RWA Policy

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Appropriations Law

Generally, GSA performs reimbursable work for other Federal agencies using the authority provided by 40 U.S.C. § 592(b)(2) or 31 U.S.C. § 1535 (the Economy Act). GSA’s authority to obtain payments for the work it provides to other federal agencies on a reimbursable basis is 40 U.S.C. § 581(g). GSA may also use the authority provided by 40 U.S.C. § 583 to acquire land and construct buildings on behalf of other agencies, including those maintained by other agencies outside of GSA’s jurisdiction, custody, and control.

PBS uses the authority provided by 40 U.S.C. § 592(b)(2) to perform reimbursable work in property within the jurisdiction, custody and control of PBS. PBS uses the authority provided by the Economy Act to perform reimbursable work in property that is not within the jurisdiction, custody and control of PBS.

PBS uses the authority provided by 40 U.S.C. § 592(b)(2). However PBS must treat all reimbursable work performed on behalf of DoD as though it were being performed as an Economy Act transaction, with the exception of those situations where fiscal law prevents it.

The customer agency should obligate its funds when PBS signs and accepts the RWA in accordance with the Recording Act, 31 U.S.C. § 1501. This is communicated through an Acceptance Letter and signed RWA from PBS.

The funds are obligated to PBS when PBS accepts the RWA and the customer records that obligation in their own accounting system for the scope of work intended to be delivered by PBS. Transfer of the funds takes place when PBS incurs expenditures, bills the customer, and the customer agency makes payment to reimburse PBS for those expenditures.

The customer agency’s obligation of its funds occurs once PBS accepts the RWA and notifies the customer of acceptance (via the Acceptance Letter). PBS’s obligations of those funds occur as PBS signs contracts to deliver the scope of work identified on the RWA throughout the duration of the project.

PBS may not execute RWA projects prior to receiving the full amount of funding needed to complete the project from the customer agency. An RWA with full funding must be accepted no later than the date of contract or lease award. Prior to receiving full funding, tasks may be performed up to but not including contract or lease award. Example tasks of planning, requirements development, cost estimating services, synopsis and solicitation can be performed by PBS before an RWA is accepted. Customers should submit an RWA Work Request (WR) in eRETA as soon as they identify a need for a project or service. A RWA Work Request is required for all RWAs.

1) Annual appropriation: An appropriation that is available for obligation only during a specific fiscal year. This is the most common type of appropriation. It is known as both a "fiscal year" or "annual" appropriation, and remains available to liquidate obligations properly chargeable to that account for five fiscal years after the period of availability expires.
2) Multiple year appropriation: An appropriation that is available for obligation for a definite period of time in excess of one fiscal year, and remains available to liquidate obligations properly chargeable to that account for five fiscal years after the period of availability expires.
3) No-year appropriation: An appropriation that is available for obligation for an indefinite period. A no-year appropriation is usually identified by appropriation language stating that funds are, “to remain available until expended.” Please reference this website for more information.

No, customer agencies receive direct appropriations for Rent. As a result, providing an RWA to pay for Rent could augment the customer agency’s appropriation. Thus, PBS cannot facilitate the use of an RWA as a funding source for Rent.

Bona Fide Need

Bona fide need is a fiscal law requirement established in 31 U.S.C. § 1502 specifying that a time-limited appropriation can be obligated only to meet a legitimate need arising in (or in some cases arising before but continuing to exist in) the fiscal year for which the appropriation was made. In other words, an agency cannot use current year funds for a future year’s need.

Yes, PBS can accept an RWA for a project and begin the work in the next fiscal year because the customer’s bona fide need for the work exists when the RWA is accepted (i.e., in September). Bona fide need refers to the timing of the need and not the timing of the expenditure. If the customer needs the project, could use the project today, and can define the need for the project today, then the Bona Fide Needs rule has been satisfied.

RWA Policy

Incremental funding is defined as funding the scope of work for a nonseverable service, such as construction, over a period of time rather than all at once. RWA requests for nonseverable services must be accompanied by funding sufficient to accomplish the entirety of the requested work, even if the work is scheduled to occur over multiple fiscal years. Nonseverable services may not be partially or incrementally funded regardless of fund type, including no-year funding. If a service is nonseverable, the client agency must fund the entire effort with dollars available for obligation at the time the client agency submits an RWA.

