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The US Standard General Ledger (USSGL)

The cornerstone of financial systems


Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions are frequently received by the USSGL staff.

Budgetary Related Questions

Can I use USSGL account 435000, "Canceled Authority," to cancel unexpended balances when the Treasury Appropriation Fund Symbols (TAFS) has budgetary reporting requirements in the following fiscal year?

No, USSGL account 435000, "Canceled Authority," is used in an expired TAFS that is canceling (i.e., the fifth year of the expired phase) and does not have budgetary reporting requirements in the following fiscal year. In limited cases, USSGL account 435000 is also used in TAFS’ with extended disbursement authority at the time the account is “canceling.”

For further information, refer to the Cancellation Scenario section found on the USSGL Implementation Guidance web page at http://www.fiscal.treasury.gov/fsreports/ref/ussgl/approved_scenarios
/approved_scenarios.htm
.

USSGL staff’s role is to provide accounting guidance consistent with OMB Circular No. A-11, Preparation, Submission, and Execution of the Budget (A-11). Who do I contact when I have budget-related questions that are not USSGL specific in nature?

  1. Contact the bureau budget office (if the entity is a bureau within the department).
  2. Contact the department accounting and budget offices.
  3. Contact the department budget office and ask them to contact the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) program examiner.

Note: Agency accountants should not contact the OMB program examiner or the OMB’s Budget Review Division (BRD) directly.

How does the USSGL budgetary account series (400000's) work?

In order to understand how the budgetary accounts work, you need to understand that the USSGL budgetary accounts follow the budget execution cycle through appropriations, apportionments, allotments, commitments, obligations, expenditures and outlays.

The budget execution process is reflected on the SF 133: Report on Budget Execution and Budgetary Resources & Schedule P Budget Program and Financing Schedule and is supported by OMB Circular No. A-11. The Budgetary Accounting Equation is as follows:

Budgetary Resources = Status of Budgetary Resources

Budgetary resources are normally debit balances that include USSGL account series 410000, 420000, and 430000. The status of budgetary resources is normally credit balances that include USSGL account series 440000, 450000, 460000, 470000, 480000, and 490000. For more information, visit the USSGL website.

My agency has a special or non-revolving trust fund expenditure account that receives appropriations from unavailable special or non-revolving trust fund receipt accounts respectively. Should I record USSGL account 438700, “Temporary Reduction of Appropriation From Unavailable Receipts, New Budget Authority” the reduction in new budget authority?

  1. If the reduction is determined to be temporary whereby the budgetary resources reduced remain in the expenditure account as unavailable budgetary resources, then your agency records USSGL account 438700, “Temporary Reduction of Appropriation From Unavailable Receipts, New Budget Authority” and GTAS Authority_Type domain value “P.”

  2. If the reduction is determined to be permanent whereby the budgetary resources reduced are returned to the General Fund of the U.S. Government, your agency records USSGL account 439200, “Permanent Reduction – New Budget Authority” with the GTAS Authority_Type domain value “P.”

Unlike other permanent reductions derived from the General Fund of the U.S. Government where a negative warrant is processed, an agency would request a capital transfer for the permanent reduction derived from unavailable special and/or trust fund receipts to be transferred from the special or non-revolving trust fund expenditure account to the appropriate general fund miscellaneous receipt account(s) as follows:

  • 3230 Special and Trust Fund Proprietary Receipts Returned to the General Fund of         the U.S. Government
  • 3231 Special and Trust Fund Governmental Receipts Returned to the General Fund         of the U.S. Government
  • 3232 Special and Trust Fund Intrafund Receipts Returned to the General Fund of         the U.S. Government
  • 3233 Special and Trust Fund Offsetting Governmental Receipts Returned to the         General Fund of the U.S. Government

If further clarification is required, crosscheck determination with the appropriate budget contacts below:

  1. Bureau budget office (if the entity is a bureau within the department) or
  2. Department accounting and budget offices; AND
  3. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) program examiner (via department budget office)

My agency has a special or non-revolving trust fund expenditure account and unobligated balances that derived from unavailable special or non-revolving trust fund receipt accounts respectively. What is the appropriate USSGL account to record for permanent reductions for prior year balances?

USSGL account 439300, “Permanent Reduction – Prior-Year Balances” with GTAS Authority_Type domain value “P” is the appropriate USSGL.

