Cyclopedia

Revolving Fund

Summary

A revolving fund is administered by an agency whereby it is authorized to deposit receipts into the fund that may be used to finance the fund’s operations. A revolving fund finances an entity or activity that operates on a business-like basis.

This is distinct from most other Treasury accounts, which are either receipt accounts or expenditure accounts. Unless specifically authorized otherwise, any receipts an agency collects or receives other than its congressional appropriation, must be deposited into the general fund of the Treasury. See 31 U.S.C. 3302(b). In addition, an agency may not withdraw money from a general fund receipt account unless an appropriation is made authorizing it. 

A revolving fund is an account combining both of these features: It is established by Congress to finance operations through receipts into the fund generated by business-like activities.


OMB Glossary of Budget Terms

Revolving Fund (OMB)

Revolving fund means a fund that conducts continuing cycles of business-like activity, in which the fund charges for the sale of products or services and uses the proceeds to finance its spending, usually without requirement for annual appropriations. There are three types of revolving funds: Public enterprise funds, which conduct business-like operations mainly with the public, intragovernmental revolving funds, which conduct business-like operations mainly within and between Government agencies, and trust revolving funds, which conduct business-like operations mainly with the public and are designated by law as a trust fund. (See section 20.11 [of Circular No. A-11])

OMB Circular No. A–11 (2017)
Page 9 of Section 20


GAO Glossary of Terms and Definition (September 2005)

Revolving Fund (GAO)

A fund established by Congress to finance a cycle of businesslike operations through amounts received by the fund. A revolving fund charges for the sale of products or services and uses the proceeds to finance its spending, usually on a self-sustaining basis. Instead of recording the collections in receipt accounts, the budget records the collections and the outlays of revolving funds in the same account. A revolving fund is a form of permanent appropriation. (See also Account.)

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References

Government Accountability Office: Revolving Fund from GAO Appropriations Law — Vol. III

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