2 CFR Appendix IV to Part 200 - Indirect (F&A) Costs Identification and Assignment, and Rate Determination for Nonprofit Organizations
1. Indirect costs are those that have been incurred for common or joint objectives and cannot be readily identified with a particular final cost objective. Direct cost of minor amounts may be treated as indirect costs under the conditions described in § 200.413(d). After direct costs have been determined and assigned directly to awards or other work as appropriate, indirect costs are those remaining to be allocated to benefitting cost objectives. A cost may not be allocated to a Federal award as an indirect cost if any other cost incurred for the same purpose, in like circumstances, has been assigned to a Federal award as a direct cost.
2. “Major nonprofit organizations” are defined in paragraph (a) of § 200.414. See indirect cost rate reporting requirements in sections B.2.e and B.3.g of this Appendix.
a. If a nonprofit organization has only one major function, or where all its major functions benefit from its indirect costs to approximately the same degree, the allocation of indirect costs and the computation of an indirect cost rate may be accomplished through simplified allocation procedures, as described in section B.2 of this Appendix.
b. If an organization has several major functions which benefit from its indirect costs in varying degrees, allocation of indirect costs may require the accumulation of such costs into separate cost groupings which then are allocated individually to benefitting functions by means of a base which best measures the relative degree of benefit. The indirect costs allocated to each function are then distributed to individual Federal awards and other activities included in that function by means of an indirect cost rate(s).
c. The determination of what constitutes an organization's major functions will depend on its purpose in being; the types of services it renders to the public, its clients, and its members; and the amount of effort it devotes to such activities as fundraising, public information and membership activities.
d. Specific methods for allocating indirect costs and computing indirect cost rates along with the conditions under which each method should be used are described in section B.2 through B.5 of this Appendix.
e. The base period for the allocation of indirect costs is the period in which such costs are incurred and accumulated for allocation to work performed in that period. The base period normally should coincide with the organization's fiscal year but, in any event, must be so selected as to avoid inequities in the allocation of the costs.
a. Where an organization's major functions benefit from its indirect costs to approximately the same degree, the allocation of indirect costs may be accomplished by (i) separating the organization's total costs for the base period as either direct or indirect, and (ii) dividing the total allowable indirect costs (net of applicable credits) by an equitable distribution base. The result of this process is an indirect cost rate which is used to distribute indirect costs to individual Federal awards. The rate should be expressed as the percentage which the total amount of allowable indirect costs bears to the base selected. This method should also be used where an organization has only one major function encompassing a number of individual projects or activities, and may be used where the level of Federal awards to an organization is relatively small.
b. Both the direct costs and the indirect costs must exclude capital expenditures and unallowable costs. However, unallowable costs which represent activities must be included in the direct costs under the conditions described in § 200.413(e).
c. The distribution base may be total direct costs (excluding capital expenditures and other distorting items, such as subawards for $25,000 or more), direct salaries and wages, or other base which results in an equitable distribution. The distribution base must exclude participant support costs as defined in § 200.1.
d. Except where a special rate(s) is required in accordance with section B.5 of this Appendix, the indirect cost rate developed under the above principles is applicable to all Federal awards of the organization. If a special rate(s) is required, appropriate modifications must be made in order to develop the special rate(s).
e. For an organization that receives more than $10 million in direct Federal funding in a fiscal year, a breakout of the indirect cost component into two broad categories, Facilities and Administration as defined in paragraph (a) of § 200.414, is required. The rate in each case must be stated as the percentage which the amount of the particular indirect cost category (i.e., Facilities or Administration) is of the distribution base identified with that category.
a. General. Where an organization's indirect costs benefit its major functions in varying degrees, indirect costs must be accumulated into separate cost groupings, as described in subparagraph b. Each grouping must then be allocated individually to benefitting functions by means of a base which best measures the relative benefits. The default allocation bases by cost pool are described in section B.3.c of this Appendix.
b. Identification of indirect costs. Cost groupings must be established so as to permit the allocation of each grouping on the basis of benefits provided to the major functions. Each grouping must constitute a pool of expenses that are of like character in terms of functions they benefit and in terms of the allocation base which best measures the relative benefits provided to each function. The groupings are classified within the two broad categories: “Facilities” and “Administration,” as described in section A.3 of this Appendix. The indirect cost pools are defined as follows:
(1) Depreciation. The expenses under this heading are the portion of the costs of the organization's buildings, capital improvements to land and buildings, and equipment which are computed in accordance with § 200.436.
