Welcome back to the Cost Corner, where we provide practical insight into the complex cost and pricing requirements that apply to Government contractors. This is the third article in a multi-part series on the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) Cost Principles applicable to contracts with commercial organizations. The first article in the series addressed the criteria for determining the allowability of costs. The second addressed the allocation of direct and indirect costs. This Cost Corner focuses accounting for unallowable costs. The applicable Cost Principle is FAR 31.201-6, Accounting for Unallowable Costs. Among other requirements, FAR 31.201-6 incorporates by reference the practices for accounting for, and presentation of, unallowable costs provided in Cost Accounting Standard (“CAS”) 405, also titled “Accounting for Unallowable Costs.” We will address both the FAR and the CAS requirements.Continue Reading Government Contracts Cost and Pricing: Accounting for Unallowable Costs
Welcome back to the Cost Corner, where we provide practical insight into the complex cost and pricing requirements that apply to Government contractors. This is the second article in a multi-part series on the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Cost Principles applicable to contracts with commercial organizations. The previous Cost Corner addressed the applicability of the Cost Principles and their general criteria for determining the allowability of costs. This Cost Corner focuses on the allocation of direct and indirect costs. We will address the applicable Cost Principles (FAR 31.202 and FAR 31.203) as well as the overlapping provisions of the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) (CAS 402 and CAS 418), which include closely related but significantly more detailed (burdensome) requirements for CAS-covered contractors.Continue Reading Government Contracts Cost and Pricing: Allocation of Direct and Indirect Costs
Welcome back to the Cost Corner, where we provide practical insight into the complex cost and pricing requirements that apply to Government contractors. The March 2023 Cost Corner introduced the three principle categories of Government contracts cost and pricing requirements: (1) the Truthful Cost or Pricing Data Statute, also known as the Truth in Negotiations Act (TINA), which defines a contractor’s obligation to disclose cost or pricing data to the Government; (2) the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Cost Principles, which prescribe principles and procedures for determining the allowability of costs; and (3) the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), which provide standards to ensure uniformity and consistency in the measurement, assignment, and allocation of costs. The September 2023 Cost Corner concluded a three-part series on TINA. We now move on to the FAR Cost Principles, specifically FAR Subpart 31.2, which applies to contracts with commercial organizations. This article addresses the applicability of the FAR Cost Principles and their general criteria for determining the allowability of costs. Subsequent articles will address the allowability of selected items of cost.Continue Reading Government Contracts Cost and Pricing: Introduction to the Federal Acquisition Regulation Cost Principles (Part 1)
Welcome to the Cost Corner. This is the first in a series of articles exploring the complex cost and pricing regulations that apply to government contractors. This article provides an overview of the regulatory framework and its rationale. Subsequent articles will explain specific aspects of the regulations in further detail and provide periodic updates on new developments.Continue Reading Government Contracts Cost and Pricing – A Brief Overview of the Regulatory Landscape
The Department of Defense intends to issue a proposed rule to ensure that substantial future independent research and development (“IR&D” or “IRAD”) expenses, which can be used as a means to reduce bid prices in competitive source selections, are evaluated in a uniform way during the competitive process. 81 Fed. Reg. 6488 (February 8, 2016). However, interested parties and industry leaders can help formulate this regulation before the DoD issues the proposed rule.
Continue Reading DoD Seeks Public Comments Before Issuing a Proposed Rule on IR&D Costs
On August 26, 2015, the Department of Defense (“DOD”) issued a White Paper announcing that, beginning in FY 2017, all defense contractors will be required to notify DOD before undertaking any new Independent Research and Development (“IR&D”) projects if contractors would like their IR&D costs to be deemed allowable. Entitled “Enhancing the Effectiveness of Independent Research and Development,” the White Paper explains that both DOD and the Industrial Base need to work together to ensure the department has visibility into “government-reimbursed IR&D efforts.” Specifically, the White Paper states, “[t]o ensure that a two way dialogue occurs between the Department and IR&D performing organizations and to provide for some minimum oversight of IR&D, the department believes that proposed new IR&D efforts should be communicated to appropriate DOD personnel prior to the initiation of these investments and that results from these investments should also be shared with appropriate DOD personnel.”
Continue Reading DOD Issues White Paper Aimed at IR&D Costs
Last April, we wrote about proposed changes to Department of Defense ("DoD") reporting requirements for independent research and development ("IR&D"), raising concerns about how the proposed change would tie recoverability of IR&D costs to new reporting and disclosure requirements. Recently, Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement ("DFARS") 231.205-18(c) was finalized, with changes. See 77 Fed. Reg. 4632 (Jan. 30, 2012). This final rule is a mixed bag that got some things right, but also leaves some of the most serious issues unresolved.Continue Reading Final Rule for IR&D Reports Fails to Address Most Serious Questions
On January 2, 2011, the President signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-347, which set up a relief fund for victims, first responders, and construction workers who were injured in the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City. To pay the estimated $4.3 billion price tag for the Act, Section 301 of the Act imposed on any foreign person a tax equal to 2% of federal procurement payment received by that foreign person. See 26 U.S.C. § 5000C. In addition, any person who makes or otherwise is a withholding agent with respect to such a payment is required to withhold the 2% tax from the federal procurement payment and remit the tax withheld to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) under tax laws and regulations applicable to withholding of United States taxes from payments made to foreign persons. Although the tax has been in place for more than 14 months and the IRS has issued a revised Form 1042 with revised instructions to implement withholding and reporting obligations, the Government is only now turning to the details of how this tax will be accounted for in connection with the procurement process. And – as is often the case – there is quite a lot of devil in those details.Continue Reading Terrorism and Taxes – Proposed FAR Rule Imposes 2% Tax on Foreign Offers to Fund 9/11 Relief Fund
Those familiar with Government contracting know at least a little bit about the elusive and fickle regulatory requirements for Independent Research and Development (“IR&D” or “IRAD”) costs. IR&D is a means by which the U.S. Government supports a Contractor’s independent R&D efforts. By reimbursing a Contractor’s independent R&D costs, the Government long has hoped to advance the state of the art without stifling a contractor’s innovation under the weight of a federal bureaucracy, while simultaneously banking on the fact that the U.S. Government also will benefit from the technology advancements. But two recent developments may change the essential nature of IR&D, making it less “independent” and more “dependent” on Government rights and oversight. To quote Bob Dylan – “the times they are a changin’.”
Continue Reading The Times They Are A Changin’ – Independent Research and Development May Not Be So “Independent” Any More
On May 19, 2009, the Federal Circuit in Secretary of the Army v. Tecom upheld the contracting officer’s disallowance of a contractor’s legal costs and settlement expenses in a sexual harassment and retaliation action brought under Title VII. The opinion is sweeping, and appears to extend the holding in Boeing North American, Inc. v. Roche, 298 F.3d 1272 (Fed. Cir. 2002) to almost every instance in which the contractor elects to settle in lieu of litigating cases to a conclusion.
Continue Reading Federal Circuit Casts Cloud on Future Recovery of Settlement Costs in Non-Fraud-Related Cases
Effective October 17, 2008, the Cost FAR Councils will implement revisions to the policies and procedures for contract debts under FAR Subpart 32.6. The changes cover all contract debts to the Government resulting from contractor’s compliance or failure to comply with contract terms, and irrespective of how, or by whom, the debt is identified. The revisions grew out of DoD’s recommendations published on May 26, 2005, and are being applied Government-wide “to improve contract debt controls and procedures, and to ensure consistency within/between existing regulations.” 73 Fed. Reg. 53997.Continue Reading Contract Debts