Title 22 Part 136
Title 22 → Chapter I → Subchapter N → Part 136
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR
Title 22 Part 136
PART 136—PERSONAL PROPERTY DISPOSITION AT POSTS ABROAD
§136.4 Restrictions on dispositions of personal property.
§136.5 Chief of mission policies, rules or procedures.
Authority: 22 U.S.C. 4341.
Source: 53 FR 23188, June 20, 1988, unless otherwise noted.
The primary purpose of these regulations is to ensure that employees and members of their families do not profit personally from sales or other transactions with persons who are not themselves entitled to exemption from import restrictions, duties, or taxes.
Section 303(a) of the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 authorizes the Secretary of State to issue regulations to carry out the purposes of title III of that Act.
(a) Basis of an item shall include the initial price paid (or retail value at the time of acquisition if acquired by gift), inland and overseas transportation costs (if not reimbursed by the United States Government), shipping insurance, taxes, customs fees, duties or other charges, and capital improvements, but shall not include insurance on an item while in use or storage, maintenance, repair or related costs, or financing charges.
(b) Charitable contribution means a contribution or gift as defined in section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code, or other similar contribution or gift to a bona fide charitable foreign entity as determined pursuant to policies, rules or procedures issued by the chief of mission pursuant to §136.5(b).
(c) Chief of mission has the meaning given such term by section 102(e) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. 2902(3).
(d) Contractor means: (1) An individual employed by personal services contract pursuant to section 2(c) of the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 U.S.C. 2669(c)), pursuant to section 636(a)(3) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2396(a)(3)), or pursuant to any other similar authority including, in the case of an organization performing services under such authority, an individual involved in the performance of such service; and (2) any other individual or firm that enjoys exemptions from import limitations, customs duties or taxes on personal property from a foreign country in connection with performance of a contract for goods or services when such contract is with the United States Government or an agency or instrumentality thereof or when such contract is directly financed by grant assistance from the United States Government or an agency or instrumentality thereof and the individual or firm is a party to the contract, a subcontractor, or an employee of a contractor or subcontractor.
(e) Employee means an individual who is under the jurisdiction of a chief of mission to a foreign country as provided under section 207 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980. (22 U.S.C. 3927) and who is—
(1) An employee as defined by section 2105 of title 5, United States Code;
(2) An officer or employee of the United States Postal Service or of the Postal Rate Commission;
(3) A member of a uniformed service who is not under the command of an area military commander, or
(4) An expert or consultant as authorized pursuant to section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, with the United States or any agency, department, or establishment thereof; but is not a national or permanent resident of the foreign country in which employed.
(f) Family member means any member of the family of an employee who is entitled to exemption from import limitation, customs duties, or taxes which would otherwise apply by virtue of his or her status as a dependent or member of the household of the employee.
(g) Foreign country means any country or territory, excluding the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and other territories and possessions of the United States.
(h) Except as otherwise provided by a chief of mission in policies, rules or procedures issued pursuant to §136.5(b), an item shall be deemed of “minimal value” if its acquisition cost in U.S. dollars (or retail value if received as a gift) is within the limit determined by the Administrator of General Services for “minimal value” of foreign gifts under 5 U.S.C. 7342, currently $180. For purposes of determining “minimal value,” all constitutent parts of components of an audio or visual system, automobile, boat, computer system, or other integrated machine, system or item of equipment must be valued as a single item even if acquired separately, except that spare or superseded parts (e.g., an old set of tires that has been replaced on vehicle) may be valued as separate items.
(i) Personal property means any item of personal property, including automobiles, computers, boats, audio and video equipment and any other items acquired for personal use, except that items properly determined to be of “minimal value” shall not be subject to limitations on disposition except for purposes of §136.4(d) or as prescribed in policies, rules or procedures issued by a chief of mission.
(j) Profit means any proceeds (including cash and other valuable consideration but not including amounts of such proceeds given as charitable contributions) for the sale, disposition or assignment of personal property in excess of the basis for such property.
§136.4 Restrictions on dispositions of personal property.
(a) An employee or family member shall not sell, assign or otherwise dispose of personal property within a foreign country except with the prior written approval of the chief of mission or designee, except where the category of dispositions has been authorized to be undertaken without prior written approval in policies, rules or procedures issued by the chief of mission (cf. §136.5(b)(1)).
(b) An employee or family member shall not retain any profit from the sale, assignment or other disposition within a foreign country of personal property that was imported into or purchased in that foreign country and that, by virtue of the official status of the employee, was exempt from import restrictions, customs duties, or taxes which would otherwise apply, when such sale, assignment or other disposition is made to persons not entitled to exemptions from import restrictions, duties, or taxes. An employee or family member shall not profit from an indirect disposition to persons not entitled to such exemptions, such as sale through a third country diplomat acting as a middleman, where the employee or family member knows or should know that the property is being acquired by the third party for resale to persons not entitled to exemptions, except that this restriction shall not apply to sales of personal property to official agencies of the foreign country in accordance with the laws or regulations of that country.
