ATTENTION: In the fall of 2017, we will release a new version of USAspending.gov. The new site will continue to provide data on federal awards as well as include data on agency expenditures. Please note that in advance of that transition, financial assistance awards, such as grants and loans, are now being updated on beta.usaspending.gov only. Please visit the new site and give us your feedback at Contact Us or join the Community.

FAQs

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Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about USAspending.gov.  You can also review the Glossary for terms used on the site.

General Information

General Data Information

Mapping Data

Download Data

Search

Contact Us

Safety/Security Concerns​

​​ General Information​​

Q: What is the purpose of this website?
A: USAspending.gov was mandated with the passage of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (FFATA) with the mission of showing the American public how their tax dollars are being spent.

Q: Where can I find the full Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act?
A: Read the full Act​​.

Q: Who manages USAspending.gov?
A: The Department of Treasury’s Bureau of Fiscal Services has operational responsibility for the site.

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Q: Who is supposed to report to USAspending.gov?
A: All federal agencies that make federal contract, grant, loan, and other financial assistance awards in amount more than $25,000 are required to submit reports.

Q: Where can I find reporting requirements guidance?
A: Reporting requirements are issued by the Office of Management and Budget.

Q: What I find on USAspending.gov?
A: You will find data for transactions relative to federal contract, grant, loan, and other financial assistance awards. The data from 2008 to present is displayed on charts, graphs, and maps; data prior to 2008 can be downloaded from the Download Center.

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Q: What is not displayed on USAspending.gov?
A: Actual spending data by recipients is not available, nor is data on appropriation amounts, salaries and benefits, and tax credits.

Q: Is USAspending.gov accessible for people with disabilities?
A: Yes. Read how the site is made 508 compliant.

Q: What is the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act?
A: The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, known as the DAT​​A Act, was signed by the President in May 2014. ​The DATA Act builds on the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, requiring federal agencies to report to the public expanded data on federal spending.  This new data is to be displayed on an improved and updated USAspending.gov. ​

Q: What is OpenBeta.usaspending.gov?
A: OpenBeta.usaspending.gov was launched by Treasury as the platform to get feedback from the public on potential features and functionality ideas for the next generation of USAspending.gov.

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General Data Information

Q: What kind of data is on the website?
A: Every transaction reported by federal agencies for federal contracts, grants, loans, and other financial assistance.

Q: What is the source of the data?
A: Federal agencies are required to submit reports on their awards’ transactions within 30 days after the implementation of the transaction. The exception is the Department of Defense which submits reports after 90 days to protect operations.

Q: What is a prime recipient?
A: A prime recipient is the entity directly receiving a federal award, and may include state and local governments, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, universities, and individuals.

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Q: What is a sub-award?
A: A contract or grant monetary award made by a prime recipient to a sub-recipient.

Q: Who reports sub-award data?
A: The prime recipient is required to report the data on sub-recipients.

Q: How do I find information on a sub-award?
A: There are three ways to find sub-award information. A) Use the keyword search in the upper-right hand corner of every page; B)Go to the Spending Map and filter by the prime recipient name. In the right-hand column, click on “Award” to go to the Award Summary, then click on the “View Sub-recipient Details” link in the Sub-Awards box. C) Go to the Advanced Data Search and input the prime recipient’s name. In the Search Results box, click on the Award ID​ to go to the Award Summary. Click on the “View Sub-recipient Details” link in the Sub-Awards box.

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Q: What is a transaction?
A: Includes any amendment or modification to a federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperative agreement award.

Q: What is a fiscal year?
A: The federal government operates on a fiscal year that begins on October 1st and ends the following September 30th.   The fiscal year is the year in which an award or action occurred.

Q: How are transactions assigned to fiscal years?
A: For contracts, the fiscal year used is the fiscal year in which the contract action was signed. For assistance, the fiscal year is determined from the Obligation/Action Date field in the submitted report, except when a correction to a record or a late record is reported, in which case the fiscal year and quarter fields are used to determine the fiscal year.

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Q: What is the difference between Awarding Agency and Funding Agency?
A: The Awarding Agency is the federal agency making the contract, grant, loan, or other financial assistance award. In some instances, a federal agency will provide the funding for the award made by the Awarding Agency.

Q: What is a Bureau?
A: A sub-component of a federal agency. For example, the Federal Highway Administration is a bureau within the Department of Transportation.

