On December 26, 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published a Final Rule for Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. This Final Rule supersedes and streamlines requirements from OMB Circulars A-21, A-87, A-110, and A-122 (which have been placed in OMB guidances); Circulars A-89, A-102, and A-133; and the guidance in Circular A-50 on Single Audit Act follow-up. The Final Rule can be found at: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/12/26/2013-30465/uniform-administrative-requirements-cost-principles-and-audit-requirements-for-federal-awards
The Council on Financial Assistance Reform is providing a training session on January 27, 2014, on the new Final Rule. Interested tribes and organizations can sign up/register for the training here: https://survey.max.gov/index.php/496587/lang-en
Earlier this year, Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker submitted comments to OMB on the February 2013 draft of this guidance on behalf of tribes, Alaska Native Villages and tribal organizations representing, in aggregate, over 200 federally recognized tribes . What follows below is a brief summary of how those comments were addressed in the Final Rule, as well as a number of additional highlights.
• Consultation: The Final Rule does not specifically address whether, and to what extent, OMB determined that the consultation process leading to the Final Rule complied with the government-to-government consultation requirements under Executive Order (E.O.) 13175. We note this because this was a substantial theme for many tribal commenters—that the OMB did not engage in meaningful tribal consultation in the development of this Rule. We encourage tribes, when they meet with OMB or other White House officials, to stress again that OMB should hold itself to a high standard in implementing Executive Orders, particularly E.O. 13175 which ensures tribal involvement.
• Conflict with ISDEAA: We had commented that the proposed Draft Rule had several areas that conflicted with provisions of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA), P.L. 93-638. The final guidance, at § 200.205 now specifically states that federal statutes, where in conflict with the guidance, are paramount, specifically noting that this is the case with the ISDEAA, so that in any conflict with the Final Rule, the provisions of the ISDEAA will govern.
• Public Availability of Audits: The Draft Rule provided for an approach that would have made all tribal audits publicly available under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This was a substantial issue for many tribes in the comments submitted to the OMB, including those submitted by Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker. The Final Rule, in §200.512, allows tribes to opt out of having the Federal Audit Clearinghouse publish their reports, thus providing tribes an option to maintain greater control over the publication of their audits and financial statements.
• Tribal Government Costs: The Final Rule in § 200.444 provides for certain tribal government costs to be allowable (up to 50 percent of the salaries and wages of chief executive and Council functions) as indirect costs, which clears up an issue that, prior to this Final Rule, had not been dealt with clearly by the federal government.
• Other changes: There are several additional changes that streamline reporting and compliance matters for tribes, and provide for additional options in indirect rate negotiation. OMB states that relevant departments, including the Departments of Interior and Health and Human Services, will now be tasked with coming up with additional policies to implement the Final Rule. The threshold to trigger Single Audit requirements has been raised from $500,000 to $750,000, consistent with the draft.
Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding this OMB Final Rule.