Expired Account / Expired Appropriation Account (CongressionalGlossary.com)

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Expired Account / Expired Appropriation Account

An appropriation account expires “[a]t midnight on the last day of an appropriation’s period of availability” and is “no longer available for incurring new obligations.” (GAO Red Book, Volume I, at 1-37.) However, an expired appropriation “remains available for 5 years for the purpose of paying obligations incurred prior to the account’s expiration and adjusting obligations that were previously unrecorded or under recorded.” (31 U.S. Code § 1553.)

Following the five-year period, the account is closed, and “[a]ny remaining balance (whether obligated or unobligated) in the account shall be cancelled and shall thereafter not be available for obligation or expenditure for any purpose.” (31 U.S.C. § 1552(a).) This means that the funds are “returned to the general fund of the Treasury.” (GAO Red Book, Volume I, at at 5-73.)

“Collections authorized or required to be credited to … [the] appropriation account, but not received before closing of the account … shall be deposited in the Treasury as miscellaneous receipts.” (31 U.S.C. § 1552(b).) In the event that obligations or adjustments to obligations that should have been charged to an account are discovered after the account is closed, they “may be charged to any current appropriation account of the agency available for the same purpose” as the closed account as long as they are “not chargeable to any current appropriation account of the agency.” (31 U.S.C. § 1553(b)(1).)

Congress may exempt appropriations from these rules through specific legislation. (GAO Red Book, Volume I, at 5-75.)

For further discussion, see “Expired Appropriation Accounts” in the GAO Red Book, Volume I, at 5-71 to 5-75.)


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