(2) Interest. Interest on debt associated with certain buildings, equipment and capital improvements are computed in accordance with § 200.449.
(3) Operation and maintenance expenses. The expenses under this heading are those that have been incurred for the administration, operation, maintenance, preservation, and protection of the organization's physical plant. They include expenses normally incurred for such items as: janitorial and utility services; repairs and ordinary or normal alterations of buildings, furniture and equipment; care of grounds; maintenance and operation of buildings and other plant facilities; security; earthquake and disaster preparedness; environmental safety; hazardous waste disposal; property, liability and other insurance relating to property; space and capital leasing; facility planning and management; and central receiving. The operation and maintenance expenses category must also include its allocable share of fringe benefit costs, depreciation, and interest costs.
(4) General administration and general expenses. The expenses under this heading are those that have been incurred for the overall general executive and administrative offices of the organization and other expenses of a general nature which do not relate solely to any major function of the organization. This category must also include its allocable share of fringe benefit costs, operation and maintenance expense, depreciation, and interest costs. Examples of this category include central offices, such as the director's office, the office of finance, business services, budget and planning, personnel, safety and risk management, general counsel, management information systems, and library costs.
In developing this cost pool, special care should be exercised to ensure that costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances are treated consistently as either direct or indirect costs. For example, salaries of technical staff, project supplies, project publication, telephone toll charges, computer costs, travel costs, and specialized services costs must be treated as direct costs wherever identifiable to a particular program. The salaries and wages of administrative and pooled clerical staff should normally be treated as indirect costs. Direct charging of these costs may be appropriate as described in § 200.413. Items such as office supplies, postage, local telephone costs, periodicals and memberships should normally be treated as indirect costs.
c. Allocation bases. Actual conditions must be taken into account in selecting the base to be used in allocating the expenses in each grouping to benefitting functions. The essential consideration in selecting a method or a base is that it is the one best suited for assigning the pool of costs to cost objectives in accordance with benefits derived; a traceable cause and effect relationship; or logic and reason, where neither the cause nor the effect of the relationship is determinable. When an allocation can be made by assignment of a cost grouping directly to the function benefitted, the allocation must be made in that manner. When the expenses in a cost grouping are more general in nature, the allocation must be made through the use of a selected base which produces results that are equitable to both the Federal Government and the organization. The distribution must be made in accordance with the bases described herein unless it can be demonstrated that the use of a different base would result in a more equitable allocation of the costs, or that a more readily available base would not increase the costs charged to Federal awards. The results of special cost studies (such as an engineering utility study) must not be used to determine and allocate the indirect costs to Federal awards.
(1) Depreciation. Depreciation expenses must be allocated in the following manner:
(a) Depreciation on buildings used exclusively in the conduct of a single function, and on capital improvements and equipment used in such buildings, must be assigned to that function.
(b) Depreciation on buildings used for more than one function, and on capital improvements and equipment used in such buildings, must be allocated to the individual functions performed in each building on the basis of usable square feet of space, excluding common areas, such as hallways, stairwells, and restrooms.
(c) Depreciation on buildings, capital improvements and equipment related space (e.g., individual rooms, and laboratories) used jointly by more than one function (as determined by the users of the space) must be treated as follows. The cost of each jointly used unit of space must be allocated to the benefitting functions on the basis of:
(i) the employees and other users on a full-time equivalent (FTE) basis or salaries and wages of those individual functions benefitting from the use of that space; or
(ii) organization-wide employee FTEs or salaries and wages applicable to the benefitting functions of the organization.
(d) Depreciation on certain capital improvements to land, such as paved parking areas, fences, sidewalks, and the like, not included in the cost of buildings, must be allocated to user categories on a FTE basis and distributed to major functions in proportion to the salaries and wages of all employees applicable to the functions.
(2) Interest. Interest costs must be allocated in the same manner as the depreciation on the buildings, equipment and capital equipment to which the interest relates.
(3) Operation and maintenance expenses. Operation and maintenance expenses must be allocated in the same manner as the depreciation.
(4) General administration and general expenses. General administration and general expenses must be allocated to benefitting functions based on modified total costs (MTC). The MTC is the modified total direct costs (MTDC), as described in § 200.1, plus the allocated indirect cost proportion. The expenses included in this category could be grouped first according to major functions of the organization to which they render services or provide benefits. The aggregate expenses of each group must then be allocated to benefitting functions based on MTC.
d. Order of distribution.