Q: Why is an agency’s data not on USAspending.gov?
A: An agency’s data will not be on USAspending.gov if the agency, for some reason, has not submitted reports or has no reports to submit.

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Q: Why are there negative numbers?
A:The agency made a modification to an award but there was no additional funding. The agency reduced or rescinded more than the original award amount; there is a negative subsidy on a loan and the funds are being returned to the Treasury; duplicate corrections reports have been submitted by the agency.

Q: What is Assistance data?
A: Includes direct grants, direct payments, loans, and insurance.

Q: What is Other Financial Assistance?
A: Includes direct payments to individuals (such as Medicare and food stamps), insurance payments (such as, unemployment benefits, flood insurance), and other types of assistance payments (such as, reimbursements for prescriptions for veterans).

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Q: What is SmartPay Data?
A: The General Services Administration provides charge cards to more than 350 federal agencies, organizations, and Native American tribal governments to use for purchasing general supplies and services, as well as for official government travel expenses, fuel and supplies for government vehicles.

Q: Where will I find “spending” data?
A: Federal agencies and prime recipients are not required to submit spending data.

Q: What do “multiple recipients” represent?
A:  To protect the privacy of individuals and to allow for the reporting of transactions less than $25,000, agencies, per Office of Management and Budget guidance, can aggregate those transactions and use “multiple recipients” for recipients' names.

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Q; What are “funds awarded?”
A: Award funds that have been made available to a recipient but have not necessarily been distributed.

Q:  What are "ZZ," "00," "98," and "99" Congressional Districts?
A: "ZZ" are unassigned congressional districts; "00" indicates the address of the recipient is unknown; "90" are at-large or statewide districts; and "99" are districts that have no representation.

Q: How do I find foreign transactions?
A: You can find foreign transactions by using the Advanced Data Search and selecting the “Foreign” box in the Search Within category.

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Q: What is the difference between Recipient Location and Place of Performance?
A: The Recipient Location is usually the headquarters of the entity receiving a federal award; the Place of Performance includes the location for the project being funded by the award or the location where products or services have been purchased for a project being funded by an award.

Q: Who is required to report executive compensation information?
A: Entities are required to report the executive compensation for their top five officials if 80% or more of the entity’s annual gross revenues were received from federal contracts, grants, loans, or other financial assistance; if $25M or more in annual gross revenues were received from federal contracts, grants, loans, or other financial assistance; and if the public does not have access to the information through reports filed with the Securities Exchange Commission or the Internal Revenue Service.

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Q: Why is my company listed on USAspending.gov if I never received a federal award?
A: Most likely, the federal agency might have submitted incorrect data, or a prime recipient submitted incorrect data on a sub-recipient.

Q: Where can I find data prior to 2008?
A: All the data can be downloaded at the Download Center.

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Mapping Data

Q: How is the data geocoded?
A: The data is geocoded based on the place of performance reported by the agency. If the agency reports the zip code + 4 the data is geocoded to the middle of that zip code.  If the agency reports a county only the data is geocoded to the center of that geographic location; if the agency reports a state only, the data is geocoded to the capital of the state.  

Q: What do the dots represent?
A: Each dot represents a transaction for a federal contract, grant, loan, or other financial assistance.

Q: How do I find data by state?
A: On the Spending Map, select a State and hit Go. Or go to the State/Territory landing page and select the state from the drop down.

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Q: How can I find federal funding in my zip code?
A: Input your zip code on the Home Page, or go to the Spending Map,  input your zip code into the zip code box at the top of the map and hit Go.

Q: How do I find data by Congressional District?
A: On the Spending Map page, select a State, then select a Cong Dist, and hit Go.

Q: How do I find data by County?
A: On the Spending Map, select a State and then select a County. Hit Go

Q: How do I find foreign transactions on the map?
A: Foreign transactions are not yet geocoded on the Spending Map.

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Download Data

Q: How do I download all the data?
A: You can download all the data from Data Download.

Q: Can I download my search results?
A: Yes, click on the Download Results on the page. 

​​Q: What formats can I use to download data?
A: You can download the data in .xls, csv, or xml formats.

