7 CFR Appendix A to Part 277 - Principles for Determining Costs Applicable to Administration of SNAP by State Agencies

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Appendix A to Part 277 - Principles for Determining Costs Applicable to Administration of SNAP by State Agencies

This appendix sets forth the procedures implementing uniform requirements for the negotiations and approval of cost allocation plans with State agencies, in accordance with the provisions of Federal Management Circular (FMC) 74-4 and OASC-10, “Cost Principles and Procedures for Establishing Cost Allocation Plans and Indirect Cost Rates for Grants and Contracts with the Federal Government,” U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. This material is adapted substantially from the circular; changes have been made only when necessary in order to conform with legislative constraints.

(A) Purpose and scope.

(1) Objectives. This appendix sets forth principles for determining the allowable costs of administering SNAP by State agency under FNS-approved State Plans of Operation. The principles are for the purpose of cost determination and are not intended to identify the circumstances or dictate the extent of Federal and State or local participation in the financing of the Program. They are designed to provide that all federally assisted programs bear their fair share of costs recognized under these principles, except where restricted or prohibited by law. No provision for profit or other increment above cost is intended.

(2) Policy guides. The application of these principles is based on the fundamental premises that:

(a) State agencies are responsible for the efficient and effective administration of SNAP through the application of sound management practice.

(b) The State agency assumes the responsibility for seeing that SNAP funds have been expended and accounted for consistent with underlying agreements and program objectives.

(c) Each State agency, in recognition of its own unique combination of staff facilities and experience, will have the primary responsibility for employing whatever form of organization and management techniques as may be necessary to assure proper and efficient administration.

(3) Application. These principles will be applied by FNS in determining costs incurred by State agencies receiving FNS payments for administering SNAP.

(B) Definitions.

Approval or authorization by FNS means documentation evidencing consent prior to incurring specific costs.

Cognizant Federal Agency means the Federal agency recognized by OMB as having the predominate interest in terms of program dollars.

Cost allocation plan means the documentation identifying, accumulating, and distributing allowable costs of program administration together with the allocation methods used.

Cost, as used herein, means cost as determined on a cash, accrual, or other basis acceptable to FNS as a discharge of the State agency's accountability for FNS funds.

Cost center means a pool, summary account, objective or area established for the accumulation of costs. Such areas include objective organizational units, functions, objects or items of expense, as well as ultimate cost objective(s) including specific costs, products, projects, contracts, programs and other operations.

Federal agency means FNS and also any department, agency, commission, or instrumentality in the executive branch of the Federal Government which makes grants to or contracts with State or local governments.

Payments for administrative costs means reimbursement or advances for costs to State agencies pursuant to any agreement whereby FNS provides funds to carry out programs, services, or activities in connection with administration of SNAP. The principles and policies stated in this appendix as applicable to program payments in general also apply to any State agency obligations under a cost reimbursement type of agreement performed by a subagency, including contracts and subcontracts.

SNAP administration means those activities and operations of the State agency which are necessary to carry out the purposes of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, including any portion of the Program financed by the State agency.

Local unit means any political subdivision of government below the State level.

Other agencies of the State means departments or agencies of the State or local unit which provide goods, facilities, and services to a State agency.

Subagencies means the organization or person to which a State agency makes any payment for acquisition of goods, materials or services for use in administering SNAP and which is accountable to the State agency for the use of the funds provided.

Service, as used herein, means goods and facilities, as well as services.

Supporting services means auxiliary functions necessary to sustain the direct effort of administering the Program. These services may be centralized in the State agency or in some other agency, and include procurement, payroll, personnel functions, maintenance and operation of space, data processing, accounting, budgeting, auditing, mail and messenger service, and the like.

(C) Basic guidelines.

(1) Factors affecting allowability of costs. To be allowable under the Program, costs must meet the following general criteria:

(a) Be necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient administration of the Program, be allocable thereto under these principles, and, except as specifically provided herein, not be a general expense required to carry out the overall responsibilities of State or local governments.

