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Transfer of costs (payroll and other expenses) from a university funding source to a sponsored award chartstring or from one grant or contract chartstring to another should be a rare exception. Expenses should be applied to the appropriate project at the time the expense is incurred. However, when errors do occur, they must be corrected in a timely manner and with justification and documentation sufficient for audit review. For audit purposes, documentation of the transfer must include an explanation of why the error occurred and a certification that the cost has now been correctly charged.
Request a temporary project prior to receipt of the award document for a new grant or contract so that personnel and operating expenses can be charged to the correct chartstring, avoiding expense transfers.
The NIH Grants Policy has well-written guidelines for cost transfers that may be more generally applied to other Federal grants. Cost transfers to Federal grants that represent corrections of clerical or bookkeeping errors should be accomplished within 90 days of when the error is discovered.