Permanent Change of Station (PCS) FAQs

Acronyms and Definitions

CONUSThe lower 48 Continental United States and the District of Columbia.
OCONUSOutside Continental United States. It specifically refers to states and U.S. territories that are not a part of the continental U.S., such as Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Puerto Rico, America Samoa, and U.S. Saipan.
POVPrivately Owned Vehicle
HHGHousehold Goods
GBLGovernment Bill of Lading
HORHome of Record. 
The place the employee was living when they were transferred or appointed to an overseas assignment. The HOR does not change during the period overseas duty. The HOR determines the maximum travel and transportation allowances
OTRATOverseas Tour Renewal Agreement Travel. 
Refers to travel of the employee and their immediate family returning to their home in the continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii between overseas tours of duty. The Department has determined that OTRAT is necessary for recruitment and retention of employees in a post of duty overseas or in remote locations of Alaska and Hawaii.
TQSETemporary Quarters Subsistence Expenses. 
Temporary quarters is defined as any lodging obtained from private or commercial sources to be occupied temporarily by the employee or members of their immediate family until more suitable permanent lodging can be obtained. Temporary quarters subsistence expense (TQSE) is defined as expenses incurred by the employee and their immediate family while occupying temporary quarters. Temporary quarters may be obtained at either the old official duty station or the new official duty station. 
TQSE is not an entitlement, but a discretionary allowance to be authorized only when the Agency determines it to be in the best interest of the government.
WTAWithholding Tax Allowance.
The WTA is an advance estimate of the RITA, which is added to each PCS claim, when needed, to defray an employee’s out-of-pocket expenses. Each time covered taxable moving expenses are claimed, WTA is calculated and added to the travel voucher. 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 and FICA/Medicare.
The WTA is considered taxable income, and is subject to tax withholding. The total amount of an employee’s WTAs 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 compensations
RITARelocation Income Tax Allowance.
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 after the tax year to determine the Federal, State, and local tax effects from the move.
The RITA is calculated the year after the reimbursements involving taxable moving expenses along with a WTA, are received. For each year in which the employee receives a payment of covered taxable moving expenses and WTA, the following year the employee must submit a RITA travel voucher. The RITA utilizes actual figures provided by the employee to calculate the proper amounts that should have been reimbursed for Federal, State and local taxes.
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 has not received enough WTA for the moving expenses, the employee will receive a payment to make up the difference


Travel Voucher Submissions

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act



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