(b) Be authorized or not prohibited under State or local laws or regulations.

(c) Conform to any limitations or exclusions set forth in these principles, Federal Laws, or other governing limitations as to types or amounts of cost items.

(d) Be consistent with policies, regulations, and procedures that apply uniformly to both federally assisted and other activities of the unit of government of which the State agency is a part.

(e) Be accorded consistent treatment through application of generally accepted accounting principles appropriate to the circumstances.

(f) Not be allocable to or included as a cost to any other federally financed program in either the current or a prior period.

(g) Be the net of all applicable credits.

(2) Allocable costs.

(a) A cost allocable to a particular cost objective to the extent of benefits received by such objective.

(b) Any cost allocable to a particular program or cost objective under these principles may not be shifted to other Federal programs to overcome fund deficiencies, avoid restrictions imposed by law or grant agreement, or for other reasons.

(c) Where an allocation of joint cost will ultimately result in charges to the Program, an allocation plan will be required as prescribed in section I of these principles.

(3) Applicable credits.

(a) Applicable credits refer to those receipts or reduction of expenditure-type transactions which offset or reduce expense items allocable to programs as direct or indirect costs. Examples of such transactions are: Purchase discounts; rebates or allowances; recoveries or indemnities on losses; sale of publications, equipment, and scrap; income from personal or incidental services; and adjustments of overpayments or erroneous charges.

(b) Applicable credits may also arise when Federal funds are received or are available from sources other than FNS to finance operations or capital items donated or financed by the Federal Government to fulfill matching requirements under another program. These types of credits should likewise be used to reduce related expenditures in determining the rates or amounts applicable to a given program.

(D) Composition of cost.

(1) Total cost. The total cost of a program is comprised of the allowable direct cost incident to its performance, plus its allocable portion of allowable indirect costs, less applicable credit.

(2) Classification costs. There is no universal rule for classifying certain costs as either direct or indirect under every accounting system. A cost may be direct with respect to some specific service or function, but indirect with respect to a program or other ultimate cost objective. However, it is essential that each item of cost be treated consistently either as a direct or an indirect cost. Specific guides for determining direct and indirect costs allocable under the Program are provided in the section which follows.

(E) Direct costs.

(1) General. Direct costs are those that can be identified specifically with a particular cost objective. These costs may be charged directly to the Program, contracts, or to other programs against which costs are finally lodged. Direct costs may also be charged to cost objectives used for the accumulation of costs pending distribution in the course to programs and other ultimate costs objectives.

(2) Application. Typical direct costs chargeable to the Program are:

(a) Compensation of employees for the time and effort devoted specifically to the administration of the Program.

(b) Cost of materials acquired, consumed, or expended specifically for the purpose of the Program.

(c) Equipment and other approved capital expenditures.

(d) Other items of expense incurred specifically for efficiently and effectively administering the Program.

(e) Service furnished specifically for the Program by other agencies, provided such charges are consistent with criteria outlined in section G of these principles.

(F) Indirect costs.

(1) General. Indirect costs are those (a) incurred for a common or joint purpose benefiting more than one cost objective, and (b) not readily assignable to the cost objectives specifically benefited, without effort disproportionate to the result achieved. The term indirect cost as used herein applies to costs of this type originating in the State agency, as well as those incurred by other departments in supplying goods, services, and facilities, to the State agency. To facilitate equitable distribution of indirect expenses to the cost objectives served, it may be necessary to establish a number of pools of indirect costs within a State agency or in other agencies providing services to a State agency. Indirect cost pools should be distributed to benefiting cost objectives on bases which will produce an equitable result in consideration of relative benefits derived.

