The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) 45-7-22 through 45-7-24 authorize the reimbursement of relocation expenses to State employees and State of Georgia, Office of Planning and Budget. Policy Memorandum, No. 2 Revision 6 sets forth the rules, regulations and policies for the reimbursement program. The regulations limit reimbursement of expenses incurred which are related to moves made within the State of Georgia at the request of a state agency. The move must be in the best interest of the State of Georgia. The regulations as revised, went into effect December 1, 1989. They are summarized below:
In order to be eligible for relocation expense reimbursement, the state employee must satisfy the following criteria:
- He or she must have been employed by the department ordering the transfer for at least six months prior to the date of transfer and must generally remain at his or her new duty station for at least one year following the effective date of move.
- The transfer must be the result of an action by a state department requiring the relocation and must be in the department's best interest.
- The relocation must be within the State of Georgia.
- The distance between old and new duty stations must exceed 50 miles and, the transfer must result in the employee having to drive at least 35 miles farther from his or her old residence to his or her new duty station than was driven from the old residence to the old duty station.
- The department must have sufficient operating expense funds within its budget to pay the reimbursement cost.
- No other member of the employee's family may be reimbursed for the same move.
- The move must be made within one calendar year of the employee's transfer.
- The costs to be reimbursed are reasonable and proper as determined by Accounts Payable. The employee shall have no right to any review or further appeal from the determination made by Accounts Payable.
Approval of Relocation Reimbursement
The employee being transferred must complete and submit to his or her school or laboratory director an Employee Application for Intrastate Relocation Expense Reimbursement. Cost estimates from three different firms must be submitted along with the application form. (The employee selects a firm which will provide a quality move within a reasonable time frame for a reasonable cost. The lowest bid does not have to be selected, but written justification must be given.)
The application must be reviewed and approved by the employee's supervisor. The employee's department head must sign the application, certifying that the transfer is in the best interest of the Institute. The department's fiscal officer must sign the application, certifying that sufficient funds are available within the department's budget to cover the relocation expenses estimated.
Expenses Authorized for Reimbursement
"Reasonable and proper" costs "incurred for transportation of household goods" or "incident to change of residence" are reimbursable, as follows:
- Looking for a New Residence - If the move to the new residence is greater than 100 miles, the statutory mileage rate for up to three trips to the new location, plus food and lodging for up to a total of three days and nights may be reimbursable (sum of all three trips cannot exceed three days and nights). Travel regulations are applicable with the exception that double occupancy rate for one room may be paid. If the move to a new residence is less than 100 miles, only mileage for up to three days spent at the location looking for a new residence may be reimbursed. No reimbursement of food or lodging expenses will be paid since a visit to the new location should not require any overnight trips.
- Transporting Household Goods - The cost of moving household furnishings, equipment and appliances, furniture, clothing, books and similar property may be reimbursable. Actual costs associated with moving up to 11,000 lbs. of the afore-noted types of household goods by (i) commercial moving van, (ii) employee-owned or rented vehicle, and (iii) within an employee-owned mobile home will be reimbursed. The regulations include a breakdown of limitations on reimbursable amounts relating to insurance costs, fuel and labor. (The parameters of what constitutes reasonable includable and excludable expenses are listed in the regulations for each method of moving employed.)
- Transporting Family to a New Location - Actual food and lodging expenses may be paid up to two days and nights for one room at the multiple occupancy rate, applying the maximum daily amounts established in the statewide travel regulations. Meals for children under 12 are reimbursable up to one half the adult maximum.
- Utility Reconnection - Reimbursement is limited to the costs associated with establishing utility accounts and initiating basic service.
The transferred employee must sign an agreement that he or she will remain at the new location for at least one year from date of move except for reasons beyond the control of the employee and acceptable to the department, or be liable to the state for the amount of expenses reimbursed.
Payment of Reimbursement
Payment will be made on the basis of the Employee Intrastate Relocation Expense Vouchers which have been approved by the Manager of Accounts Payable, Georgia Institute of Technology. All relevant receipts, invoices and bills of lading must be presented with the relocation expense voucher. Payments may be made either following each trip or in one lump sum upon the completion of the move at the discretion of the Institute.
Internal Revenue Service Reporting
Reimbursements that are not deductible are reported to the IRS as "wages, tips and other compensation". However, there is no withholding made on these amounts. (See Regs. Sections 2.10 for details.)
Employee transfers between state departments are not reimbursable under the subject regulations, and if made within one year from a reimbursed relocation, will result in employee liability for paying back any amounts received under these regulations.
It should be noted that specific questions relating to allowability of expenses or particular procedures in processing relocation applications, should be directed to the Manager of Accounts Payable at (404) 894-0348. Prior to filling out any relocation expense application, specific limitations set forth in Policy Memorandum No. 2, Revision 6 should be reviewed. Copies are available from Accounts Payable.