What is the Transparency Act?
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act [P.L.109-282, as amended by section 6202(a) of P.L. 110-252] requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to maintain a single, searchable website that contains information on all federal spending awards. That site is www.USAspending.gov.
The Federal Funding and Accountability Transparency Act (FFATA) was passed in 2006 and amended in 2008. This law requires any person or entity receiving contract or grant funds directly from the federal government to report certain information regarding those funds through a centralized FFATA Sub-award Reporting System (FSRS). In brief, FFATA requires the following.
- Subrecipient contract awards totaling $25,000 or more must be reported if they were awarded on or after Oct. 1, 2010.
- Prime awardees (those agencies or entities receiving funds directly from the federal government) must report certain information regarding those funds.
- If certain criteria apply, the compensation of the top five executives within a subrecipient's organization also must be reported.
- Grant information reported for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants is not required to be reported in FFATA.
Prime awardees, such as the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), must enter the subaward information themselves and do have the option of coordinating with subrecipients to enter the relevant information. However, subrecipients must provide DADS with all required information so DADS can accurately report it.
Contract staff should refer to the DADS Operational Handbook, Part C, Section 8000, Federal Funding and Accountability Transparency Act, for detailed guidance regarding FFATA legislation and DADS general policy for FFATA reporting.
What is required by DADS to be a DADS subrecipient?
FFATA and subsequent rules published by the OMB require subrecipients to have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number to receive federal funds of any type. Subrecipients must register for a DUNS number. DADS also requires each subrecipient to register in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR). Subrecipients must complete and return to DADS certification forms for FFATA determination, along with any other requested information needed by DADS for FFATA reporting. Instructions and links will be provided for completing certification forms.
What is required to be reported as part of the Transparency Act?
FFATA prescribes specific pieces of information to be reported:
- The following data about subawards greater than $25,000
- Name of entity receiving award
- Amount of award
- Funding agency
- North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code for contracts/Catelog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) program number for grants
- Program source
- Award title descriptive of the purpose of the funding action
- Location of the entity (including Congressional district)
- Place of performance (including Congressional district)
- Unique identifier of the entity and its parent; and
- Total compensation and names of top five executives (same thresholds as for primes)
- The Total compensation and names of the top five executives if:
- more than 80 percent of annual gross revenues from the federal government, and those revenues are greater than $25 million annually; and
- compensation information is not already available through reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Classified information is exempt from the prime and subaward reporting requirement as are contracts with individuals. Definitions for data elements are available in the data dictionaries maintained on www.USAspending.gov.
What is a subaward?
The OMB issued guidance identifying the requirement to report first-tier subawards on April 6, 2010, and that guidance may be found at the OMB Open Government site. That guidance defines a subaward as generally referring to a monetary award made as a result of a federal award to a grant recipient or contractor to a subrecipient or subcontractor, respectively.
The OMB defines a "subaward" as a legal instrument (including a contract) to provide support for the performance of any portion of the substantive project or program for which the award was received that the prime recipient awards to an eligible subrecipient, or that a subrecipient at one tier awards to a subrecipient at another tier (although only first-tier subawards are subject to the reporting requirements). Subawards do not include procurement of property and services needed to carry out the project or program.
Are there any exceptions from reporting?
Subawards valued at less than $25,000 are not subject to the FFATA subaward reporting requirements. Moreover, entities with gross income, from all sources, of less than $300,000 in the previous tax year are exempt from the requirements to report subawards and the total compensation of the five most highly compensated executives. Other exemptions include federal awards to individuals (unrelated to any business or nonprofit organization), grants with classified information, continuation or renewal grants existing as of Oct. 1, 2010, and procurement awards.
If I qualify as a subrecipient what is my reporting requirements?
Entities receiving a subrecipient contract under a new DADS award must provide the following elements of information to the department by the effective date of the contract or other date set by DADS.