(2) State agency indirect costs. All State agency indirect costs, including the various levels of supervision, are eligible for allocation to the program provided they meet the conditions set forth in their principles. In lieu of determining the actual amount of State agency indirect cost allocable to the program the following methods may be used:

(a) Predetermined fixed rates for indirect costs. A predetermined fixed rate for computing indirect costs applicable to program administration may be negotiated annually in situations where the cost experience and other pertinent facts available are deemed sufficient to enable the parties to reach an informed judgment (1) as to the probable level of indirect costs in the State agency during the period to be covered by the negotiated rate, and (2) that the amount allowable under the predetermined rate would not exceed actual indirect costs.

(b) Negotiated lump sum for overhead. A negotiated fixed amount in lieu of indirect costs may be appropriate under circumstances where the benefits derived from a State agency's indirect services cannot be readily determined as in the case of a small self-contained or isolated activity. When this method is used, a determination should be made that the amount negotiated will be approximately the same as the actual indirect cost that may be incurred. Such amounts negotiated in lieu of indirect costs will be treated as an offset to total indirect expenses of the State agency before allocation to remaining activities. The base on which such remaining expenses are allocated should be appropriately adjusted.

(3) Limitation on indirect costs.

(a) Some Federal programs may be subject to laws that limit the amount of indirect cost that may be allowed. Agencies that sponsor programs of this type will establish procedures which will assure that the amount actually allowed for indirect costs under each such program does not exceed the maximum allowable under the statutory limitation or the amount otherwise allowable under these principles, whichever is the smaller.

(b) When the amount allowable under a statutory limitation is less than the amount otherwise allocable as indirect costs under these principles, the amount not recoverable as indirect costs under a program may not be shifted to another federally sponsored program or contract.

(G) Cost incurred by other agencies of the State.

(1) General. The cost of service provided by other agencies may only include allowable direct costs of the service plus a pro rata share of allowable supporting costs and supervision directly required in performing the service, but not supervision of a general nature such as that provided by the head of a department and his staff assistants not directly involved in operations. However, supervision by the head of a department or agency whose sole function is providing the service furnished would be an eligible cost. Supporting costs include those furnished by other units of the supplying department or by other agencies.

(2) Alternative methods of determining indirect cost. In lieu of determining actual indirect cost related to a particular service furnished by other agencies of the State, either of the following alternative methods may be used provided only one method is used for a specific service during the fiscal year involved.

(a) Standard indirect rate. An amount equal to ten percent of direct labor cost in providing the service performed by other agencies of the State (excluding overtime, shift, or holiday premiums, and fringe benefits) may be allowed in lieu of actual allowable indirect cost for that service.

(b) Predetermined fixed rate. A predetermined fixed rate for indirect cost of the unit or activity providing service may be negotiated as set forth in section F(2)(a) of these principles.

(H) Cost incurred by State agency for others. The principles provided in section G will also be used in determining the cost of services provided by the State agency to another agency.

(I) Cost allocation plan.

(1) A cost allocation will be required to support the distribution of any indirect costs. All costs allocable to SNAP under cost allocation plans will be supported by formal accounting records which will substantiate the propriety of eventual charges.

(2) There are two types of cost allocation plans:

(a) Statewide or central service cost allocation plan identifies and distributes the cost of services provided by support organizations to those departments or units participating in Federal programs.

(b) Indirect cost proposals distribute the administrative or joint costs incurred by the State agency and the cost of service allocable to it under the Statewide or central service cost allocation plan in a ratio to all work performed by the State agency. The process involves applying a percentage relationship of indirect cost to direct cost.

(3) Requirements. The cost allocation plan of the State agency shall cover all allocated costs of the department as well as costs to be allocated under plans of other agencies or organizational units which are to be included in the costs of federally sponsored programs. The cost allocation plans of all the agencies rendering services to the State agency, to the extent feasible, should be presented in a single document.

(4) Instructions for preparation of cost allocation plans. The Department of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the other Federal agencies concerned, will be responsible for developing and issuing the instructions for use by State agencies in preparation of cost allocation plans. This responsibility applies to both central support services at the State and local government level and indirect cost proposals of individual State agencies.

