developed by GSA in conjunction with IRS. These allowances assume that relocated employees will itemize their deductions, rather than take the standard deductions on their income tax returns. VA employees should review IRS publications in Appendix O, Internal Revenue Service Publications Associated With Relocation Expenses, and FTR § 302-17 (Taxes on Relocation Expenses) and consider seeking professional tax advice to determine how their relocation affects their personal tax situation.
  2. Employees Eligible for WTA and RITA. VA Employees are eligible for the WTA and RITA when the VA transfers the employee from one permanent duty station to another, in the best interest of the Government, and VA reimburses the employee for relocation expenses resulting in the employee being liable for additional taxes (FTR § 302-17.5).
    Note: If a VA employee violates the 12-month SA under which they were relocated, VA will not pay WTA or the RITA, and the employee must repay any relocation benefits paid prior to the violation.
  3. Employees Ineligible for WTA and RITA. FTR § 302-17.6 identifies which relocating employees are not eligible for WTA and RITA.
  4. Limitations on WTA and RITA. Both the employee and VA must know the limitations on which reimbursements and direct payments to vendors are taxable and which are nontaxable in the employee’s specific circumstances (FTR § 302-17.8 thru FTR § 302-17.13).
    Note: The tax calculations involve potential Federal, state, and local income taxes that may be incurred as a result of a relocation and is considered a good faith effort to reimburse substantially all additional income taxes the employee may incur (FTR § 302-17.4).
    1. Taxable Expense Types. For the purpose of determining WTA, FTR § 302-17.21 provides a list of reimbursements considered taxable when paid to the employee. Reimbursement for all of the listed expenses are included in the gross income reported on an employee‘s W-2 for the tax year in which reimbursement is paid, including WTA and RITA reimbursements.
    2. Non-Taxable Expense Types. The following are not considered taxable reimbursements. A complete list can be found in FTR § 302-17.22.
  5. Withholding Tax Allowance (WTA). VA will reimburse and add a WTA allowance to travel vouchers to defray an employee‘s out-of-pocket expenses if the employee selects to apply WTA. WTA is optional for the employee. The WTA is actually an advance estimate of the RITA.
    1. Each time covered taxable moving expenses are paid to the employee, the FSC will determine the amount of the WTA in accordance with FTR § 302-17.24 and add it to the travel voucher.
    2. The WTA only covers the estimated Federal withholding tax amount. The reimbursement amount the employee will receive will be the amount claimed less deductions for non-reimbursable items and the estimated amounts withheld for State taxes, OASDI, and Medicare (FTR § 302-17.20).
    3. The WTA is considered taxable income and is subject to tax withholding (FTR § 302-17.2). The total amount of an employee’s WTA paid during a calendar year, as well as the total of all other allowable moving expenses, is included on the W-2 as wages, tips, and other compensation.
  6. Relocation Income Tax Allowance (RITA).
    1. VA pays employees a RITA when the reimbursement to employees for any taxes owed were not adequately reimbursed by the WTA (FTR § 302-17.30).
    2. VA uses the two-year process for RITA (FTR § 302-17.32). Employees will submit a RITA travel voucher the year following in which the employee receives payment of covered taxable moving expenses.
      1. The difference between the WTA and the RITA is that the WTA is an estimate of the Federal withholding taxes due, and the RITA uses actual figures provided by the employee to determine the Federal, State, and local tax effects from the move.
      2. The RITA is calculated the year after the reimbursements involving taxable moving expenses along with a WTA, are received.
      3. The RITA uses actual figures provided by the employee to calculate the proper amounts that should have been reimbursed for Federal, State, and local taxes.
    3. To file a RITA claim, the employee must submit to the FSC or log into the PCS Travel Portal and fill out the FSC RITA Questionnaire form (“Statement of Income and Tax Filing Status”). Copies of all taxable income forms received to complete the employee’s IRS Tax Return are required. Forms include but are not limited to W-2 forms and SE 1040 self-employment forms (if applicable) for the employee (and for spouse, if filing jointly). Forms 1099 are not applicable since the RITA is based only on earned income, except for 1099R forms for military retirement pay.
    4. The WTA is an advance on your income tax expenses, thus if you don’t file the “Statement of Income and Tax Filing Status”, or RITA claim in a timely manner, your agency will require you to repay the entire amount of the withholding and WTA (if any) that the agency has paid on your behalf (FTR § 302-17.65). Employees are required to file a RITA claim in accordance with the annual deadline established by the PSC Travel Office. Failure to file the RITA claim by the deadline allows VA to close the file without paying the RITA (FTR § 302-17.66). The FSC PCS Travel Division will notify affected employees by email of the deadline for filing. Employees who fail to file in a timely manner will receive a final written warning by email to file within 60 days or amend their “Statement of Income and Tax Filing Status”, or VA will declare the WTA already paid on his/her behalf forfeited and due as a debt to the Government (FTR § 302-17.102(b)).
    5. If the employee has been reimbursed more WTA than the RITA allowed, the employee will receive a bill of collection for the overpayment of the WTA. If the employee did not receive enough WTA for the moving expenses, the employee will receive a payment to make up the difference. Like the WTA, the RITA is considered taxable income and is subject to tax withholding, reportable to the IRS on the W-2. Employees who are relocating should be aware that the IRS considers certain expenses and allowances to be reported as income. Those that are not taxable generally may be deducted when filing the annual tax return. Refer to Appendix O, Internal Revenue Service Publications Associated with Relocation Expenses, for publications that may be helpful to the relocating employee.
  7. VA will withhold taxes directly from travel voucher payments. Any taxable payments that are made to a third-party service on the employee‘s behalf are still considered taxable income and could impact the income reported on the employee‘s W-2.
  8. An employee may request a recalculation of their RITA, provided he or she filed their “Statement of Income and Tax Filing Status”, or RITA claim and amended it, if necessary, in a timely manner. Once he or she has completed all Federal, state, and local tax returns, and believes the RITA should have been significantly different from the RITA VA has calculated, he or she may ask VA to recalculate the RITA (FTR § 302-17.33).

0806 Authority and References