Subawards greater than $25,000:
- Subrecipient DUNS number and its parent, if applicable
- Registration in the CCR
- Completing, signing and returning DADS requested forms and certifications for FFATA reporting
- Congressional district of subrecipient
- Location and primary place of performance (POP) information, including: street address, state, country, city, ZIP code
- Subrecipient officers' names (top five) if all three criteria are met:
- 80 percent or more of subrecipient's annual gross revenue is from federal awards (contracts, subcontracts and federal financial assistance);
- subrecipient's annual gross revenue from federal awards is $25 million or more; and
- subrecipient's officer names are not publicly available.
- Subrecipient officers' total compensation (top five) if all three criteria are met:
- 80 percent or more of subrecipient's annual gross revenue is from federal awards (contracts, subcontracts and federal financial assistance);
- subrecipient's annual gross revenue from federal awards is $25 million or more; and
- subrecipient's officer compensation information is not publicly available.
Total Compensation is defined as:
- Cash and noncash value earned by the executive during the past fiscal year including:
- salary and bonus;
- awards of stock, stock options and stock appreciation rights;
- earnings for services under non-equity incentive plans. Does not include group, life, health, hospitalization or medical reimbursement plans that do not discriminate in favor of executives, and generally are available to all salaried employees;
- changes in pension value;
- above-market earnings on deferred compensation that are not tax qualified; and
- other compensation greater than $10,000 (for example, severance, termination payments, value of life insurance paid on behalf of the employee).
Why is subaward information being collected?
The Transparency Act requires OMB to "ensure the existence and operation of a single searchable website" for federal awards. The Transparency Act's definition of "federal awards" included not only prime awards for grants, cooperative agreements, loans and contracts, but also included subgrants and subcontracts. The guidance issued will begin the process by which will be able to further implement the Transparency Act and enhance the transparency of federal spending.
Federal agencies already report prime awards and prime awardee information to www.USAspending.gov. Are there new reporting requirements for federal agencies under FFATA?
No. There are no new federal agency reporting requirements, beyond those already required by OMB Memorandum M-09-19 for grant-making agencies. OMB M-09-19 strongly encourages federal agencies to ensure the accuracy and data quality of the prime award information they report. For federal agencies awarding contracts, the reporting requirements are governed by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 4.14 — Reporting Executive Compensation and First-Tier Subcontract Awards.
Who will be required to report executive compensation and subaward information associated with these federal contracts and grants?
A prime grant awardee will be required to report its subgrants and a prime contract awardee will be required to report its subcontracts.
Who is considered a prime awardee?
Both prime contractors and grants recipients are considered "prime awardees" when registering in FSRS.
How will these prime awardees report this information?
Prime awardees will report using the FFATA Subaward Reporting System (FSRS). The tool will pre-populate, to the maximum extent possible, recipient information from existing federal agency databases, such as the CCR, to reduce the burden associated with this new FFATA reporting. All federal contractors and prime grant recipients are required to register in CCR.
User guides, FAQs and an online demonstration are currently available at the FSRS website (www.fsrs.gov) for the contract subaward reporting capability. Grant subaward reporting user guides, FAQs, and an online demonstration were incorporated into FSRS on Oct. 29, 2010.
OMB is planning to issue additional guidance to agencies to provide more instructions for financial assistance reporting requirements.
How much time does a prime awardee have to report executive compensation or subaward information?
The prime recipient will have until the end of the month plus one additional month after an award or subaward is obligated to fulfill the reporting requirement. For example, if a subaward was made on Oct. 15, 2010, the prime recipient has until Nov. 30, 2010, to report the subaward information.
For ARRA-funded federal contracts and/or grants covered under this FFATA subaward reporting requirement, will reporting be required to both FederalReporting.gov and FSRS?
For ARRA-funded federal contracts that are subject to FFATA reporting, the prime recipient will be required to report the ARRA-funded federal contracts to both FederalReporting.gov and FSRS, if the contract so requires.
For ARRA-funded federal grants that are subject to FFATA reporting, the prime recipient will not be required to report the ARRA-funded federal grants to both FederalReporting.gov and FSRS. ARRA-funded grants will continue to be reported to FedReporting.gov only and non-ARRA funded grants will be reported to FSRS only.
What guidance or other documents implement these FFATA reporting requirements?