(5) Submitting plans for approval.

(a) Responsibility for approving cost allocation plans for individual State agencies has been assigned by the Office of Management and Budget to the cognizant Federal agency.

(b) State cost allocation plans must be submitted to the cognizant Federal agency within six months after the last day of the State's fiscal year. Upon request by the State agency, an extension of time for submittal of the cost allocation plan may be granted by the cognizant Federal agency. It is essential that cost allocation plans be submitted in a timely manner. Failure to submit the plans when required will cause the State agency to become delinquent. In the event a State becomes delinquent, FNS will not provide for the recovery of central service and indirect costs, and such costs already made and claimed against SNAP funds will be subject to disallowance.

(6) Negotiation and approval of cost allocation plans for States. The cognizant Federal agency, in collaboration with Federal agencies concerned, will be responsible for negotiation, approval, and audit of cost allocation plans.

(7) Negotiation and approval of cost allocation plans for local governments. Cost allocation plans will be retained at the local government level for audit by the cognizant Federal agency except in those cases where that agency requests that cost allocation plans be submitted to it for negotiation and approval.

(8) A current list of cognizant Federal agencies is maintained by the Office of Management and Budget.

(9) Resolution of problems. The Office of Management and Budget will lend assistance in resolving problems encountered by Federal agencies on cost allocation plans.

(10) Approval by FNS. FNS reserves the right to disapprove costs not meeting the general criteria outlined in section C of these principles. FNS shall promptly notify the State agency in writing of the disapproval, the reason for the disapproval and the effective date. Costs incurred by State agencies after disapproval may not be charged to FNS unless if FNS subsequently approves the cost.

Standards for Selected Items of Cost

A. Allowable cost. Standards for allowability of costs are established by Federal Management Circular 74-4. These standards will apply regardless of whether a particular item of cost is treated as direct or indirect. Failure to mention a particular item of cost in these standards is not intended to imply that it is either allowable or unallowable. Rather, determination of allowability in each case should be based on the treatment of standards provided for similar or related items of cost. The allowability of the selected items of cost is subject to the general policies and principles as stated in Attachment A to Federal Management Circular 74-4.

(1) Accounting. The cost of establishing and maintaining accounting and other information systems required for the management of SNAP is allowable. This includes costs incurred by central service agencies of the State government for these purposes. The cost of maintaining central accounting records required for overall State or local government purposes, such as appropriation and fund accounts by the Treasurer, Comptroller, or similar officials, is considered to be a general expense of government and is not allowable.

(2) Advertising. Advertising media includes newspapers, magazines, radio and television programs, direct mail, trade papers, and the like. The advertising costs allowable are those which are solely for:

(a) Recruitment of personnel required for the Program;

(b) Solicitation of bids for the procurement of goods and services required;

(c) Disposal of scrap or surplus materials acquired in the performance of the agreement; and

(d) Other purposes specifically provided for by FNS regulations or approved by FNS in the administration of SNAP.

(3) Advisory councils. Costs incurred by State advisory councils or committees established to carry out SNAP goals are allowable. The cost of like organizations is allowable when used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Program.

(4) Audit service. The cost of audits necessary for the administration and management of functions related to the Program is allowable.

(5) Bonding. Costs of premiums on bonds covering employees who handle SNAP funds or food coupons are allowable. The amount of allowable coverage shall be limited to the anticipated maximum amount of SNAP funds or food coupons handled at one time by that employee.

(6) Budgeting. Costs incurred for the development, preparation, and execution of budgets are allowable. Costs for services of a central budget office are generally not allowable since these are costs of general government. However, where employees of the central budget office actively participate in the State agency's budget process, the cost of services identifiable to SNAP are allowable.

(7) Building lease management. The administrative cost for lease management which includes review of lease proposals, maintenance of a list of available property for lease, and related activities is allowable.

(8) Central stores. The cost of maintaining and operating a central stores organization for supplies, equipment, and materials used either directly or indirectly for SNAP is allowable.

