48 CFR 32.406 - Letters of credit.
(a) The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) prescribes regulations and instructions covering the use of letters of credit for advance payments under contracts. See Treasury Department Circular 1075 ( 31 CFR part 205), and the implementing instructions in the Treasury Financial Manual, available in offices providing financial advice and assistance.
(b) If agencies provide advance payments to contractors, use of the following methods is required unless the agency has obtained a waiver from the Treasury Department:
(1) By letter of credit if the contracting agency expects to have a continuing relationship with the contractor for a year or more, with advances totaling at least $120,000 a year.
(2) By direct Treasury check if the circumstances do not meet the criteria in subparagraph (1) above.
(c) If the agency has entered into multiple contracts (or a combination of contract(s) and assistance agreement(s)) involving eligibility of a contractor for more than one letter of credit, the agency shall follow arrangements made under Treasury procedures for (1) consolidating funding to the same contractor under one letter of credit or (2) replacing multiple letters of credit with a single letter of credit.
(d) The letter of credit enables the contractor to withdraw Government funds in amounts needed to cover its own disbursements of cash for contract performance. Whenever feasible, the agency shall, under the direction and approval of the Department of the Treasury, use a letter of credit method that requires the contractor not to withdraw the Government funds until the contractor's checks have been (1) forwarded to the payees (delay of drawdown technique), or (2) presented to the contractor's bank for payment (checks paid technique) (see 31 CFR 205.3 and 205.4(d)).
(e) The Treasury regulations provide for terminating the advance financing arrangement if the contractor is unwilling or unable to minimize the elapsed time between receipt of the advance and disbursement of the funds. In such cases, if reversion to normal payment methods is not feasible, the Treasury regulation provides for use of a working capital method of advance; i.e., for limiting advances to (1) only the estimated disbursements for a given initial period and (2) subsequently, for only actual cash disbursements ( 31 CFR 205.3(k) and 205.7).