The OMB has issued guidance related to Open Government and Transparency to include an April 6, 2010, memo requiring the reporting of first-tier subawards. The guidance may be found at the OMB Open Government site.
The OMB issued guidance containing specific instructions on the subaward reporting on Aug. 27, 2010. The guidance may be found at the OMB Open Government site.
On July 8, 2010, an interim FAR rule with request for comments was published that contains information on the FFATA reporting requirements for federal contracts. Comments were due by Sept. 7, 2010.
The Paperwork Reduction Act information collections regarding subaward and executive compensation reporting requirements for grants and CCR registration for prime grantees was published on July 23, 2010.
What CCR information can awardees change in their profiles? Will users also have to make these changes in CCR?
The awardee cannot change any CCR information within FSRS. They will need to make the changes in CCR, then the data in FSRS will update based on the CCR feed.
What if the recipient location/project place of performance is outside of the United States? Do the required address fields, including ZIP+4 field, turn off or otherwise accommodate data entry for nondomestic addresses?
FSRS is able to accept foreign recipient locations and/or project place of performance. When completing an editable location field, the prime awardee selects "Non-US" from the state drop down menu. When "Non-US" is selected for state, then a non-United States country must be selected and the ZIP code field and the Congressional district become optional.
Will there be any language support for foreign grantees?
No. Foreign language support is not part of the system requirements.
You said data was coming over from the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) for contracts and from USAspending.gov for grants. Which FPDS dollar value field is being used to determine the proper reporting threshold for contracts, and which dollar value field from the Federal Assistance Awards Data System (FAADS) Plus reporting format are being used to determine the proper reporting threshold for grants?
FSRS uses the "Award Amount" (formerly "Total Dollars Obligated") field value from FPDS to determine if prime contract data meets the FFATA reporting threshold. FSRS uses an aggregated award amount calculated by Federal Award Identifier Number (FAIN) in USAspending.gov represented as the Total Fed Funding Amount (Sum of federal funding amount of base and all modifications).
Under compensation, if the organization is a state entity or university, who do they enter into the system as the top five executives?
The Transparency Act requires a prime awardee to provide, for their DUNS number and the DUNS number of their subawardee(s), the names and total compensation of the five most highly compensated officers of the entity if the entity in the preceding fiscal year received 80 percent or more of its annual gross revenues in federal awards; and $25 million or more in annual gross revenues from federal awards; and the public does not have access to this information about the compensation of the senior executives of the entity through periodic reports filed under section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. §§ 78m(a), 78o(d)) or section 6104 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. See FFATA § 2(b)(1).
Does the agency have a requirement to ensure FFATA subaward reports have been submitted by the prime grant recipient for grants the agency has awarded?
No. There are no new federal agency reporting requirements, beyond those already required by OMB Memorandum M-09-19. However, federal agencies are strongly encouraged to ensure the accuracy and data quality of the award information they report.
What system do you use to confirm Congressional district? The United States Postal Services? House.gov?
FSRS uses www.zip-codes.com as the source of the Congressional district look-up table. The data set includes the 111th Congressional District alignment to the ZIP+4 value
How will primary recipients report on funds given to individuals, without violating the Privacy Act?
Federal awards given to individuals are not subject to the Transparency Act's reporting requirements as discussed in the August 27, 2010, OMB guidance, Open Government Directive — Federal Spending Transparency and Subaward and Compensation Data Reporting, which states: "For grants, both mandatory and discretionary grants, equal to or over $25,000, and awarded on or after October 1, 2010 must be reported by the prime awardee.
The following are not subject to the Transparency Act's reporting requirements:
- Grants, whether existing or new as of October 1, 2010, that are funded by the Recovery Act. Rather, such awards will continue to report those awards and related sub-awards through FederalReporting.gov;
- Transfers of title between Federal agencies of Federally owned property;
- Federal inter-agency transfers of award funds;
- Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRDAs), as defined under 15 U.S.C. 3710a;
- Federal awards to individuals who apply for or receive Federal awards as natural persons (i.e., unrelated to any business or non-profit organization he or she may own or operate in his or her name);
- Federal awards to entities that had a gross income, from all sources, of less than $300,000 in the entities' previous tax year; and
- Federal awards, if the required reporting would disclose classified information."