(9) Communications. Communication costs incurred for telephone calls or service, telegraph, teletype service, wide area telephone service (WATS), centrex, telpak (tie lines), postage, messenger service and similar expenses are allowable.

(10) Compensation for personal services.

(a) General. Compensation for personal services includes all remuneration, paid currently or accrued, for services rendered during the period of performance in the administration of the program including but not necessarily limited to wages, salaries, and supplementary compensation and benefits as defined in section A.(13) of these principles. The costs of such compensation are allowable to the extent that total compensation for individual employees: is reasonable for the services rendered; follows an appointment made in accordance with State or local government laws and rules and which meets Federal Merit System or other requirements, where applicable; and is determined and supported as provided in section A of these principles. Compensation for employees engaged in federally assisted activities will be considered reasonable to the extent that it is consistent with that paid for similar work in other activities of the State or local government. In cases where the kinds of employees required for SNAP activities are not found in the other activities of the State or local government, compensation will be considered reasonable to the extent that it is comparable to that paid for similar work in the labor market in which the employing government competes for the kind of employees involved. Compensation surveys providing data representative of the labor market involved will be an acceptable basis for evaluating reasonableness.

(b) Payroll and distribution of time. Amounts charged to the program for personal services, regardless of whether treated as direct or indirect costs, will be based on payrolls documented and approved in accordance with the generally accepted practice of the State or local agency. Payrolls must be supported by time and attendence or equivalent records for individual employees. Distribution of salaries and wages of employees chargeable to more than one program or other cost objective will be supported by appropriate time reports or approved time study methodologies. The method used should be included in the cost allocation plan and should be approved by FNS.

(11) Depreciation and use allowance.

(a) State agencies may be compensated for the use of buildings, capital improvements, and equipment through use allowances or depreciation. Use allowances are the means of providing compensation in lieu of depreciation or other equivalent costs. However, a combination of the two methods may not be used in connection with a single class of fixed assets.

(b) The computation of depreciation or use allowances will be based on acquisition cost. Where actual cost records have not been maintained, a reasonable estimate of the original acquisition cost may be used in the computation. The computation will exclude the cost of any portion of the cost of buildings and equipment donated or borne directly or indirectly by the Federal Government through charges to Federal programs or otherwise, irrespective of where title was originally vested or where it presently resides. In addition, the computation will also exclude the cost of acquisition of land. Depreciation or a use allowance on idle or excess facilities is not allowable, except when specifically authorized by FNS.

(c) Where the depreciation method is followed, adequate property records must be maintained, and any generally accepted method of computing depreciation may be used. However, the method of computing depreciation must be consistently applied for any specific asset or class of assets for all affected federally sponsored programs and must result in equitable charges considering the extent of the use of the assets for the benefit of such programs.

(d) In lieu of depreciation, a use allowance for buildings and improvements may be computed at an annual rate not exceeding two percent of acquisition cost. The use allowance for equipment (excluding items properly capitalized as building cost) will be computed at an annual rate not exceeding six and two-thirds percent of acquisition cost of usable equipment.

(e) No depreciation or use charge may be allowed on any assets that would be considered as fully depreciated, provided, however, that reasonable use charges may be negotiated for any such assets if warranted after taking into consideration the cost of the facility or item involved, the estimated useful life remaining at time of negotiation, the effect of any increased maintenance charges or decreased efficiency due to age, and any other factors pertinent to the utilization of the facility or item for the purpose contemplated.

(12) Disbursing service. The cost of disbursing program funds by the State Treasurer or other designated officer is allowable. Disbursing services cover the processing of checks or warrants, from preparation to redemption, including the necessary records of accountability and reconciliation of such records with related cash accounts.

(13) Employee fringe benefits. Costs identified are allowable to the extent that total compensation for employees is reasonable as defined in paragraph (10)(a) of these principles.

