Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
302-14.1 - Am I eligible to participate in the "home sale program"?
Yes, if you are a Department of the Interior employee eligible for real estate allowances because you are being transferred from one permanent duty station to another for the benefit of the Government.
302-14.2 - Does the home marketing incentive allowance increase the cost to my bureau?
No, employees who earn the home marketing incentive allowance will generally produce a net savings to the bureau by reducing the fees paid to the relocation service company, reducing the time in temporary quarters, reducing the amount of relocation income tax allowance that must be paid, and reductions of other administrative costs.
302-14.3 - What is the maximum home marketing incentive allowance I can receive?
You may receive a maximum of five percent of the amended value sale price of your residence or the savings realized by your bureau. The savings to your bureau will be calculated by subtracting the fees that are paid on the amended value sale from the fees that would have been paid on an appraised value sale of your residence.
302-14.4 - Must my bureau/office pay me a home marketing incentive allowance?
Yes, if you requested enrollment in the home sale program within 10 days of being notified of your transfer and you obtained an amended value sale for your residence.
302-14.5 - How does my temporary quarters subsistence allowance affect my home sale incentive allowance?
If you are reimbursed for occupying temporary quarters for more than 60 days, you will not be entitled to a home sale incentive allowance.
302-14.6 - What must I do to earn the home marketing incentive allowance?
You must elect to use the home sale program, find a qualified buyer for the residence, and turn the amended value sale over to the relocation services contractor.
302-14.7 - May I use a real estate agent to help market my residence?
Yes, it is recommended that you use a real estate agent to assist you in marketing your residence. When an acceptable offer is received, the offer should be immediately transmitted to the relocation service company, prior to you signing an acceptance of the offer. Be sure to include an exclusion clause in your contract with the real estate agent so you can sell your residence to the relocation service company without you being obligated to pay a commission.
302-14.8 - Will my real estate agent get a commission if the relocation service company accepts the offer?
Yes, the real estate agent will receive the appropriate commission from the relocation service company.
302-14.9 - Should I sign the offer I receive from a new buyer to obtain an amended value sale?
No, you should not sign the contract between you and the new buyer. You will sell your property to the relocation service company. The relocation service company will sell the property to the new buyer. The relocation service company will be responsible for all closing costs.
302-14.10 - Will I receive a home sale incentive allowance if I sell my house on my own?
No, you must participate in the home sale program and use the relocation service company.
302-14.11 - Will I be reimbursed for my marketing expenses necessary to obtain an amended value sale?
No, you will not be reimbursed marketing expenses incurred to obtain an amended value sale. We reimburse marketing expenses on direct sales only.
302-14.12 - What if my offer is not acceptable to the relocation service company?
You must obtain an offer that is acceptable to the relocation service company to receive the home sale incentive allowance. If the offer contains contingencies, the borrower can not qualify financially or the sale does not meet other terms of the contract, the relocation services company does not have to accept the offer.
302-14.13 - Do I have to refund the home sale incentive allowance if the amended value sale "falls through"?
No, unless the reason the sale could not be completed was due to misrepresentation or false information provided by you during the sale process.
302-14.14 - What do I have to do to claim my home sale incentive allowance?
You must file a travel voucher (SF 1012) supported by a copy of the appraised value offer and a copy of the amended sale contract you signed to transfer the residence to the relocation service company.
302-14.15 - What rates do I use to calculate the amount of my claim?
Your servicing finance office will determine tha amount of you incentive allowance and upon receipt of your claim showing you sold your residence on an amended value sale basis.
302-14.16 - What taxes will my bureau withhold from the home sale incentive allowance?
Your bureau will withhold Federal, State and local income tax , and the applicable social security taxes. This withholding will be an estimated amount and will be reported to the payroll office for final calculation.
302-14.17 - What withholding rate will my bureau use to determine the amount of tax to withhold?
Your bureau may use either of the following methods for determining the estimated tax to withhold:
a predetermined percentage that closely covers the tax liability for all employees may be applied, with the payroll system making any necessary adjustments;
a calculation that withholds 28 percent for Federal Withholding Tax, 7.65 percent for FICA tax (1.45 percent if the employee is covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS)), and state and local taxes based on published withholding rates. The payroll system will make adjustments when necessary.