XIV. Allowable Costs

Allowable costs are those costs principles identified in the Federal Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards previously  OMB Circular A-87 for State and Local Government, OMB Circular A-122 for Non-Profits and in the grant program's authorizing legislation. In addition, costs must be reasonable, allocable, necessary to the project, and comply with the funding statute requirements.  Discussions of certain elements of the following costs are listed below.


    Cost thresholds and limitations are in place for the following items:
    • Meeting room/audio visual services must be pre-approved by your OCJP Program Manager.
    • Logistical Planners are RARELY ALLOWABLE.
    • Programmatic Planners are RARELY ALLOWABLE.
    • All OCJP funded contracts for events that include lodging for 30 or more participants must not exceed the Federal per diem rate for lodging. In the event the lodging rate is not the Federal per diem rate or less, none of the lodging costs associated with the event would be allowable costs to the award. As a result, the recipient would be required to pay for all lodging costs for the event, not just the amount in excess of the Federal per diem. For example, if the Federal per diem for lodging is $78 per night, and the event lodging rate is $100 per night, the recipient must pay the full $100 per night with non-grant funds, not just the difference of $22 per night.

    Food and beverage costs are rarely allowable.  See specific Fund Source chapter for more information.
  3. SPACE

    The cost of space in privately - or publicly - owned buildings used for the benefit of the program is allowable subject to the conditions stated below:
    The total cost of space may not exceed the rental cost of comparable space and facilities in a privately owned building in the same locality. The cost of space procured for program usage may not be charged to the program for periods of non-occupancy, without authorization of the Federal-awarding agency.
    1. Rental Cost: The rental cost of space in a privately owned building is allowable.  Rent cannot be paid if the building is owned by the grantee or if the grantee has a substantial financial interest in the property.  However, the cost of ownership is an allowable expense.  Similar costs for a publicly owned building are allowable where "rental rate" systems, or equivalent systems that adequately reflect actual costs, are employed.  Such charges must be determined on the basis of actual cost (including depreciation-based on the useful life of the building, operation and maintenance, and other allowable costs).  Where these costs are included in rental charges, they may not be charged elsewhere.  No costs will be included for purchases or construction that were originally financed by the Federal government.
    2. Maintenance and Operation: The cost of utilities, insurance, security, janitorial services, elevator services, upkeep of grounds, normal repairs and alterations, and the like are allowable to the extent they are not otherwise included in rental or other charges for space.
    3. Occupancy of Space under Rental-Purchase or a Lease with Option-to-Purchase Agreement: The cost of space procured under such arrangements is allowable when specifically approved by OCJP.  This type of arrangement may require application of special matching share requirements under construction programs.

    Software development is an allowable cost and may be expended in the period incurred.

    Post-employment benefits are allowable costs if funded in accordance with actuarial requirements.  Funds must be paid within six months of recordation.

    Payment of personnel costs are allowable if costs are a part of an approved project and are necessary and incidental to project implementation and operation. Overtime must receive prior OCJP approval and will only be approved on a case by case basis.

    See Chapter XIII: Procurement of Professional Services for allowable rates.

    Equipment and hardware expenses which are part of an approved project, if necessary and incidental to that project, are allowable expenses.  Equipment is defined as tangible non-expendable personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit or “Sensitive Minor Equipment” defined as moveable, high-risk, sensitive property items purchased with a cost between $500.00 and $5,000.00, such as computers (i.e., laptops, tablets), weapons, TVs, and cameras, acquired, used and managed for criminal justice and victim services grant purposes.  See Chapter X - Property and Equipment of the OCJP Administrative Manual for further details.

    In cases of agencies that already have written travel policies, procedures, and rates subrecipients should follow those rates or the state rates, whichever are lower.  Any requests for exceptions higher to these rates must be approved in writing by OCJP.  (See Tennessee Travel Regulations and Federal Per Diem Rates)

    Certain budget items require prior written approval from OCJP before adjusting the budget line-item amount(s).  OCJP will review the requested changes and notify the subrecipient once a determination has been made.  The following budget items must be approved prior to being implemented by the subrecipient:
    1. Salary adjustments – (including grant funded staff percentages and salary changes) Funds may not be moved into or out of the Salaries, Benefits & Taxes line item without prior approval.  
    2. Overtime
    3. Staffing Changes – if a position is added or deleted from the budget
    4. Capital Purchases
    5. Depreciation (updated effective 2/11/2021)
    6. Sensitive Minor Equipment – see Chapter X - Property and Equipment of the OCJP Administrative Manual for further details
    7. Furniture
    8. Clothing and/or Uniforms (Exception: Emergency clothing for victims/clients does not require prior approval.)
    9. Meeting room/audio visual services
    10. Indirect Cost – Funds may not be moved into or out of Indirect Cost without prior approval. The request must be accompanied by a copy of the agency’s approved indirect cost rate or approved Cost Allocation Plan which includes an indirect rate.
    11.   Depreciation (added to this list effective 2/11/2021)

NOTE:  THIS LIST IS NOT ALL-INCLUSIVE.  For further clarification, subrecipients should check the specific fund source chapter for additional allowable and unallowable costs.

Visit the DOJ Grants Financial Guide – Allowable Costs for additional information.

This Page Last Updated: February 16, 2021 at 9:13 AM