Table of Contents
20.1 What is the purpose of this section?
20.2 How do I use this section?
20.3 What special terms must I know?
20.4 What do I need to know about budget authority?
(a) Definition of budget authority
(b) Forms of budget authority
(c) Period of availability of budget authority
(d) Determining the amount of budget authority
(e) Discretionary or mandatory and permanent or current budget authority
(f) Unobligated balance
(g) Obligated balance
(h) Reappropriation
(i) Rescissions and cancellations
(j) Transfer
(k) Transfer in the estimates
(l) Allocation
20.5 When should I record obligations and in what amounts?
20.6 What do I need to know about outlays?
20.7 What do I need to know about governmental receipts, offsetting collections, and offsetting
(a) Overview
(b) Governmental receipts
(c) General information about offsets to budget authority and outlays
(d) Offsetting collections
(e) Offsetting receipts
(f) Receipt accounts and expenditure accounts
(g) User charges
(h) Means of financing
20.8 What do I need to know about cash-equivalent transactions?
20.9 What do I need to know about discretionary spending, mandatory spending, and
20.10 What do I need to know about refunds?
20.11 What do I need to know about advances?
20.12 What do I need to know about accounts and fund types?
20.13 What do I need to know about reimbursable work?
Exñ20 Transfers of Budgetary Resources among Federal Government Accounts
Summary of Changes
Clarifies that the term CHIMP (Change In a Mandatory Program) applies to provisions in
appropriations laws that change mandatory budget authority, outlays, offsetting collections, or
offsetting receipts relative to the baseline and expands the guidance on scoring CHIMPs
(section 20.3).
Clarifies that the term Governmental receipts applies to receipts that result from the Government's
exercise of its sovereign power to tax or otherwise compel payment and that the term "receipts"
includes Governmental and offsetting receipts (section 20.3).

Clarifies that the Treasury Appropriation Fund Symbol include Federal and allocation agency codes
and has the same meaning as appropriation account (section 20.3).
Provides a definition of GTAS (Governmentwide Treasury Account Symbol Adjusted Trial Balance
System), which replaced FACTS II (section 20.3).
Indicates that offsetting receipts of certain general fund payments will be offset at the bureau level
instead of the agency level (section 20.7(e)).
Explains the different requirements for recording refunds credited to the same appropriation or fund
account that was charged with the original obligation and refunds credited to a different appropriation
or fund account (section 20.10).
20.1 What is the purpose of this section?
In this section, we define budget termsósuch as budget authority, obligation, and outlayóthat you need to
know in order to understand the budget process and this Circular. We also explain certain of the terms in
20.2 How do I use this section?
. If you just need a brief definition of a term commonly used in the budget process, go to section 20.3.
That section lists the terms in alphabetical order.
. If you need a more detailed explanation of the terms and concepts listed in the section titles of the
Table of Contents above, go to sections 20.4ñ20.13.
. If you need to know more about the credit terms defined in section 20.3, go to section 185,
Federal credit.
. If you need to know more about the sequestration terms and concepts defined in section 20.3, go to
section 100, Sequestration.
. If you need definitions of performance terms, go to section 200, Overview of strategic plans, annual
performance plans, and annual program performance reports.
20.3 What special terms must I know?
Advance appropriation means appropriations of new budget authority that become available one or more
fiscal years beyond the fiscal year for which the appropriation act was passed. (See section 20.4(c).)
Advance funding means appropriations of budget authority provided in an appropriations act to be used,
if necessary, to cover obligations incurred late in the fiscal year for benefit payments in excess of the amount
specifically appropriated in the act for that year, where the budget authority is charged to the appropriation
for the program for the fiscal year following the fiscal year for which the appropriations act is passed. (See
section 20.4(c).)
Agency means a department or establishment of the Government for the purposes of this Circular.
(Compare to bureau.)

Allowance means a lump-sum included in the budget to represent certain transactions that are expected to
increase or decrease budget authority, outlays, or receipts but that are not, for various reasons, reflected in
the program details. For example, the budget might include an allowance to show the effect on the budget
totals of a proposal that would affect many accounts by relatively small amounts, in order ...

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