Antideficiency Act / Antideficiency Act Violation (

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Antideficiency Act / Antideficiency Act Violation

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The Antideficiency Act is a federal law (Pub.L. 97-258, 96 Stat. 923, 1982, 31 U.S.C. §§ 1341-1342, 1511-1519) that:

  • Prohibits the making of expenditures or the incurring of obligations in advance of an appropriation
  • Prohibits the incurring of obligations or the making of expenditures in excess of amounts available in appropriation or fund accounts unless specifically authorized by law (31 U.S.C. § 1341(a))
  • Prohibits the acceptance of voluntary or personal services unless authorized by law (31 U.S.C. § 1342)
  • Requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), via delegation from the President, to apportion appropriated funds and other budgetary resources for all executive branch agencies (31 U.S.C. § 1512)
  • Requires a system of administrative controls within each agency (see 31 U.S.C. § 1514 for the administrative divisions established)
  • Prohibits incurring any obligation or making any expenditure in excess of an apportionment or reapportionment or in excess of other subdivisions established pursuant to sections 1513 and 1514 of title 31 of the United States Code (31 U.S.C. § 1517)
  • Specifies penalties for deficiencies (see Antideficiency Act Violation below)


Mr. Scott Turner: Antideficiency Act


The act permits agencies to reserve funds (i.e., withhold them from obligation) under certain circumstances.

See also:


Fiscal Law #1 – Overview


Antideficiency Act Violation:
Occurs when one or more of the following happens:

  • Overobligation or overexpenditure of an appropriation or fund account (31 U.S.C. § 1341(a))
  • Entering into a contract or making an obligation in advance of an appropriation, unless specifically authorized by law (31 U.S.C. § 1341(a))
  • Acceptance of voluntary service, unless authorized by law (31 U.S.C. § 1342)
  • Overobligation or overexpenditure of (1) an apportionment or reapportionment or (2) amounts permitted by the administrative control of funds regulations (31 U.S.C. § 1517(a))

Once it has been determined that there has been a violation of the Antideficiency Act, the agency head must report all relevant facts and a statement of actions taken to the President and Congress and submit a copy of the report to the Comptroller General. Penalties for Antideficiency Act violations include administrative discipline, such as suspension from duty without pay or removal from office. In addition, an officer or employee convicted of willfully and knowingly violating the law shall be fined not more than $5,000, imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both (31 U.S.C. §§ 1349, 1350, 1518, and 1519).


See also:







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