Cyclopedia of Congressional Budget Law



The term reimbursement means an amount an entity, whether an private individual, corporation, a state or foreign government, or one agency of the Federal Government to another, paid to a Federal agency for costs incurred, expenses paid, or services provided.

GAO Glossary of Terms and Definition (September 2005)


A sum (1) that is received by an agency as a payment for commodities sold or services furnished either to the public or to another government account and (2) that is authorized by law to be credited directly to specific appropriation and fund accounts. Reimbursements between two accounts for goods or services are usually expenditure transactions/transfers.

Anticipated reimbursements are, in the case of transactions with the public, estimated collections of expected advances to be received or expected reimbursements to be earned. In transactions between government accounts, anticipated reimbursements consist of orders expected to be received for which no orders have been accepted. Agencies cannot obligate against anticipated reimbursements without specific statutory authority.

(See also Offsetting Collections under Collections; Unfilled Customer Orders.)

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Section 2634 of TItle 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations 

Reimbursement Definition from the CFR

The following is an example of how the term “reimbursement” is defined in the Federal Government. Here it is from the Code of Federal Regulations on the subject of government ethics.

5 CFR 2634.105 – Definitions.

(n) Reimbursement means any payment or other thing of value received by the reporting individual (other than gifts, as defined in paragraph (h) of this section) to cover travel-related expenses of such individual, other than those which are:

(1) Provided by the United States Government, the District of Columbia, or a State or local government or political subdivision thereof;

(2) Required to be reported by the reporting individual under 5 U.S.C. 7342 (the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act); or

(3) Required to be reported under section 304 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 ( 2 U.S.C. 434) (relating to reports of campaign contributions).


Payments which are not made to the individual are not reimbursements for purposes of this part. Thus, payments made to the filer‘s employing agency to cover official travel-related expenses do not fit this definition of reimbursement. For example, payments being accepted by the agency pursuant to statutory authority such as 31 U.S.C. 1353, as implemented by 41 CFR part 304-1, are not considered reimbursements under this part 2634, because they are not payments received by the reporting individual. On the other hand, travel payments made to the employee by an outside entity for private travel are considered reimbursements for purposes of this part. Likewise, travel payments received from certain nonprofit entities under authority of 5 U.S.C. 4111 are considered reimbursements, even though for official travel, since that statute specifies that such payments must be made to the individual directly (with prior approval from the individual’s agency).





Reischauer, Robert D.