A 'Cost Transfer' is an after-the-fact transfer of an actual expense, previously charged elsewhere, to/from a specified cost center. Ideally, all costs should be charged to the appropriate award when first incurred. However, there are circumstances where it may be necessary to transfer expenditures to an award subsequent to the initial recording of the charge.
Cost Transfers include:
- A transfer of expense from one sponsored program to another sponsored program (transfer between)
- A transfer of expense from a non-sponsored program (endowment, agency account, etc.) to a sponsored program (transfer in)
- A transfer from a sponsored program to a non-sponsored program (transfer out)
Cost Transfers do not include:
- A transfer of budgets within a project (budget revision)
Timeliness and completeness of explanation justifying the transfers are important factors in supporting allowability and allocability in accordance with the cost principles set forth by the award.
Examples of typical circumstances where cost transfers are allowed are:
- Transfer of allowable pre-award costs from holding or preliminary accounts
- To correct clerical errors
- To reallocate effort to reflect actuals
- For routine allocation of shared services
- To allocate service center charges
- To clear project-related overdrafts from federally-sponsored projects to unrestricted funds
Examples of typical circumstances where cost transfers may not be allowed are:
- Transfer of expenses between sponsored projects in order to remove a deficit
- Transfer of expenses to spend the balance of an award
- Transfers requested more than 90 days after the end date of a sponsored project
3. Required Documentation
All cost transfers must be accompanied by written documentation that contains a full explanation and justification for the transfer. This includes:
- A completed and signed Request for Cost Transfer form
- If applicable, supporting documentation
To comply with the cost allowability and allocability requirements of 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance), it is necessary to explain and justify transfers of charges. The justification should be prepared in such a way that a person outside of TUC would be able to understand why the cost transfer is necessary and should address the following questions:
- Why was the expense originally charged to the project from which it is now being transferred?
- Why should the charge now be transferred to the receiving grant or contract?
- What actions will be taken in the future to prevent the need for another transfer of this type?
- If applicable, why is this transfer being requested more than 90 days after the cost was initially charged?
Cost transfers are usually requested by the Principal Investigator or an authorized signer on the project. In some cases, for instance in case of clerical errors, a TUC staff from Accounting or Post-Award can also request a cost transfer.
Cost transfers requested by the Principal Investigator or an authorized signer can be approved by the Post-Award Analyst, Post-Award Manager, or Associate Director of Research and Sponsored Programs.
Cost transfers requested by the Post-Award Analyst must be signed by a Post-Award Manager, and cost transfers requested by a Post-Award Manager must be approved by the TUC Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer, or the most senior personnel in Accounting department.
All cost transfers that are made later than 90 days after the posting of the charge to the accounting records must be signed by Associate Director of Post-Award, Associate Director of Accounting, Chief Financial Officer, or Executive Director.
Less than 90 Days after the Charge
Cost transfers should be prepared as soon as the need for the transfer is identified. The deadline for cost transfers is 90 days from when the charge was first posted to the project.
Later than 90 Days after the Charge
In exceptional circumstances, cost transfer may be required later than 90 days after the charge. In addition to the regular documentation, these late cost transfers require:
- A detailed explanation by the requester for the reason of the delay beyond the 90 day deadline
- A signed statement by the requester of the steps taken to ensure that such late transfers will not occur again
Associate Director of Post-Award, Associate Director of Accounting, Chief Financial Officer, or Executive Director must approve cost transfers that are made later than 90 days after the posting of the charge to the accounting records.
8. Other Considerations
Post-Award Analyst must inform and provide a copy of the cost transfer request to the Administrative Compliance Analyst if the cost transfer involves faculty payments. The Administrative Compliance Analyst will then correct the appropriate effort report to reflect the correction.
9. Procedure Information
Date of Last Revision: 02/15/21
Grace Slavik Post-Award Manager, Research & Sponsored Programs
Phone: 818-677-3498; Email: