Friday, October 12, 2018

Organization Costs

Organization costs are those made in connection with planning or executing the organization or reorganization of the corporate structure of a business, including mergers and acquisitions. These costs are unallowable under FAR 31.205-27 Organization Costs.

Such expenditures include, but are not limited to, incorporation fees and costs of attorneys, accountants, brokers, promoters and organizers, management consultants, and investment counselors, whether or not they are employees of the company. This would also include costs related to changes in the financial structure which may result from divestitures or the establishment of joint ventures or wholly-owned subsidiaries.

One rule of thumb in deciding whether a cost meets the FAR definition of organization costs is to consider its impact on the balance sheet. It it involves the equity section of the balance sheet (e.g.stock, equity, retained earnings, etc) it most like an organization cost.

In establishing the coverage at FAR 31.205-27, the Cost Principles Committee relied on the following definition of an organization and reorganization and the costs thereof:
  1. A major change in the financial structure of a corporation or a group of associated corporations resulting in alterations in the rights and interest of security holders; a recapitalization, merger, or consolidation. 
  2. Any costs incurred in establishing a corporation or other form of organization; as, incorporation, legal and accounting fees, promotional costs incident to the sale of securities, security-qualification expense, and printing of stock certificates. 

In the event a contractor creates or acquires a new segment or business unit through an acquisition or reorganization, the auditor should review the activity associated with the transaction to determine if any unallowable or unallocable costs are assigned to Government contracts. These activities are often performed by an in-house business planning group, an acquisition and divestiture committee, and by the corporate legal and accounting departments.

Contract auditors will ask to review any available documentation to identify activities and associated costs which are directly incident to establishing or altering the contractor's financial structure. Many times the employees involved in these activities do not maintain adequate time records to identify and support their effort expended on reorganizations and related work. This could present a problem. The auditor will most likely require that the contractor implements the necessary policy and procedures to properly identify and account for these activities.

Normal recurring expenditures associated with internal reorganizations of contractor segments and divisions are generally allowable costs to the extent they are reasonable and allocable. Such expenditures may be incurred for business planning and forecasting, developing policies and procedures, preparing a CAS disclosure statement, establishing an accounting system, etc.

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