(1) Indirect cost categories consisting of depreciation, interest, operation and maintenance, and general administration and general expenses must be allocated in that order to the remaining indirect cost categories as well as to the major functions of the organization. Other cost categories should be allocated in the order determined to be most appropriate by the organization. This order of allocation does not apply if cross allocation of costs is made as provided in section B.3.d.2 of this Appendix.
(2) Normally, an indirect cost category will be considered closed once it has been allocated to other cost objectives, and costs must not be subsequently allocated to it. However, a cross allocation of costs between two or more indirect costs categories could be used if such allocation will result in a more equitable allocation of costs. If a cross allocation is used, an appropriate modification to the composition of the indirect cost categories is required.
e. Application of indirect cost rate or rates. Except where a special indirect cost rate(s) is required in accordance with section B.5 of this Appendix, the separate groupings of indirect costs allocated to each major function must be aggregated and treated as a common pool for that function. The costs in the common pool must then be distributed to individual Federal awards included in that function by use of a single indirect cost rate.
f. Distribution basis. Indirect costs must be distributed to applicable Federal awards and other benefitting activities within each major function on the basis of MTDC (see definition in § 200.1).
g. Individual Rate Components. An indirect cost rate must be determined for each separate indirect cost pool developed. The rate in each case must be stated as the percentage which the amount of the particular indirect cost pool is of the distribution base identified with that pool. Each indirect cost rate negotiation or determination agreement must include development of the rate for each indirect cost pool as well as the overall indirect cost rate. The indirect cost pools must be classified within two broad categories: “Facilities” and “Administration,” as described in § 200.414(a).
a. Some nonprofit organizations treat all costs as direct costs except general administration and general expenses. These organizations generally separate their costs into three basic categories: (i) General administration and general expenses, (ii) fundraising, and (iii) other direct functions (including projects performed under Federal awards). Joint costs, such as depreciation, rental costs, operation and maintenance of facilities, telephone expenses, and the like are prorated individually as direct costs to each category and to each Federal award or other activity using a base most appropriate to the particular cost being prorated.
b. This method is acceptable, provided each joint cost is prorated using a base which accurately measures the benefits provided to each Federal award or other activity. The bases must be established in accordance with reasonable criteria and be supported by current data. This method is compatible with the Standards of Accounting and Financial Reporting for Voluntary Health and Welfare Organizations issued jointly by the National Health Council, Inc., the National Assembly of Voluntary Health and Social Welfare Organizations, and the United Way of America.
c. Under this method, indirect costs consist exclusively of general administration and general expenses. In all other respects, the organization's indirect cost rates must be computed in the same manner as that described in section B.2 of this Appendix.
In some instances, a single indirect cost rate for all activities of an organization or for each major function of the organization may not be appropriate, since it would not take into account those different factors which may substantially affect the indirect costs applicable to a particular segment of work. For this purpose, a particular segment of work may be that performed under a single Federal award or it may consist of work under a group of Federal awards performed in a common environment. These factors may include the physical location of the work, the level of administrative support required, the nature of the facilities or other resources employed, the scientific disciplines or technical skills involved, the organizational arrangements used, or any combination thereof. When a particular segment of work is performed in an environment which appears to generate a significantly different level of indirect costs, provisions should be made for a separate indirect cost pool applicable to such work. The separate indirect cost pool should be developed during the course of the regular allocation process, and the separate indirect cost rate resulting therefrom should be used, provided it is determined that (i) the rate differs significantly from that which would have been obtained under sections B.2, B.3, and B.4 of this Appendix, and (ii) the volume of work to which the rate would apply is material.
As used in this section, the following terms have the meanings set forth in this section:
a. Cognizant agency for indirect costs means the Federal agency responsible for negotiating and approving indirect cost rates for a nonprofit organization on behalf of all Federal agencies.
b. Predetermined rate means an indirect cost rate, applicable to a specified current or future period, usually the organization's fiscal year. The rate is based on an estimate of the costs to be incurred during the period. A predetermined rate is not subject to adjustment.
c. Fixed rate means an indirect cost rate which has the same characteristics as a predetermined rate, except that the difference between the estimated costs and the actual costs of the period covered by the rate is carried forward as an adjustment to the rate computation of a subsequent period.
d. Final rate means an indirect cost rate applicable to a specified past period which is based on the actual costs of the period. A final rate is not subject to adjustment.
e. Provisional rate or billing rate means a temporary indirect cost rate applicable to a specified period which is used for funding, interim reimbursement, and reporting indirect costs on Federal awards pending the establishment of a final rate for the period.