(a) Employee benefits in the form of regular compensation paid to employees during periods of authorized absences from the job, such as for annual leave, sick leave, court leave, military leave, and the like, if they are provided pursuant to an approved leave system, and the cost thereof is equitably allocated to all related activities, including federally assisted programs.

(b) Employee benefits in the form of employers' contributions or expense for social security, employees' life and health insurance plans, unemployment insurance coverage, workers' compensation insurance, pension plans, severance pay, and the like, provided such benefits are granted under approved plans and are distributed equitably to programs and to other activities.

(14) Employee morale, health And welfare costs. The costs of health or first-aid clinics and/or infirmaries, recreational facilities, employees' counseling services, employee information publications, and any related expenses incurred in accordance with general State or local policy, are allowable. Income generated from any of these activities will be offset against expenses.

(15) Exhibits. Costs of exhibits relating specifically to SNAP are allowable.

(16) Legal expenses. The cost of legal expenses required in the administration of the program is allowable. Legal services furnished by the chief legal officer of a State or local government or his staff solely for the purpose of discharging his general responsibilities as legal officer are unallowable. Legal expenses for the prosecution of claims against the Federal Government is unallowable.

(17) Maintenance and repair. Costs incurred for necessary maintenance, repair, or upkeep of property which neither add to the permanent value of the property nor appreciably prolong its intended life, but keep it in an efficient operating condition, are allowable.

(18) Materials and supplies. The cost of materials and supplies necessary to carry out the program is allowable. Purchases made specifically for the program should be charged thereto at their actual prices after deducting all cash discounts, trade discounts, rebates, and allowances received by the State agency. Withdrawals from general stores or stockrooms should be charged at cost under any recognized method of pricing consistently applied. Incoming transportation charges are a proper part of material cost.

(19) Memberships, subscriptions and professional activities.

(a) The cost of membership in civic, business, technical, and professional organizations is allowable, provided:

(i) The benefit from the membership is related to the program,

(ii) The expenditure is for agency membership,

(iii) The cost of the membership is reasonably related to the value of the services or benefits received, and

(iv) The expenditure is not for membership in an organization which devotes a substantial part of its activities to influencing legislation.

(b) Reference material. The cost of books, and subscriptions to civic, business, professional, and technical periodicals is allowable when related to the program.

(c) Meetings and conferences. Costs are allowable when the primary purpose of the meeting is the dissemination of technical information relating to the program and they are consistent with regular practices followed for other activities of the State agency.

(20) Motor pools. The costs of a service organization which provides automobiles to user State agencies at a mileage or fixed rate and/or provides vehicle maintenance, inspection and repair services are allowable.

(21) Payroll preparation. The cost of preparing payrolls and maintaining necessary wage records is allowable.

(22) Personnel administration. Costs for the recruitment, examination, certification, classification, training, establishment of pay standards, and related activities for the program are allowable.

(23) Printing and reproduction. Cost for printing and reproduction services necessary for program administration including but not limited to forms, reports, manuals, and information literature, is allowable. Publication costs of reports or other media relating to program accomplishments or results are allowable.

(24) Procurement service. The cost of procurement service, including solicitation of bids, preparation and award of contracts, and all phases of contract administration in providing goods, facilities and services for the program is allowable.

(25) Prosecution activities. The costs of investigations and prosecutions of intentional SNAP violations are allowable. Costs of investigation, prosecution, or claims collection which are performed by agencies other than the State agency shall be based on a formal agreement between the State or local agency and provider agency. These interagency agreements shall meet the requirements of this part in regard to allowable charges. Funding under these interagency agreements shall be provided by the State agency from their funds and funds made available by FNS.

(26) Taxes. In general, taxes or payments in lieu of taxes which the State agency is legally required to pay are allowable.

(27) Training and education. The cost of in-service training, customarily provided for employee development which directly or indirectly benefits the program is allowable. Out-of-service training involving extended periods of time is allowable only when specifically authorized by FNS.