(c) Profits obtained from dispositions of personal property by an employee or family member that cannot be retained under paragraph (b) of this section including any interest earned by the employee or family member on such profits, shall be disposed of within 90 days of receipt by contribution or gift as defined in section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code or by other similar contribution or gift to a bona fide charitable foreign entity as designated by the chief of mission pursuant to §136.5(b)(11) of this part.
(d) Except as authorized in advance by the chief of mission on a case-by-case basis, no employee or family member shall sell, assign or otherwise dispose of personal property within a foreign country that was not acquired for bona fide personal use. There shall be a presumption that property that is new, unused or held by the employer or family member in unusual or commercial quantities was not acquired for bona fide personal use. For purposes of this subsection, there is no exemption for items of minimal value §136.3(h)).
(e) No employee or family member shall import, sell, assign or otherwise dispose of personal property within a foreign country in a manner that violates the law or regulations of that country or governing international law.
(f) Violations of the restrictions or requirements of paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section shall be grounds for disciplinary actions against the employee in accordance with the employing agency's procedures and regulations. Employees shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with these regulations by family members.
(g) For purposes of computing profits on personal property dispositions subject to these regulations, where acquisition and disposition of the property were transacted in different currencies, proceeds received and costs incurred in a foreign currency shall be valued in United States dollars at the time of receipt or payment at the rate of exchange that was in effect for reverse accommodation exchanges at U.S. missions at the time of such receipt or payment. Where property was acquired and sold in the same currency, no conversion is required.
§136.5 Chief of mission policies, rules or procedures.
(a) Each chief of mission shall establish a procedure under which employees may request approval for the sale of personal property and for conversion of proceeds of such sale from local currency into U.S. dollars, if applicable. This procedure may be modified to meet local conditions, but must produce a documentary record to be held by the post of the following:
(1) The employee's signed request for permission to sell personal property, and, if applicable, to convert local currency proceeds to U.S. dollars;
(2) A description of each item of personal property having more than minimal value, and the cost basis and actual sales price for each item;
(3) All profits received and whether profit is retainable;
(4) Donation to charities or other authorized recipients of non-retainable profits;
(5) Approvals to sell and, if applicable, to exchange proceeds, with any restrictions or refusals of the employee's request noted, signed by the chief of mission or designee; and
(6) For privately owned vehicle transactions, data on purchaser and statement that customs requirements have been met and title has been transferred or arranged with an agent identified on document.
(b) In order to ensure that due account is taken of local conditions, including applicable laws, markets, exchange rate factors, and accommodation exchange facilities, the chief of mission to each foreign country is authorized to establish policies, rules, and procedures governing the disposition of personal property by employees and family members in that country under the chief of mission's jurisdiction. Policies, rules and procedures issued by the chief of mission shall be consistent with the general restrictions set forth in §136.4 and may include at least the following:
(1) Identification of categories of dispositions (e.g., sales of minimal value items) that may be made without prior written approval;
(2) Identification of categories of individuals or entities to whom sales of personal property can be made without restrictions on profits (e.g., other employees, third country diplomats), individuals or entities to whom sales can be made but profits not retained, and individuals or entities to whom sales may not be made;
(3) Requirements to report the total estimated and actual proceeds for all minimal value items, even if such items are otherwise exempted from limitations on profits of sale;
(4) Categories of items of personal property excluded from restrictions on disposition because generally exempt from taxation and import duties under local law;
(5) More restrictive definition of “minimal value” (see §136.3(h) of this part);
(6) Limitations on manner of disposition (e.g., restrictions on advertising or yard sales);
(7) Limitations on total proceeds that may be generated by dispositions of personal property, including limitations on proceeds from disposition of “minimal value” items;
(8) Limitations on total profits that may be generated by dispositions of personal property, including limitations on profits from dispositions of “minimal value” items;
(9) Limitations on total proceeds from dispositions of personal property that may be converted into dollars by reverse accommodation exchange;
(10) Limitations on the timing and number of reverse accommodation exchanges permitted for proceeds of dispositions of personal property (e.g., only in last six months of tour and no more than two exchange conversions);
(11) Designation of bona fide charitable foreign entities to whom an employee or family member may donate profits that cannot be retained under these regulations.
(12) Designation of post officials authorized to approve on behalf of chief of mission employee requests for permission to sell personal property and requests to convert local currency proceeds of sale to U.S. dollars by reverse accommodation exchange.
(c) All policies, rules, and procedures that are issued by the chief of mission pursuant to paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section shall be announced by notice circulated to all affected mission employees and copies of all such policies, rules and procedures shall be made readily accessible to all affected employees and family members.
(d) Violations of restrictions or requirements established by a chief of mission in policies, rules, or procedures issued by a chief of mission pursuant to paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section shall be grounds for disciplinary actions against the employee in accordance with the employing agency's procedures and regulations. Employees shall ensure compliance by family members with policies, rules or procedures issued by the chief of mission.
To the extent that contractors enjoy importation or tax privileges in a foreign country because of their contractual relationship to the United States Government, contracting agencies shall include provisions in their contracts that require the contractors to observe the requirements of these regulations and all policies, rules, and procedures issued by the chief of mission in that foreign country.