Do these regulations apply only to U.S. primary recipients, or do they also apply to nondomestic primary recipients? What about U.S. primary recipients with nondomestic subrecipients?
Yes. With some limited exceptions, the reporting requirements apply to all prime awardees of federal grants, including foreign prime recipients and foreign subawardees. FSRS is able to accept non-US recipient locations and non-US principal place of performance. Please contact your awarding agency with any specific questions regarding applicability.
Do these regulations apply if the subrecipient is a state, local or tribal government?
What rules apply for contracts awarded under grants?
At present, the reporting requirements pertain to subgrants awarded underneath a prime federal grant. To facilitate transparency of federal funds awarded through grants, OMB will consider future additional guidance related to the collection of subaward data. These may include capturing information about: procurements under grants, grant awardees' costs other than subawards and procurements, and subawards under other types of federal financial assistance awards.
Under what circumstances must a primary recipient report its own executive compensation?
The Transparency Act requires a prime awardee provide, for their DUNS number and the DUNS number of their subawardee(s), the names and total compensation of the five most highly compensated officers of the entity if the entity in the preceding fiscal year received 80 percent or more of its annual gross revenues in federal awards; and $25 million or more in annual gross revenues from federal awards; and the public does not have access to this information about the compensation of the senior executives of the entity through periodic reports filed under section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. §§ 78m(a), 78o(d)) or section 6104 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. See FFATA § 2(b)(1).
Do cooperative agreements have to be entered?
Yes. OMB's Aug. 27, 2010, guidance outlines the requirements for federal agencies and prime contractors and prime grant and cooperative agreement awardees (collectively "prime awardees") for reporting subaward and executive compensation data pursuant to the FFATA and associated amendments. In FSRS, use of the term "grants" includes both grants and cooperative agreements.
Will all federal agency contracts/grants be available in this system? Also, will awardees be submitting this information on a macro level view across federal programs? For example, if one awardee has 28 grants/contracts, will they be program centric or federal agency centric?
FSRS interfaces with the FPDS-NG for agency-reported contract award information and with USAspending.gov for agency-reported grant award information. FSRS takes an "awardee-centric" approach allowing the prime awardee to manage (using their Awardee Worklist) and report against multiple contracts and/or grants awarded to their registered DUNS number. The awardee can sort and filter their worklist by type (i.e., contract or grant), by awarding agency, and by other filter terms. They will be able to see, by award number, the FFATA subaward reports filed against that particular contract and/or grant.
Who is required to file a FFATA report in FSRS?
The FSRS will collect data from federal prime awardees on subawards they make: a prime grant awardee will be required to report on its subgrants and a prime contract awardee will be required to report on its subcontracts.
In accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation, Clause 52.204-10 (Reporting Executive Compensation and First-Tier Subcontract Awards), prime contractors awarded a federal contract or order are required to file a FFATA subaward report by the end of the month following the month in which the prime contractor awards any subcontract greater than $25,000. This reporting requirement will be phased-in (see below):
- Phase 1: Reporting subcontracts under federally awarded contracts and orders valued greater than or equal to $20,000,000, reporting started July 8, 2010.
- Phase 2: Reporting subcontracts under federally awarded contracts and orders valued greater than or equal to $550,000, reporting started Oct. 1, 2010.
- Phase 3: Reporting subcontracts under federally awarded contracts and orders valued greater than or equal to $25,000, reporting starts March 1, 2011.
Although the requirement to report subawards is being phased-in at certain dollar levels, if you would like to start reporting prior to the start date for your subcontracts, the system is available to you for reporting.
In accordance with 2 CFR Chapter 1, Part 170 Reporting Sub-Awarded and Executive Compensation Information, prime awardees awarded a federal grant are required to file a FFATA subaward report by the end of the month following the month in which the prime awardee awards any subgrant equal to or greater than $25,000. The reporting requirements are as follows:
- This requirement is for both mandatory and discretionary grants awarded on or after Oct. 1, 2010.