(28) Transportation. Costs incurred for freight, cartage, express, postage, and other transportation costs relating either to goods purchased, delivered, or moved from one location to another are allowable.

(29) Travel. Travel costs are allowable for expenses for transportation, lodging, subsistence, and related items incurred by employees who are in travel status on official business incident to the program. Such costs may be charged on an actual basis, on a per diem or mileage basis in lieu of actual costs incurred, or on a combination of the two. The charges must be consistent with those normally allowed in like circumstances in nonfederally sponsored activities. The difference in cost between first-class air accommodations and less-than-first-class air accommodations is unallowable except when less-than-first-class air accommodations are not reasonably available. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs C (7) and (10), travel costs of officials covered by those paragraphs, when specifically related to grant programs, are allowable with the prior approval of a grantor agency.

B. Costs allowable with approval of FNS.

(1) Automated Data Processing. The costs of acquiring data processing equipment and services used in the administration of SNAP are allowable. The costs of ADP equipment and services acquisitions which exceed the prior approval cost thresholds specified in § 277.18(c) are allowable upon the prior written approval of FNS. Requests for prior approval of such costs shall be in accordance with the provisions of § 277.18.

(2) Building space and related facilities. The cost of space in privately or publicly owned buildings used for the benefit of the Program is allowable subject to the following conditions.

(a) The total cost of space, whether in a privately or publicly owned building, may not exceed the rental cost of comparable space and facilities in a privately owned building in the same locality.

(b) The cost of space may not be charged to FNS for periods of nonoccupancy, without authorization of FNS.

(i) Rental cost. The rental cost of space in a privately-owned building is allowable.

(ii) Maintenance and operation. The cost of utilities, insurance, security, janitorial services, elevator service, upkeep of grounds, normal repairs and alterations and the like, are allowable to the extent they are not otherwise included in rental or other charges for space.

(iii) Rearrangements and alterations. Costs incurred for rearrangement and alteration of facilities required specifically for the program or those that materially increase the value or useful life of the facilities (section B(3) of these principles) are allowable when specifically approved by FNS.

(iv) Depreciation and use allowances on publicly owned buildings. These costs are allowable as provided in paragraph A(11) of these principles.

(v) Occupancy of space under rental-purchase or a lease with option-to-purchase agreement. The cost of space procured under such arrangements is allowable when specifically approved by FNS.

(3) Capital expenditures. The cost, net of any credits, of facilities, equipment, other capital assets, and repairs which materially increase the value or useful life of capital assets, and/or of nonexpendable personal property, having a useful life of more than one year and a net acquisition cost of more than $5,000 per unit after allocation to FNS as projected for one year after purchase, is allowable when such procurement is specifically approved by FNS. No such approval shall be granted unless the State agency shall demonstrate to FNS that such a cost is:

(a) Necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient administration of the program, and allocable thereto under the principles provided herein; and

(b) That procurement of such item or items has been or will be made in accordance with the standards set out in § 277.14. In no case shall such a cost become a program charge against FNS prior to approval in writing by FNS of the procurement and the cost. When assets acquired with SNAP funds are (i) sold, (ii) no longer available for use in a federally sponsored program, or (iii) used for purposes not authorized by FNS, FNS's equity in the asset will be refunded in the same proportion as Federal participation in its cost. In case any assets are traded on new items, only the net cost of the newly acquired assets is allowable.

(4) Insurance.

(a) Cost of insurance to secure the State agency against financial losses involved in the acceptance, storage, and issuance of food coupons and ATP cards is allowable with FNS approval.

(b) Costs of other insurance in connection with the general conduct of activities are allowable subject to the following limitations:

(i) Types and extent and cost of coverage will be in accordance with general State or local government policy and sound business practice.

(ii) Costs of insurance or contributions to any reserve covering the risk of loss of, or damage to, Federal Government property are unallowable except to the extent that FNS approves such cost.

(5) Management studies. The cost of management studies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of program management for SNAP is allowable. However, FNS must approve cost in excess of $2,500 for studies performed by outside consultants or agencies other than the State agency.