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Search

Q: How do I use the keyword search?
A: ​To search by keyword, use the following delimiters:

  • Commas will return "and" results. For example, inputting energy, solar will return results for energy and solar. 
  • For results on multiple NAICS or P/S codes, use "or" between the numbers. For example, 111998 or ​51199. ​
  • A space between keywords will return "and" results.  For example, energy solar will return results for energy and solar. 
  • For "or" results, type the word "or" between the search terms. For example, energy or solar. 
  • For phrases, u​se " " to narrow your search to exactly the keywords within the quotes. For example: "solar in Arizona."
  • Keyword search is not case sensitive
  • All special characters, such as !@#$%^&*(), commas, and single quotes (‘) are dropped. ​

​​Q: How do I search for a specific transaction?
A:  Click on Advanced Data Search in the upper right-hand corner of any page. You can use the filters to find the transaction. 

Q: How do I search for a specific recipient?
A: Go to the Advanced Data Search and input the name of the recipient​.

Q: How do I search by program?
A: To search by program, you will need the CFDA number for grants and loans, or the TAS or NAICS code for contracts. Input the CFDA, TAS, or NAICS in the Search box and hit go.

Q:How do I search for a sub-award?
A: Go to Advanced Data Search and input the name of the recipient of the sub-award.

Q: How do I search for transactions that span multiple years?
A: Go to Advanced Data Search and select multiple fiscal years.

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Contact Us

Q: How do I report technical errors on the website or contact the website with questions?
A: To report technical errors or ask questions, please use the Contact Us feedback form.

Q: How can I have my name/company/information removed from the website?
A: If you believe your name/company/information should not appear on the website, you must contact the point of contact at the agency that is connected to the information.

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​Safety/Security Concerns

Q: ​I am a prime recipient entity that received a federal financial assistance award. The safety and security of the employees of my entity may be threatened if identifying information about my entity is displayed publicly on USAspending.gov. Does my entity meet the exemption requirements for the awarding federal agency to not report entity-identifying award information about my entity on USAspending.gov?​
A:​The awarding federal agency may exempt your entity under 2 CFR § 25,110(d)(2)(i)​ from reporting entity-identifying award information into USAspending.gov if such compliance will jeopardize the personal safety of the employees of your entity. In these situations, your entity must work with the awarding federal agency responsible for determining if the conditions support an exemption. If the exemption is granted, the awarding federal agency will take the necessary steps to report the award without reporting your entity's identifying information. Contact your awarding federal agency with any questions about this guidance.

Q: ​I am a prime recipient entity that received a grant or cooperative agreement. If my entity is exempt from having its award-identifying information displayed on USAspending.gov, is my entity also exempt from reporting its subawards?
A: Yes, if the awarding agency exempts your entity under the conditions of  2 CFR § 25,110(d)(2)(i)​ because of "classified infor​​mation or national security or jeopardizing the personal safety"  and/or under 2 CFR § 25,110(d)(2)(ii)​ because its "project or program is performed outside the United States valued at less than $25,000," then your entity is also exempt from the requirement to report its subawards. Contact your awarding federal agency with any questions about this guidance.

Q: ​Can my entity, a prime recipient that received a grant or cooperative agreement, determine that my subawardee meets the exemption conditions in 2 CFR ​§ 110(d)(2)(i) and/or 2 CFR § 25,110(d)(2)(ii) and not report them to USAspending.gov? 
A: ​Maybe. Your awarding federal agency may authorize you, as a prime recipient entity, to make this determination, i.e., that your subaward recipient meets the conditions as specified in 2 CFR ​§ 110(d)(2)(i) and/or 2 CFR § 25,110(d)(2)(ii).  In situations where you are granted this authority, you must comply with agency requirements to ensure the data quality on USAspending.gov. Contact your awarding federal agency with any questions about this guidance.

Q: As a prime recipient entity that received a grant or cooperative agreement, our information has been displayed in USAspending.gov for past awards. We believe that our new award activities meet the exemption conditions specified in 2 CFR § 110(d)(2)(i) and/or 2 CFR §​ 25,110(d)(2)(ii​)​. For the purposes of these new ​awards, can our entity be exempt from reporting entity-identifying awa​​​rd information into USAspending.gov.
A: Maybe. Your awarding federal agency may exempt you, as a prime award recipient entity, from reporting identifying award information to USAspending.gov if the entity's new activities meet the conditions as specified in  2 CFR ​§ 110(d)(2)(i) and/or 2 CFR § 25,110(d)(2)(ii). In these situations, your entity should work with the awarding federal agency to see if an exemption applies. Contact your awarding federal agency with any questions about this guidance. ​

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