- All subaward information must be reported by the prime awardee.
- For those new federal grants as of Oct. 1, 2010, if the initial award is equal to or more than $25,000, reporting of subaward and executive compensation data is required.
- If the initial award is less than $25,000, but subsequent grant modifications result in a total award equal to or more than $25,000, the award will be subject to the reporting requirements, as of the date the award exceeds $25,000.
- If the initial award equals or exceeds $25,000, but funding is subsequently de-obligated such that the total award amount falls below $25,000, the award continues to be subject to the reporting requirements of the Transparency Act and this Guidance.
What is a CCR Registration?
CCR is the primary supplier database for the federal government. The CCR collects data from suppliers, validates and stores this data, and disseminates it to various government acquisition agencies.
In October 1993, a memorandum was issued that required the government to reform its acquisition processes. Subsequently, the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 was passed, requiring the establishment of a "single face to industry." To accomplish this, the U.S. Department of Defense identified a centralized, electronic registration process — known as CCR — as the single point of entry for vendors that want to do business with the government. A new FAR policy, published Oct. 1, 2003 (Circular 2003-016, FAR case 2002-018), began requiring all federal contractors to register in the CCR database before award of any contract or purchase agreement.
DADS must have a DUNS number and maintain an active registration in the CCR for new federal grants as of Oct. 1, 2010. DADS also requires its subrecipients to register in both DUNS and CCR.
What is a DUNS number?
A DUNS number is a unique, nonindicative nine-digit identifier issued and maintained by Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) that verifies the existence of a business entity globally. D&B assigns DUNS numbers for each physical location of a business. All U.S. government contractors/grantees globally can receive a DUNS number at no charge and, under normal circumstances, within 24-72 business hours when using the D&B web form process by accessing: fedgov.dnb.com/webform.
DADS DUNS number: 807391529
DADS subrecipients are required to submit their DUNS number.
Are all subawardees required to have a DUNS number?
Yes, the Transparency Act requires information disclosure concerning entities receiving federal financial assistance through federal awards such as federal contracts, subcontracts, grants and subgrants. (See 31 U.S.C. 6101 note.) One of the data elements required is the unique identifier of the entity receiving the award and the parent entity of the recipient, should the entity be owned by another entity. The unique identifier used is D&B DUNS number. (See OMB M-09-19 at 11.) For prime and subgrant recipients, OMB has issued interim final guidance requiring such recipients to obtain a valid DUNS number. (See 2 CFR Part 25.)
If my DUNS number information is incorrect, how can I fix it?
Update your D&B information on the D&B web form at fedgov.dnb.com/webform. After you make the desired changes, and D&B confirms the changes made in their system, you will need to review the information in CCR. To view the D&B information in CCR:
- Go to the CCR homepage: www.ccr.gov
- Locate the "Log in to CCR" box.
- Enter your user ID and password, and then click the "Log In" button.
- Select "Update/Renew" to the right of the associated DUNS number on the "Manage Registrations" page.
- Click on "D&B Monitoring" on the registration menu on the left side of the screen.
- If the information is correct from D&B, click "yes" to accept data provided by D&B.
- A warning box will appear. Select "OK" to transfer the information to the General Information page of your CCR.
- Review the General Information page. Click on "Validate/Save Data" at the bottom of the page. If every mandatory field has been completed, you will receive a "Registration Complete" message.
After you receive the "Registration Complete" message, it will take 24 to 48 business hours to process the CCR update.
The D&B time frame for the changes to take effect in CCR is usually 24 business hours but may vary from country to country.
NOTE: If it has been more than two business days since you received confirmation from D&B that your DUNS record has been modified, and when entering CCR the D&B monitoring information is still not correct, please contact D&B at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m a subcontractor/subawardee; do I need to file a FFATA report in FSRS?
Subcontractors/subawardees cannot file a FFATA subaward report in FSRS. Only the prime awardee is required (and able) to report subaward actions in the FSRS reporting module.
Updated: August 27, 2014