Unlike other permanent reductions derived from the General Fund of the U.S. Government where a negative warrant is processed, an agency would request a capital transfer for the permanent reduction derived from unavailable special and/or trust fund receipts to be transferred from the special or non-revolving trust fund expenditure account to the appropriate general fund miscellaneous receipt account(s) as follows:

  • 3230 Special and Trust Fund Proprietary Receipts Returned to the General Fund of         the U.S. Government
  • 3231 Special and Trust Fund Governmental Receipts Returned to the General Fund         of the U.S. Government
  • 3232 Special and Trust Fund Intrafund Receipts Returned to the General Fund of         the U.S. Government
  • 3233 Special and Trust Fund Offsetting Governmental Receipts Returned to the         General Fund of the U.S. Government

If my agency has a revolving non-trust fund expenditure account and a reduction of new spending authority from offsetting collections, can I record USSGL account 438200, “Temporary Reduction - New Budget Authority?”

  1. If the reduction is determined to be temporary whereby the budgetary resources reduced remain in the expenditure account as unavailable budgetary resources, then your agency records USSGL account 438200, “Temporary Reduction - New Budget Authority” and GTAS Authority_Type domain value “S.”

  2. If the reduction is determined to be permanent whereby the budgetary resources reduced are returned to the General Fund of the U.S. Government, then your agency records USSGL account 439200, “Permanent Reduction – New Budget Authority” with GTAS Authority_Type domain value “S.”

Unlike other permanent reductions derived from the General Fund of the U.S. Government where a negative warrant is processed, an agency would request a capital transfer for the permanent reduction derived from spending authority from offsetting collections to be transferred from the revolving non-trust fund expenditure account to the appropriate general fund miscellaneous receipt account as follows:

  • 3240 Spending Authority from Offsetting Collections Returned to the General         Fund of the U.S. Government

If further clarification is required, crosscheck determination with the appropriate budget contacts below:

  1. Bureau budget office (if the entity is a bureau within the department) or
  2. Department accounting and budget offices; AND
  3. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) program examiner (via department budget office)

If my agency has a revolving non-trust fund expenditure account and a reduction of unobligated balances of spending authority from offsetting collections, can I record USSGL account 438300, ''Temporary Reduction - Prior-Year Balance?”

  1. If the reduction is determined to be temporary whereby the budgetary resources reduced remain in the expenditure account as unavailable budgetary resources, then your agency records USSGL account 438300, “Temporary Reduction – Prior-Year Balance.”

    If further clarification is required, crosscheck determination with the appropriate budget contacts below:

    1. Bureau budget office (if the entity is a bureau within the department) or
    2. Department accounting and budget offices; AND
    3. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) program examiner (via department budget office)

  2. If the reduction is determined to be permanent whereby the budgetary resources reduced are returned to the General Fund of the U.S. Government, your agency records USSGL account 439300, “Permanent Reduction – Prior-Year Balances” with GTAS Authority_Type domain value “S.”

    Unlike other permanent reductions derived from the General Fund of the U.S. Government where a negative warrant is processed, an agency would request a capital transfer for the permanent reduction derived from spending authority from offsetting collections to be transferred from the revolving non-trust fund expenditure account to the appropriate general fund miscellaneous receipt account as follows:

    • 3240 Spending Authority from Offsetting Collections Returned to the General         Fund of the U.S. Government

    If further clarification is required, crosscheck determination with the appropriate budget contacts below:

    1. Bureau budget office (if the entity is a bureau within the department) or
    2. Department accounting and budget offices; AND
    3. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) program examiner (via department budget office)

My agency has a special or non-revolving trust fund expenditure account that receives an appropriation derived from unavailable special or non-revolving trust fund receipt accounts respectively. Should I record USSGL account 438800, “Temporary Reduction of Appropriation From Unavailable Receipts, Prior-Year Balances” for the reduction in prior-year balances?

  1. If the reduction is determined to be temporary whereby the budgetary resources reduced remain in the expenditure account as unavailable budgetary resources, then your agency records USSGL account 438800, “Temporary Reduction of Appropriation From Unavailable Receipts, Prior-Year Balances.” [This reduction can only be derived from appropriations.]

  2. If the reduction is determined to be permanent whereby the budgetary resources reduced are returned to the General Fund of the U.S. Government, your agency records USSGL account 439300, “Permanent Reduction – Prior-Year” with GTAS Authority_Type domain value “P.”

Unlike other permanent reductions derived from the General Fund of the U.S. Government where a negative warrant is processed, an agency would request a capital transfer for the permanent reduction derived from unavailable special and/or trust fund receipts to be transferred from the special or non-revolving trust fund expenditure account to the appropriate general fund miscellaneous receipt account(s) as follows:

  • 3230 Special and Trust Fund Proprietary Receipts Returned to the General Fund of         the U.S. Government
  • 3231 Special and Trust Fund Governmental Receipts Returned to the General Fund         of the U.S. Government
  • 3232 Special and Trust Fund Intrafund Receipts Returned to the General Fund of         the U.S. Government
  • 3233 Special and Trust Fund Offsetting Governmental Receipts Returned to the         General Fund of the U.S. Government

If further clarification is required, crosscheck determination with the appropriate budget contacts below:

  1. Bureau budget office (if the entity is a bureau within the department) or
  2. Department accounting and budget offices; AND
  3. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) program examiner (via department budget office)

My agency has a special fund expenditure account that receives an appropriation derived from the General Fund of the U.S. Government via Treasury Appropriation Warrant. Is it okay to record USSGL account 411900, “Other Appropriations Realized?”