(6) Preagreement costs. Costs incurred prior to the effective date of approval of the amended indirect cost proposal or the revised Statewide cost allocation plan, whether or not they would have been allowable thereunder if incurred after such date, are allowable only when subsequently provided for in the plan or approved indirect cost proposal.

(7) Professional services. Cost of professional services rendered by individuals or organizations not a part of the State agency is allowable. Prior authorization must be obtained from FNS for cost exceeding a total of $2,500.

(8) Proposal costs. Costs of preparing indirect cost proposals or amendments for allocating, distributing, and implementing provisions for payment of portions of the costs of administering SNAP by the State agency are allowable.

(9) Cost incurred by agencies other than the State. The cost of services provided by other agencies (including municipal governments) may only include allowable direct costs plus a pro rata share of allowable supporting costs and supervision directly required in performing the service. Allowable supporting costs are those services which may be centralized and includes such functions as procurement, payroll, personnel services, maintenance and operation of space, data processing, accounting, budgeting, auditing, mail and messenger service and the like. Supervision costs will not include supervision of a general nature such as that provided by the head of a department and his staff assistants not directly involved in the operation of the program. In lieu of determining actual indirect cost related to a particular service performed by another agency, either of the following alternative methods may be used during the fiscal year involved and is specifically provided for in the indirect cost proposal:

(a) Standard indirect rate equal to ten percent of direct labor cost in providing the service (excluding overtime, shift or holiday premiums, and fringe benefits) may be allowed in lieu of actual allowable cost.

(b) A predetermined fixed rate for indirect cost of the unit or activity providing service may be negotiated.

C. Unallowable costs. The following costs shall not be allowable:

(1) Costs of determining SNAP eligibility incidental to the determination of TANF eligibility are not chargeable to FNS.

(2) Bad debts. Any losses arising from uncollectible accounts or other claims, and related costs, are unallowable.

(3) Contingencies. Contributions to a contingency reserve or any similar provision for unforeseen events are unallowable.

(4) Contributions and donations. Unallowable.

(5) Entertainment. Costs whose purpose is for amusement, social activities, and incidental costs relating thereto, such as meals, beverages, lodgings, rentals, transportation, and gratuities are unallowable.

(6) Fines and penalties. Costs resulting from violations of or failure to comply with Federal, State and local laws and regulations are unallowable.

(7) Governor's expenses. The salaries and expenses of the Office of the Governor of a State or the chief executive of a political subdivision are considered a cost of general State or local government and are unallowable. However, for a federally-recognized Indian tribal government, only that portion of the salaries and expenses of the office of the chief executive that is a cost of general government is unallowable. The portion of salaries and expenses directly attributable to managing and operating programs is allowable.

(8) Indemnification. The cost of indemnifying the State against liabilities to third parties and other losses not compensated by insurance is unallowable.

(9) Interest and other financial costs. Interest on borrowings, bond discounts, cost of financing and refinancing operations, and legal and professional fees paid in connection therewith, are unallowable.

(10) Legislative expenses. Salaries and other expenses of the State legislature or similar local governmental bodies are unallowable.

(11) Losses. Losses which could have been covered by permissible insurance are unallowable.

(12) Underrecovery of cost under agreements. Any excess of cost over Federal contribution under one agreement is unallowable under another agreement.

(13) The acquisition of land or buildings is an unallowable cost.

[Amdt. 188, 45 FR 85702, Dec. 30, 1980, as amended by Amdt. 207, 47 FR 52338, Nov. 19, 1982; Amdt. 298, 52 FR 36400, Sept. 29, 1987; Amdt. 316, 54 FR 24531, June 7, 1989; Amdt. 319, 55 FR 4361, Feb. 7, 1990; Amdt. 342, 59 FR 2733, Jan. 19, 1994; Amdt. 385, 65 FR 33441, May 24, 2000]

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