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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of November 13, 2019

Title 2Subtitle AChapter IIPart 200Subpart E → Subject Group


Title 2: Grants and Agreements
PART 200—UNIFORM ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS, COST PRINCIPLES, AND AUDIT REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERAL AWARDS
Subpart E—Cost Principles


Basic Considerations

§200.402   Composition of costs.

Total cost. The total cost of a Federal award is the sum of the allowable direct and allocable indirect costs less any applicable credits.

§200.403   Factors affecting allowability of costs.

Except where otherwise authorized by statute, costs must meet the following general criteria in order to be allowable under Federal awards:

(a) Be necessary and reasonable for the performance of the Federal award and be allocable thereto under these principles.

(b) Conform to any limitations or exclusions set forth in these principles or in the Federal award as to types or amount of cost items.

(c) Be consistent with policies and procedures that apply uniformly to both federally-financed and other activities of the non-Federal entity.

(d) Be accorded consistent treatment. A cost may not be assigned to a Federal award as a direct cost if any other cost incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances has been allocated to the Federal award as an indirect cost.

(e) Be determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), except, for state and local governments and Indian tribes only, as otherwise provided for in this part.

(f) Not be included as a cost or used to meet cost sharing or matching requirements of any other federally-financed program in either the current or a prior period. See also §200.306 Cost sharing or matching paragraph (b).

(g) Be adequately documented. See also §§200.300 Statutory and national policy requirements through 200.309 Period of performance of this part.

§200.404   Reasonable costs.

A cost is reasonable if, in its nature and amount, it does not exceed that which would be incurred by a prudent person under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision was made to incur the cost. The question of reasonableness is particularly important when the non-Federal entity is predominantly federally-funded. In determining reasonableness of a given cost, consideration must be given to:

(a) Whether the cost is of a type generally recognized as ordinary and necessary for the operation of the non-Federal entity or the proper and efficient performance of the Federal award.

(b) The restraints or requirements imposed by such factors as: sound business practices; arm's-length bargaining; Federal, state, local, tribal, and other laws and regulations; and terms and conditions of the Federal award.

(c) Market prices for comparable goods or services for the geographic area.

(d) Whether the individuals concerned acted with prudence in the circumstances considering their responsibilities to the non-Federal entity, its employees, where applicable its students or membership, the public at large, and the Federal Government.

(e) Whether the non-Federal entity significantly deviates from its established practices and policies regarding the incurrence of costs, which may unjustifiably increase the Federal award's cost.

[78 FR 78608, Dec. 26, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 75885, Dec. 19, 2014]

§200.405   Allocable costs.

(a) A cost is allocable to a particular Federal award or other cost objective if the goods or services involved are chargeable or assignable to that Federal award or cost objective in accordance with relative benefits received. This standard is met if the cost:

(1) Is incurred specifically for the Federal award;

(2) Benefits both the Federal award and other work of the non-Federal entity and can be distributed in proportions that may be approximated using reasonable methods; and

(3) Is necessary to the overall operation of the non-Federal entity and is assignable in part to the Federal award in accordance with the principles in this subpart.

(b) All activities which benefit from the non-Federal entity's indirect (F&A) cost, including unallowable activities and donated services by the non-Federal entity or third parties, will receive an appropriate allocation of indirect costs.

(c) Any cost allocable to a particular Federal award under the principles provided for in this part may not be charged to other Federal awards to overcome fund deficiencies, to avoid restrictions imposed by Federal statutes, regulations, or terms and conditions of the Federal awards, or for other reasons. However, this prohibition would not preclude the non-Federal entity from shifting costs that are allowable under two or more Federal awards in accordance with existing Federal statutes, regulations, or the terms and conditions of the Federal awards.

(d) Direct cost allocation principles. If a cost benefits two or more projects or activities in proportions that can be determined without undue effort or cost, the cost must be allocated to the projects based on the proportional benefit. If a cost benefits two or more projects or activities in proportions that cannot be determined because of the interrelationship of the work involved, then, notwithstanding paragraph (c) of this section, the costs may be allocated or transferred to benefitted projects on any reasonable documented basis. Where the purchase of equipment or other capital asset is specifically authorized under a Federal award, the costs are assignable to the Federal award regardless of the use that may be made of the equipment or other capital asset involved when no longer needed for the purpose for which it was originally required. See also §§200.310 Insurance coverage through 200.316 Property trust relationship and 200.439 Equipment and other capital expenditures.

(e) If the contract is subject to CAS, costs must be allocated to the contract pursuant to the Cost Accounting Standards. To the extent that CAS is applicable, the allocation of costs in accordance with CAS takes precedence over the allocation provisions in this part.

[78 FR 78608, Dec. 26, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 75885, Dec. 19, 2014]

§200.406   Applicable credits.

(a) Applicable credits refer to those receipts or reduction-of-expenditure-type transactions that offset or reduce expense items allocable to the Federal award as direct or indirect (F&A) costs. Examples of such transactions are: purchase discounts, rebates or allowances, recoveries or indemnities on losses, insurance refunds or rebates, and adjustments of overpayments or erroneous charges. To the extent that such credits accruing to or received by the non-Federal entity relate to allowable costs, they must be credited to the Federal award either as a cost reduction or cash refund, as appropriate.

