Offsetting Collections (

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Offsetting Collections

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Collections authorized by law to be credited to appropriation or fund expenditure accounts. They result from (1) businesslike transactions or market-oriented activities with the public, (2) intragovernmental transfers, and (3) collections from the public that are governmental in nature but required by law to be classified as offsetting. Collections resulting from businesslike transactions with the public and other government accounts are also known as reimbursements.

Laws authorizing offsetting collections make them available for obligation to meet the account’s purpose without further legislative action. However, it is not uncommon for annual appropriation acts to include limitations on the obligations to be financed by these collections. The authority to obligate and spend offsetting collections is a form of budget authority. The Congressional Budget Act of 1974, as amended by the Budget Enforcement Act (BEA) of 1990, defines offsetting collections as negative budget authority and the reductions to it as positive budget authority.

Offsetting collections include reimbursements, transfers between federal and trust fund accounts, offsetting governmental collections, and refunds. (Also see Crediting payments from purchases between executive agencies, 31 U.S.C. 1536.)

Offsetting Governmental Collections” is a term used by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to designate offsetting collections from nonfederal sources that are governmental in nature but are required by law to be credited to expenditure accounts.


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