f. Indirect cost proposal means the documentation prepared by an organization to substantiate its claim for the reimbursement of indirect costs. This proposal provides the basis for the review and negotiation leading to the establishment of an organization's indirect cost rate.
g. Cost objective means a function, organizational subdivision, contract, Federal award, or other work unit for which cost data are desired and for which provision is made to accumulate and measure the cost of processes, projects, jobs and capitalized projects.
a. Unless different arrangements are agreed to by the Federal agencies concerned, the Federal agency with the largest dollar value of Federal awards directly funded to an organization will be designated as the cognizant agency for indirect costs for the negotiation and approval of the indirect cost rates and, where necessary, other rates such as fringe benefit and computer charge-out rates. Once an agency is assigned cognizance for a particular nonprofit organization, the assignment will not be changed unless there is a shift in the dollar volume of the Federal awards directly funded to the organization for at least three years. All concerned Federal agencies must be given the opportunity to participate in the negotiation process but, after a rate has been agreed upon, it will be accepted by all Federal agencies. When a Federal agency has reason to believe that special operating factors affecting its Federal awards necessitate special indirect cost rates in accordance with section B.5 of this Appendix, it will, prior to the time the rates are negotiated, notify the cognizant agency for indirect costs. (See also § 200.414.) If the nonprofit does not receive any funding from any Federal agency, the pass-through entity is responsible for the negotiation of the indirect cost rates in accordance with § 200.332(a)(4).
b. Except as otherwise provided in § 200.414(f), a nonprofit organization which has not previously established an indirect cost rate with a Federal agency must submit its initial indirect cost proposal immediately after the organization is advised that a Federal award will be made and, in no event, later than three months after the effective date of the Federal award.
c. Unless approved by the cognizant agency for indirect costs in accordance with § 200.414(g), organizations that have previously established indirect cost rates must submit a new indirect cost proposal to the cognizant agency for indirect costs within six months after the close of each fiscal year.
d. A predetermined rate may be negotiated for use on Federal awards where there is reasonable assurance, based on past experience and reliable projection of the organization's costs, that the rate is not likely to exceed a rate based on the organization's actual costs.
e. Fixed rates may be negotiated where predetermined rates are not considered appropriate. A fixed rate, however, must not be negotiated if (i) all or a substantial portion of the organization's Federal awards are expected to expire before the carry-forward adjustment can be made; (ii) the mix of Federal and non-Federal work at the organization is too erratic to permit an equitable carry-forward adjustment; or (iii) the organization's operations fluctuate significantly from year to year.
f. Provisional and final rates must be negotiated where neither predetermined nor fixed rates are appropriate. Predetermined or fixed rates may replace provisional rates at any time prior to the close of the organization's fiscal year. If that event does not occur, a final rate will be established and upward or downward adjustments will be made based on the actual allowable costs incurred for the period involved.
g. The results of each negotiation must be formalized in a written agreement between the cognizant agency for indirect costs and the nonprofit organization. The cognizant agency for indirect costs must make available copies of the agreement to all concerned Federal agencies.
h. If a dispute arises in a negotiation of an indirect cost rate between the cognizant agency for indirect costs and the nonprofit organization, the dispute must be resolved in accordance with the appeals procedures of the cognizant agency for indirect costs.
i. To the extent that problems are encountered among the Federal agencies in connection with the negotiation and approval process, OMB will lend assistance as required to resolve such problems in a timely manner.
(1) Required Certification. No proposal to establish indirect (F&A) cost rates must be acceptable unless such costs have been certified by the nonprofit organization using the Certificate of Indirect (F&A) Costs set forth in section j. of this appendix. The certificate must be signed on behalf of the organization by an individual at a level no lower than vice president or chief financial officer for the organization.
(2) Each indirect cost rate proposal must be accompanied by a certification in the following form:
This is to certify that to the best of my knowledge and belief:
(1) I have reviewed the indirect (F&A) cost proposal submitted herewith;
(2) All costs included in this proposal [identify date] to establish billing or final indirect (F&A) costs rate for [identify period covered by rate] are allowable in accordance with the requirements of the Federal awards to which they apply and with subpart E of this part.
(3) This proposal does not include any costs which are unallowable under subpart E of this part such as (without limitation): Public relations costs, contributions and donations, entertainment costs, fines and penalties, lobbying costs, and defense of fraud proceedings; and
(4) All costs included in this proposal are properly allocable to Federal awards on the basis of a beneficial or causal relationship between the expenses incurred and the Federal awards to which they are allocated in accordance with applicable requirements.
I declare that the foregoing is true and correct.