An expense transfer, also known as a cost transfer, is a procedure by which costs originally charged elsewhere are moved to or from a sponsored account or DeptID in order to allocate costs properly. Whenever there is a need for an adjustment, an Expense Transfer Entry Form should be completed by the department. The form should be signed by an authorized representative of each debit and credit for the DeptID(s) or grant(s) being used. The signatures will certify the correctness of the transfer(s). The Expense Transfer Entry Form should never be used for salary or fringe benefit adjustments. Any salary/fringe adjustments should be made via the labor system. Please see the Effort Reporting section of our website or contact Sponsored Programs Accounting with questions regarding such adjustments (Boston ext. 6-6561 & Medford ext. 7-2149).

For those transfers affecting DeptIDs only, the form should be sent to Financial Information Systems.

SPA Timing Considerations

All transfers involving sponsored awards should be accompanied by supporting documentation and should be submitted to Sponsored Programs Accounting (SPA) as soon as an error or other need for adjustment has been identified. Expense transfers should be submitted promptly. They should not be submitted later than 90 days following the date on which the expense was originally posted to the account. All transfers that take place more than 90 days after the original charge date should include written justification for the lateness of the transfer.

Sponsored Account Considerations

When the requests involve sponsored awards, the costs must be allowable and allocable to the debit account and they must be necessary to the scope of the project.

Explanation Codes

Explanation codes have been established to help simplify the expense transfer process. The codes are listed at the middle of the form. The explanation code is required for all transactions involving grants. They are required for audit procedures. The codes on the Expense Transfer form are as follows:

A. Transfer to continuation project – When an item is charged to a grant that is no longer in use and should be applied to a new grant number that was set up for a non-competitive continuation. The charges to be moved must be within the dates of the continuation grant. Example: $100 in materials was charged to HS0001, but HS0002 should be charged since that is the new grant number set up for the non-competitive continuation of work started on HS0001.
B. Transposition error – When the digits of an account, grant or DeptID number were transposed during processing. Example: PV1234 was charged for an item that was supposed to be applied to PV1324.
C. Allocation of expenses between DeptIDs or Project/Grants (method must be attached) – When you want to share an expense between two or more grants, DeptIDs (or a combination thereof) for any reason other than fulfilling part of a cost sharing agreement. The “method” used to split the expense is important so that anyone reviewing the transfer will understand why the expense is being divided.  See SPA’s Allocation Methodology document for more information.
D. Transfer to DeptID – Moving expenses to a hard money account.
E. P-card Allocation (missed p-card online system timeframe) – There is a 21-day window of time to move p-card charges to grants and DeptIDs via the p-Card system in PeopleSoft. When you miss that window of opportunity online, but still need to allocate expenses properly, this code should be used. The reason the allocation was not done within the given 21 days should be noted.
F. Other – When none of the above reasons accurately explain your need for an expense transfer, select this code and write your reason in the space provided as accurately and briefly as possible.


An explanation should be provided for every Expense Transfer Entry Form sent to SPA. Stating that an error was made is not sufficient justification for the request to be authorized. A justification of the request must explain why each expense was not charged to the correct account originally, how the expense directly benefits the receiving award, and what corrective action has been taken to correct systematic problems (if applicable).  If the space provided is insufficient, please attach a separate page to the form.

When reviewing a cost transfer, SPA uses a checklist tool to ensure that the form and documentation contain all of the information needed to process the transfer. Referring to the checklist may aid in the preparation of the form and documentation. A copy of the checklist can be found here.

A memo must always be attached for transfers requested more than 90 days after the original charge posted explaining the lateness of the request. The memo should address the first four questions on the checklist tool. This documentation ensures that Tufts can demonstrate due diligence in the event that the transfer is reviewed or audited at a later date.

Required Documentation

  Data Warehouse Transaction Detail Report
  Proper documentation should accompany each expense to be transferred (i.e. copies of receipts/invoices, copies of travel reports, a signed memo if over 90 days, etc.)
 √ Signed Expense Transfer Form


A copy of the Transaction Detail Report for the credit account should be included to reflect where the expense being transferred was originally charged. The information necessary to complete the entries on the Expense Transfer Entry Form should also be obtained from this report. The description of the expense, the amount of the expense, the account code and related reference numbers should be transcribed directly from the Transaction Detail Report to the Expense Transfer Entry Form.

Grouping Similar Expense Categories

Multiple expenses within the same account code may be grouped together as one line of entry on the Expense Transfer Form, providing that detailed documentation of the transactions adding up to the total transfer amount has been submitted along with the request.

Allocating Expenses

When allocating expenses to multiple accounts, an explanation of the method of allocation used to determine the amount charges to each grant should accompany the Expense Transfer Entry Form. See SPA’s Allocation Methodology guidance for more information.

Budget Considerations

If the funds in the debit account are not sufficient to cover the charge(s), or if no budget exists for the account code, then the account may require rebudgeting. Please contact the Budget Center or the Office of Research Administration prior to processing any expense in such instances.

Authorizations Required

The Expense Transfer Form requires signatures of authorization from an authorized representative of both the debit and credit accounts. The Responsible Person for each account should sign the form.

Once SPA has received the request and it has been approved for compliance with university, sponsor and federal policies, when applicable, it will be processed. Occasionally, it may be necessary for SPA to request additional information and/or return the form for additional information/documentation. In such instances, SPA will provide notification as to why the form is being returned. Please obtain the additional information required and resubmit it, along with the request, to SPA. Using the Cost Transfer Checklist as a guide during preparation transfer documentation is likely to lessen the need for follow up and expedite processing of the transfer.