Indirect costs (often referred to as 'facilities & Administrative', or F&A, costs) are costs of doing business that are not easily charged to a particular directly, but are necessary for the non-Federal entity to operate as it conducts the activities related to the direct cost objective(s). Common examples include electricity, IT and communication systems, or administrative (e.g. accounting and HR) staff, where allocating the appropriate amount of those costs used to benefit the direct cost objective is prohibitive.
This information applies to:
All grants and cooperative agreements
2 CFR 200 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards
§200.56 Indirect (facilities & administrative (F&A)) costs.
Indirect (F&A) costs means those costs incurred for a common or joint purpose benefitting more than one cost objective, and not readily assignable to the cost objectives specifically benefitted, without effort disproportionate to the results achieved. To facilitate equitable distribution of indirect expenses to the cost objectives served, it may be necessary to establish a number of pools of indirect (F&A) costs. Indirect (F&A) cost pools must be distributed to benefitted cost objectives on bases that will produce an equitable result in consideration of relative benefits derived.
[78 FR 78608, Dec. 26, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 75880, Dec. 19, 2014]
§200.412 Classification of costs.
There is no universal rule for classifying certain costs as either direct or indirect (F&A) under every accounting system. A cost may be direct with respect to some specific service or function, but indirect with respect to the Federal award or other final cost objective. Therefore, it is essential that each item of cost incurred for the same purpose be treated consistently in like circumstances either as a direct or an indirect (F&A) cost in order to avoid possible double-charging of Federal awards. Guidelines for determining direct and indirect (F&A) costs charged to Federal awards are provided in this subpart.
[78 FR 78608, Dec. 26, 2013]
§200.414 Indirect (F&A) costs.
(a) Facilities and Administration Classification. For major IHEs and major nonprofit organizations, indirect (F&A) costs must be classified within two broad categories: “Facilities” and “Administration.” “Facilities” is defined as depreciation on buildings, equipment and capital improvement, interest on debt associated with certain buildings, equipment and capital improvements, and operations and maintenance expenses. “Administration” is defined as general administration and general expenses such as the director's office, accounting, personnel and all other types of expenditures not listed specifically under one of the subcategories of “Facilities” (including cross allocations from other pools, where applicable). For nonprofit organizations, library expenses are included in the “Administration” category; for institutions of higher education, they are included in the “Facilities” category. Major IHEs are defined as those required to use the Standard Format for Submission as noted in Appendix III to Part 200—Indirect (F&A) Costs Identification and Assignment, and Rate Determination for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) paragraph C. 11. Major nonprofit organizations are those which receive more than $10 million dollars in direct Federal funding.
(b) Diversity of nonprofit organizations. Because of the diverse characteristics and accounting practices of nonprofit organizations, it is not possible to specify the types of cost which may be classified as indirect (F&A) cost in all situations. Identification with a Federal award rather than the nature of the goods and services involved is the determining factor in distinguishing direct from indirect (F&A) costs of Federal awards. However, typical examples of indirect (F&A) cost for many nonprofit organizations may include depreciation on buildings and equipment, the costs of operating and maintaining facilities, and general administration and general expenses, such as the salaries and expenses of executive officers, personnel administration, and accounting.
(c) Federal Agency Acceptance of Negotiated Indirect Cost Rates. (See also §200.306 Cost sharing or matching.)
(1) The negotiated rates must be accepted by all Federal awarding agencies. A Federal awarding agency may use a rate different from the negotiated rate for a class of Federal awards or a single Federal award only when required by Federal statute or regulation, or when approved by a Federal awarding agency head or delegate based on documented justification as described in paragraph (c)(3) of this section.
(2) The Federal awarding agency head or delegate must notify OMB of any approved deviations.
(3) The Federal awarding agency must implement, and make publicly available, the policies, procedures and general decision making criteria that their programs will follow to seek and justify deviations from negotiated rates.
(4) As required under §200.203 Notices of funding opportunities, the Federal awarding agency must include in the notice of funding opportunity the policies relating to indirect cost rate reimbursement, matching, or cost share as approved under paragraph (e)(1) of this section. As appropriate, the Federal agency should incorporate discussion of these policies into Federal awarding agency outreach activities with non-Federal entities prior to the posting of a notice of funding opportunity.
(d) Pass-through entities are subject to the requirements in §200.331 Requirements for pass-through entities, paragraph (a)(4).
(e) Requirements for development and submission of indirect (F&A) cost rate proposals and cost allocation plans are contained in Appendices III-VII and Appendix IX as follows:
(1) Appendix III to Part 200—Indirect (F&A) Costs Identification and Assignment, and Rate Determination for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs);
(2) Appendix IV to Part 200—Indirect (F&A) Costs Identification and Assignment, and Rate Determination for Nonprofit Organizations;
(3) Appendix V to Part 200—State/Local Governmentwide Central Service Cost Allocation Plans;
(4) Appendix VI to Part 200—Public Assistance Cost Allocation Plans;
(5) Appendix VII to Part 200—States and Local Government and Indian Tribe Indirect Cost Proposals; and
(6) Appendix IX to Part 200—Hospital Cost Principles.
(f) In addition to the procedures outlined in the appendices in paragraph (e) of this section, any non-Federal entity that has never received a negotiated indirect cost rate, except for those non-Federal entities described in Appendix VII to Part 200—States and Local Government and Indian Tribe Indirect Cost Proposals, paragraph D.1.b, may elect to charge a de minimis rate of 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC) which may be used indefinitely. As described in §200.403 Factors affecting allowability of costs, costs must be consistently charged as either indirect or direct costs, but may not be double charged or inconsistently charged as both. If chosen, this methodology once elected must be used consistently for all Federal awards until such time as a non-Federal entity chooses to negotiate for a rate, which the non-Federal entity may apply to do at any time.
(g) Any non-Federal entity that has a current federally negotiated indirect cost rate may apply for a one-time extension of the rates in that agreement for a period of up to four years. This extension will be subject to the review and approval of the cognizant agency for indirect costs. If an extension is granted the non-Federal entity may not request a rate review until the extension period ends. At the end of the 4-year extension, the non-Federal entity must re-apply to negotiate a rate. Subsequent one-time extensions (up to four years) are permitted if a renegotiation is completed between each extension request.
[78 FR 78608, Dec. 26, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 75886, Dec. 19, 2014]