(b) In some instances, the amounts received from the Federal Government to finance activities or service operations of the non-Federal entity should be treated as applicable credits. Specifically, the concept of netting such credit items (including any amounts used to meet cost sharing or matching requirements) must be recognized in determining the rates or amounts to be charged to the Federal award. (See §§200.436 Depreciation and 200.468 Specialized service facilities, for areas of potential application in the matter of Federal financing of activities.)

[78 FR 78608, Dec. 26, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 75885, Dec. 19, 2014]

§200.407   Prior written approval (prior approval).

Under any given Federal award, the reasonableness and allocability of certain items of costs may be difficult to determine. In order to avoid subsequent disallowance or dispute based on unreasonableness or nonallocability, the non-Federal entity may seek the prior written approval of the cognizant agency for indirect costs or the Federal awarding agency in advance of the incurrence of special or unusual costs. Prior written approval should include the timeframe or scope of the agreement. The absence of prior written approval on any element of cost will not, in itself, affect the reasonableness or allocability of that element, unless prior approval is specifically required for allowability as described under certain circumstances in the following sections of this part:

(a) §200.201 Use of grant agreements (including fixed amount awards), cooperative agreements, and contracts, paragraph (b)(5);

(b) §200.306 Cost sharing or matching;

(c) §200.307 Program income;

(d) §200.308 Revision of budget and program plans;

(e) §200.311 Real property;

(f) §200.313 Equipment;

(g) §200.332 Fixed amount subawards;

(h) §200.413 Direct costs, paragraph (c);

(i) §200.430 Compensation—personal services, paragraph (h);

(j) §200.431 Compensation—fringe benefits;

(k) §200.438 Entertainment costs;

(l) §200.439 Equipment and other capital expenditures;

(m) §200.440 Exchange rates;

(n) §200.441 Fines, penalties, damages and other settlements;

(o) §200.442 Fund raising and investment management costs;

(p) §200.445 Goods or services for personal use;

(q) §200.447 Insurance and indemnification;

(r) §200.454 Memberships, subscriptions, and professional activity costs, paragraph (c);

(s) §200.455 Organization costs;

(t) §200.456 Participant support costs;

(u) §200.458 Pre-award costs;

(v) §200.462 Rearrangement and reconversion costs;

(w) §200.467 Selling and marketing costs;

(x) §200.470 Taxes (including Value Added Tax); and

(y) §200.474 Travel costs.

[78 FR 78608, Dec. 26, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 75885, Dec. 19, 2014]

§200.408   Limitation on allowance of costs.

The Federal award may be subject to statutory requirements that limit the allowability of costs. When the maximum amount allowable under a limitation is less than the total amount determined in accordance with the principles in this part, the amount not recoverable under the Federal award may not be charged to the Federal award.

§200.409   Special considerations.

In addition to the basic considerations regarding the allowability of costs highlighted in this subtitle, other subtitles in this part describe special considerations and requirements applicable to states, local governments, Indian tribes, and IHEs. In addition, certain provisions among the items of cost in this subpart, are only applicable to certain types of non-Federal entities, as specified in the following sections:

(a) Direct and Indirect (F&A) Costs (§§200.412 Classification of costs through 200.415 Required certifications) of this subpart;

(b) Special Considerations for States, Local Governments and Indian Tribes (§§200.416 Cost allocation plans and indirect cost proposals and 200.417 Interagency service) of this subpart; and

(c) Special Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education (§§200.418 Costs incurred by states and local governments and 200.419 Cost accounting standards and disclosure statement) of this subpart.

§200.410   Collection of unallowable costs.

Payments made for costs determined to be unallowable by either the Federal awarding agency, cognizant agency for indirect costs, or pass-through entity, either as direct or indirect costs, must be refunded (including interest) to the Federal Government in accordance with instructions from the Federal agency that determined the costs are unallowable unless Federal statute or regulation directs otherwise. See also Subpart D—Post Federal Award Requirements of this part, §§200.300 Statutory and national policy requirements through 200.309 Period of performance.

§200.411   Adjustment of previously negotiated indirect (F&A) cost rates containing unallowable costs.

(a) Negotiated indirect (F&A) cost rates based on a proposal later found to have included costs that:

(1) Are unallowable as specified by Federal statutes, regulations or the terms and conditions of a Federal award; or

(2) Are unallowable because they are not allocable to the Federal award(s), must be adjusted, or a refund must be made, in accordance with the requirements of this section. These adjustments or refunds are designed to correct the proposals used to establish the rates and do not constitute a reopening of the rate negotiation. The adjustments or refunds will be made regardless of the type of rate negotiated (predetermined, final, fixed, or provisional).

(b) For rates covering a future fiscal year of the non-Federal entity, the unallowable costs will be removed from the indirect (F&A) cost pools and the rates appropriately adjusted.

(c) For rates covering a past period, the Federal share of the unallowable costs will be computed for each year involved and a cash refund (including interest chargeable in accordance with applicable regulations) will be made to the Federal Government. If cash refunds are made for past periods covered by provisional or fixed rates, appropriate adjustments will be made when the rates are finalized to avoid duplicate recovery of the unallowable costs by the Federal Government.

(d) For rates covering the current period, either a rate adjustment or a refund, as described in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, must be required by the cognizant agency for indirect costs. The choice of method must be at the discretion of the cognizant agency for indirect costs, based on its judgment as to which method would be most practical.

(e) The amount or proportion of unallowable costs included in each year's rate will be assumed to be the same as the amount or proportion of unallowable costs included in the base year proposal used to establish the rate.

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