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National Historical Publications and Records Commission

BUDGET INSTRUCTIONS

Before developing a project budget, applicants should review those sections of the program guidelines and application instructions that discuss cost-sharing requirements, the different kinds of Commission funding, and any restrictions on the types of costs that may appear in the project budget. Sample budget computations are also included in the guidelines.

Requested Grant Period

Grant periods begin on the first day of the month and end on the last day of the month. All project activities must take place during the requested grant period.

Project Costs

The budget should include the project costs that will be charged to grant funds as well as those that will be supported by applicant or third-party cash and in-kind contributions.

All of the items listed, whether supported by grant funds or cost-sharing contributions, must be reasonable, necessary to accomplish project objectives, allowable in terms of the applicable federal cost principles, auditable, and incurred during the grant period. Charges to the project for items such as salaries, fringe benefits, travel, and contractual services must conform to the written policies and established practices of the applicant organization.

Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefits may include contributions for social security, employee insurance, pension plans, etc. Only those benefits that are not included in an organization's indirect cost pool may be shown as direct costs.

Travel Costs

The most economical accommodations must be used and foreign travel must be undertaken on U.S. flag carriers when such services are available.

Equipment

Only when an applicant can demonstrate that the purchase of permanent equipment will be less expensive than rental may charges be made to the project for such purchases. Permanent equipment is defined as an item costing more than $5,000 per unit.

Indirect Costs (Overhead)

These are costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore cannot be readily identified with a specific project or activity of an organization. Typical examples of indirect cost type items are the salaries of executive officers, the costs of operating and maintaining facilities, local telephone service, office supplies, and accounting and legal services. Indirect costs are computed by applying a negotiated indirect cost rate to a distribution base (usually the direct costs of the project).

Care should be taken that expenses that are included in the organization's indirect cost pool are not charged to the project as direct costs.

The Commission will not require the formal negotiation of an indirect cost rate, provided the charge for indirect costs does not exceed 10 percent of direct costs, up to a maximum charge of $5,000. (Applicants who choose this option should understand that they must maintain documentation to support overhead charges claimed as part of project costs.) The Commission does not negotiate indirect cost rates with its grantees, but does recognize rates negotiated between its applicants and other Federal agencies.

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