Yes. Any special fund expenditure account that receives an appropriation derived from the General Fund of the U.S. Government via Treasury Warrant may record USSGL account 411900. However, there are a limited number of special fund expenditure accounts that receive amounts appropriated directly from the General Fund of the U.S. Government.

If further clarification is required, crosscheck determination with the appropriate budget contacts below:

  1. Bureau budget office (if the entity is a bureau within the department) or
  2. Department accounting and budget offices; AND
  3. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) program examiner (via department budget office)

Generally, special fund expenditure accounts’ appropriations are derived from “available” (recorded as revenue) or “unavailable” special fund receipt accounts. Appropriations derived from available special fund receipts are recorded in USSGL account 411400, “Appropriated Receipts Derived from Available Trust or Special Fund Receipts.” Appropriations derived from unavailable special fund receipts are recorded in USSGL account 411300, “Appropriated Receipts Derived from Unavailable Trust or Special Fund Receipts.”

For information on updated transactions that reflect this activity, refer to Section III of the USSGL TFM Supplement.

What is the difference in trust fund expenditure account reporting requirements for expenditure versus nonexpenditure transfers?

As defined in the Analytical Perspectives of the Budget of the U.S. Government, federal funds include general, special and revolving funds. Trust funds consist of funds that are designated by law as such.

A transfer is recorded as either an expenditure transfer which involves an outlay or a nonexpenditure transfer, which does not involve an outlay. The type of transfer you record usually depends on the type and nature of transaction. Below is a description of expenditure and nonexpenditure transfers.

Expenditure Transfers

Transfers between Federal fund and trust fund expenditure accounts are required to be recorded as an expenditure transfer. The following criteria apply:

  • Payments (i.e., disbursements) via Statement of Transactions (224).
  • Obligations and outlays are reported by the paying account.
  • Offsetting collections are reported by the receiving account (i.e., transfer from trust fund expenditure account to Federal fund expenditure account).
  • Collections classified as (1) Advances or (2) Repayments in the form of Reimbursements or Refunds (i.e., transfer between two fund expenditure accounts).

Nonexpenditure Transfers

Nonexpenditure transfers are limited to transactions in which both accounts are within the same fund group (i.e., trust-to-trust or federal-to-federal). One type of transaction is the transfer of authority to obligate.

Transfers to carry out the purposes of the receiving account, for example, to shift resources from one purpose to another or to reflect reorganization. Transfer via SF 1151: Nonexpenditure Transfer. The Transferring Account reports a transfer out of budget authority or balances. The Receiving Account reports a transfer in.

For the specific purpose of the transfer which determines whether it is expenditure transfer or nonexpenditure transfer, refer to OMB Circular No. A-11, Section 20.

As described in TFM Vol. I Part 2 - Chapter 2000, all transfers between trust funds are to be classified as nonexpenditure. A transfer of budget authority is recorded when the transfer occurs.

Specific transactions are illustrated in the USSGL Federal Trust Fund Accounting Guide, as well as in Section III: Account Transactions (as updated). For more information, visit https://tfm.fiscal.treasury.gov/v1/supplements/ussgl.html for the current USSGL TFM Guidance.

Continuing Resolution Questions

My agency is currently operating under a continuing resolution (CR). Does the USSGL website provide accounting guidance to agencies under a CR?

Yes, detailed guidance discussing the continuing resolution process is located on the USSGL website under USSGL Implementation Guidance (budgetary scenarios).

The scenario is entitled, Appropriations Provided by a Continuing Resolution, and provides answers to common questions while operating under a CR.

It discusses the overall CR process and concerns regarding appropriation warrants, and it illustrates accounting entries and the effects on quarterly financial reporting.

In addition, the scenario includes references to OMB Circular No. A-11, section 123 Apportionments under Continuing Resolutions.

Will my agency receive a warrant while funded by a CR?

Generally, Fiscal Service does not issue warrants until the Congress enacts the regular appropriation bill. For exceptions and further guidance, refer to Treasury Financial Manual (TFM), Volume I, Part 2, Chapter 2000, subsection 2025.20. For more information, visit https://tfm.fiscal.treasury.gov/v1.html#Part2.

Until a warrant is received, is it acceptable for agencies to have a negative Fund Balance With Treasury?

Yes, although a warrant may not be issued, agencies should record Fund Balance With Treasury (FBWT) under a CR.

Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Standards (SFFAS) No. 7, Accounting for Revenue and Other Financing Sources and Concepts for Reconciling Budgetary and Financial Accounting, paragraph 71, states that appropriations should be recognized in capital as "unexpended appropriations" (and among assets as "funds with Treasury") when made available for apportionment, even if a Treasury Warrant has not yet been received, or the amount has not been fully apportioned.

To comply with SFFAS No. 7, the USSGL Board created USSGL account 109000, "Fund Balance With Treasury While Awaiting a Warrant," to report FBWT under a CR.

Furthermore, until Fiscal Service processes a warrant, an agency's FBWT will not be posted to the Fiscal Service Central Accounting System. The balance in USSGL account 109000 will not match the balance on the GWA Account Statement: Undisbursed Appropriation Account Ledger.

However, agencies will post their normal receipt and disbursement activity using USSGL account 101000, "Fund Balance With Treasury," and the balance for USSGL account 101000 should match the balance on the GWA Account Statement.

For further guidance, refer to the approved scenario, Appropriations Provided by a Continuing Resolution, which illustrates USSGL account 109000.

While under a CR, should two different methods of accounting for Fund Balance With Treasury be used when one bureau in an agency receives a warrant and another bureau in the same agency does not receive a warrant?

Yes. Agencies must determine at a Treasury Appropriation Fund Symbol (TAFS) level, which of the two accounting methods to use.

Agencies should record USSGL account 109000, "Fund Balance With Treasury While Awaiting a Warrant," until Fiscal Service processes a warrant. A warrant is considered processed when the appropriation is posted into the Bureau of the Fiscal Service central accounting system.

Warrant information is available to agencies on a real-time basis in Central Accounting and Reporting System (CARS). Warrants post to agencies' GWA Account Statement on a next-day basis.

Agencies should record a debit to USSGL account 101000, "Fund Balance With Treasury," and a credit to USSGL account 109000, "Fund Balance With Treasury While Awaiting a Warrant," in a particular TAFS when Fiscal Service processes a warrant for that TAFS. The warrant may represent passage of an appropriation or an annualized CR.

Proprietary Related Questions

What Federal/NonFederal attribute domain value do I use in a General Fund of the U.S. Government?

Use the “G” attribute domain value. G is for the General Fund of the U.S. Government. For specific USSGL accounts that have a “G” domain value refer to the USSGL TFM Supplement’s Section IV USSGL Attribute Table.

Should capital lease liabilities be funded up front?

If a government agency has a capital lease agreement with a non-federal entity, OMB Circular No. A-11: Preparation, Submission and Execution of the Budget requires that the net present value of the capital lease liability be funded up front.

For further information, see OMB Circular No. A-11, Appendix B, and the "Capital and Operating Leases" case study on the USSGL Implementation Guidance web page.

What types of employee benefit expenses should be reported in USSGL account 640000 Benefit Expense?

The title of USSGL account 640000 may appear to include all benefits, but it is intended to include very specific types of benefits.

The original intention of USSGL account 640000 was to allow program agencies to report their contribution of employee benefit expenses, such as pension, health, life, and FECA, so that a reconciliation with the administering agencies' benefit revenue would be possible.

The definition of USSGL account 640000 was then further expanded to include unemployment, Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments, Social Security, Medicare, and entitlement benefit programs specifically identified in USSGL account 216000, Entitlement Benefits Due and Payable.

The final definition of USSGL account 640000 was divided into two parts: one for program agencies using 640000 "F" to report their activities, and the other for administering agencies using 640000 "N" to report their activities. Although relocation costs, transportation costs, education costs, etc. may be classified as employee benefits, they should not be reported in USSGL account 640000, but should instead be reported in USSGL account 610000 Operating Expenses/Program Costs.

Miscellaneous Questions

Why are there always changes or updates to the USSGL?

The USSGL is the core of financial reporting. It provides detailed information through general ledger accounts and transactions that ultimately provide information to readers of financial statements.

Any changes or updates as a result of legislative enactment affect the USSGL. In order to comply with governmental guidance set forth by bodies such as the Department of Treasury, Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB), or the OMB, and new systems requirements (CARS, Governmentwide Treasury Account Symbol Adjusted Trial-Balance System (GTAS), USSGL accounts and transactions are established to reflect new reporting requirements. Visit the USSGL website for detailed guidance.

Where can I find current information concerning updates and changes to the USSGL?

Visit the USSGL website for the USSGL Summary of Changes. The Summary of Changes identifies specific revisions made to the USSGL. The USSGL website also contains current information on interim updates, approved scenarios, trust fund guidance, credit reform guidance, as well as other pertinent information.

You can also subscribe to the e-mail notification service to receive notifications when substantive changes occur. For more information, visit the Fiscal Service Email Notification Service.



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