48 CFR 9904.418-50 - Techniques for application.
(a) Determination of direct cost and indirect cost.
(1) The business unit's written policy classifying costs as direct or indirect shall be in conformity with the requirements of this Standard.
(i) Standard costs for material and labor may be used as provided in 9904.407; or
(ii) An average cost or pre-established rate for labor may be used provided that:
(A) The functions performed are not materially disparate and employees involved are interchangeable with respect to the functions performed, or
(B) The functions performed are materially disparate but the employees involved either all work in a single production unit yielding homogeneous outputs, or perform their respective functions as an integral team.
(3) Labor or material costs identified specifically with one of the particular cost objectives listed in paragraph (d)(3) of this subsection shall be accounted for as direct labor or direct material costs.
(b) Homogeneous indirect cost pools.
(1) An indirect cost pool is homogeneous if each significant activity whose costs are included therein has the same or a similar beneficial or causal relationship to cost objectives as the other activities whose costs are included in the cost pool. It is also homogeneous if the allocation of the costs of the activities included in the cost pool result in an allocation to cost objectives which is not materially different from the allocation that would result if the costs of the activities were allocated separately.
(2) An indirect cost pool is not homogeneous if the costs of all significant activities in the cost pool do not have the same or a similar beneficial or causal relationship to cost objectives and, if the costs were allocated separately, the resulting allocation would be materially different. The determination of materiality shall be made using the criteria provided in 9903.305.
(c) Change in allocation base. No change in an existing indirect cost pool allocation base is required if the allocation resulting from the existing base does not differ materially from the allocation that results from the use of the base determined to be most appropriate in accordance with the criteria set forth in paragraphs (d) and (e) of this subsection. The determination of materiality shall be made using the criteria provided in Subpart 9903.305.
(d) Allocation measures for an indirect cost pool which includes a material amount of the costs of management or supervision of activities involving direct labor or direct material costs.
(1) The costs of the management or supervision of activities involving direct labor or direct material costs do not have a direct and definitive relationship to the benefiting cost objectives and cannot be allocated on measures of a specific beneficial or causal relationship. In that circumstance, the base selected to measure the allocation of the pooled costs to cost objectives shall be a base representative of the activity being managed or supervised.
(2) The base used to represent the activity being managed or supervised shall be determined by the application of the criteria below. All significant elements of the selected base shall be included.
(i) A direct labor hour base or direct labor cost base shall be used, whichever in the aggregate is more likely to vary in proportion to the costs included in the cost pool being allocated, except that:
(ii) A machine-hour base is appropriate if the costs in the cost pool are comprised predominantly of facility-related costs, such as depreciation, maintenance, and utilities; or
(iii) A units-of-production base is appropriate if there is common production of comparable units; or
(iv) A material cost base is appropriate if the activity being managed or supervised is a material-related activity.
(i) Final cost objectives;
(ii) Goods produced for stock or product inventory;
(iii) Independent research and development and bid and proposal projects;
(iv) Cost centers used to accumulate costs identified with a process cost system (i.e., process cost centers);
(vi) Self-construction, fabrication, betterment, improvement, or installation of tangible capital assets.
(e) Allocation measures for indirect cost pools that do not include material amounts of the costs of management or supervision of activities involving direct labor or direct material costs. Homogeneous indirect cost pools of this type have a direct and definitive relationship between the activities in the pool and benefiting cost objectives. The pooled costs shall be allocated using an appropriate measure of resource consumption. This determination shall be made in accordance with the following criteria taking into consideration the individual circumstances:
(1) The best representation of the beneficial or causal relationship between an indirect cost pool and the benefiting cost objectives is a measure of resource consumption of the activities of the indirect cost pool.
(i) If consumption measures are unavailable or impractical to ascertain, the next best representation of the beneficial or causal relationship for allocation is a measure of the output of the activities of the indirect cost pool. Thus, the output is substituted for a direct measure of the consumption of resources.
(ii) The use of the basic unit of output will not reflect the proportional consumption of resources in circumstances in which the level of resource consumption varies among the units of output produced. Where a material difference will result, either the output measure shall be modified or more than one output measure shall be used to reflect the resources consumed to perform the activity.
(3) If neither resources consumed nor output of the activities can be measured practically, a surrogate that varies in proportion to the services received shall be used to measure the resources consumed. Generally, such surrogates measure the activity of the cost objectives receiving the service.
(4) Allocation of indirect cost pools which benefit one another may be accomplished by use of:
(i) The cross-allocation (reciprocal) method,
(ii) The sequential method, or
(iii) Another method the results of which approximate those achieved by either of the methods in subdivisions (e)(4)(i) or (e)(4)(ii) of this subsection.
(5) Where the activities represented by an indirect cost pool provide services to two or more cost objectives simultaneously, the cost of such services shall be prorated between or among the cost objectives in reasonable proportion to the beneficial or causal relationship between the services and the cost objectives.
(f) Special allocation. Where a particular cost objective in relation to other cost objectives receives significantly more or less benefit from an indirect cost pool than would be reflected by the allocation of such costs using a base determined pursuant to paragraphs (d) and (e) of this subsection, the Government and contractor may agree to a special allocation from that indirect cost pool to the particular cost objective commensurate with the benefits received. The amount of a special allocation to any such cost objective made pursuant to such an agreement shall be excluded from the indirect cost pool and the particular cost objective's allocation base data shall be excluded from the base used to allocate the pool.
(g) Use of preestablished rates for indirect costs.
(2) Preestablished rates shall reflect the costs and activities anticipated for the cost accounting period except as provided in paragraph (g)(3) of this subsection. Such preestablished rates shall be reviewed at least annually, and revised as necessary to reflect the anticipated conditions.
(3) The contracting parties may agree on preestablished rates which are not based on costs and activities anticipated for a cost accounting period. The contractor shall have and consistently apply written policies for the establishment of these rates.
(4) Under paragraphs (g) (2) and (3) of this subsection where variances of a cost accounting period are material, these variances shall be disposed of by allocating them to cost objectives in proportion to the costs previously allocated to these cost objectives by use of the preestablished rates.
(5) If preestablished rates are revised during a cost accounting period and if the variances accumulated to the time of the revision are significant, the costs allocated to that time shall be adjusted to the amounts which would have been allocated using the revised preestablished rates.