Purchase discounts and allowances, and refunds of expenses.
(a) Principle. Discounts and allowances received on purchases of goods or services are reductions of the costs to which they relate. Similarly, refunds of previous expense payments are reductions of the related expense.
(b) Definitions—(1) Discounts. Discounts, in general, are reductions granted for the settlement of debts.
(2) Allowances. Allowances are deductions granted for damage, delay, shortage, imperfection, or other causes, excluding discounts and returns.
(3) Refunds. Refunds are amounts paid back or a credit allowed on account of an overcollection.
(c) Normal accounting treatment—Reduction of costs. All discounts, allowances, and refunds of expenses are reductions in the cost of goods or services purchased and are not income. If they are received in the same accounting period in which the purchases were made or expenses were incurred, they will reduce the purchases or expenses of that period. However, if they are received in a later accounting period, they will reduce the comparable purchases or expenses in the period in which they are received.
(d) Application.(1) Purchase discounts have been classified as cash, trade, or quantity discounts. Cash discounts are reductions granted for the settlement of debts before they are due. Trade discounts are reductions from list prices granted to a class of customers before consideration of credit terms. Quantity discounts are reductions from list prices granted because of the size of individual or aggregate purchase transactions. Whatever the classification of purchase discounts, like treatment in reducing allowable costs is required. In the past, purchase discounts were considered as financial management income. However, modern accounting theory holds that income is not derived from a purchase but rather from a sale or an exchange and that purchase discounts are reductions in the cost of whatever was purchased. The true cost of the goods or services is the net amount actually paid for them. Treating purchase discounts as income would result in an overstatement of costs to the extent of the discount.
(2) As with discounts, allowances, and rebates received from purchases of goods or services, refunds of previous expense payments are clearly reductions in costs and must be reflected in the determination of allowable costs. This treatment is equitable and is in accord with that generally followed by other governmental programs and third-party payment organizations paying on the basis of cost.
Title 42 published on 2012-10-01
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