No. Fiscal law and GSA policy prohibit incremental funding, regardless of fund type.

The entire funding to support the estimate for the scope of work provides for a discrete and fully functional project deliverable (that is, a complete phase or stage of the project.

Ensure each RWA fully funds the associated scope of work and is for a discrete deliverable (i.e. other RWAs have not already been accepted for the same scope of work).

Yes, but if the customer agency wants to use multiple billing addresses, then it needs to submit multiple RWAs.

An RWA is not needed to begin requirements development, but PBS policy requires that an RWA is accepted prior to any contracting for design work. PBS cannot begin in-depth design work before accepting an RWA and then back bill for those services.

PBS must ensure that no additional obligations are placed against the RWA. PBS will then close out the RWA (rather than cancelling it) and bill the client agency for all costs already incurred.

PBS may use historic data, lump sum costs, square footage costs, or a combination to provide cost estimating based on the understanding of the project and facility. As requirements are further defined and phases of a project are completed, the range of accuracy of the SCE will improve.

Regions receive WRs/RWAs in RETA since all federal customers are required to use eRETA to send all WR/RWA information to GSA. WR/RWA information from non-federal customers is received through the regional RWA Manager.

No, accepting an RWA funded with expired funds that was submitted by a customer agency but never officially accepted by PBS violates the Recording Act (31 U.S.C. § 1501) which states that an amount shall be recorded as an obligation only when supported by written evidence of a binding agreement between two agencies that was executed before the end of the period of availability for obligation of the appropriation or fund used for specific goods to be delivered, real property to be bought or leased, or work or service to be provided. Since PBS did not sign and accept the RWA during the period of availability of the funds, there is no binding agreement or basis for the customer agency to obligate the funds. If the customer agency continues to desire the project, the customer agency should submit a new RWA using funds that are currently available for new obligations.

Yes, PBS can accept phased RWAs, but each phase must include a discrete and fully functional project deliverable and be fully funded at the time the RWA is accepted.

RWAs are a type of IAA. Upon acceptance by PBS, the RWA is the document used by PBS to obligate the funds on behalf of the requesting agency. As such, PBS then becomes the servicing agency and the funds are recorded on the requesting agency’s accounting records as an obligation. If there is a separate memorandum of agreement, or IAA, it should be uploaded into eRETA as a supplement to, but never in lieu of, the RWA Form 2957. In any event, PBS always requires an RWA be submitted when a customer agency is requesting work to be performed by PBS, as the servicing agency, under either 40 U.S.C. § 592(b)(2), the Economy Act, or 40 U.S.C. § 583.

RWA Amendments and Antecedent Liabilities

An RWA should be amended for cost increases that are attributable to work within the scope of the original RWA. Amendments for new scope are only accepted in the same fiscal year the original RWA was accepted. If adding scope in a different fiscal year, a new RWA is required.

If there is a change needed to the scope or requirements accepted as part of the original RWA, the customer should work with the PBS project manager to define the change in requirements to determine next steps. The project manager will provide either a revised or new SCE to reflect the changes or additions, and the customer must submit either an amended or a new RWA in eRETA, depending upon whether or not the changes were within the scope of the original RWA or not and whether the customer agency’s funds from the original RWA remain available or have expired.

No, eRETA will force the customer to send an amendment to GSA which will be routed to both the Customer Fund Certifying Official and GSA Approving Official for signature.

RWAs funded with no-year funds may only be amended to add new scope during the fiscal year in which the RWA was accepted by PBS.

Yes, all agency accounting detail lines are available on the "Accounting Details" tab in RETA/eRETA. The Accounting Details tab can handle multiple customer detail lines that vary by Fund Year, Fund Type, Expiration Date of Obligational Authority, Treasury Symbol, or Agency Accounting Data. However GSA’s financial management system Pegasys can only handle one accounting line at a time. As such the detail line most recently updated in RETA/eRETA (highlighted green in RETA) is the line that will be sent to Pegasys and printed on the RWA bills. Customers may change the “Line to Bill” by submitting an administrative amendment, changing the accounting line, and submitting to Pegasys (see amendment user guide at for more details).

Personal Property

Yes, but the RWAs must fall into the specific guidelines and rules outlined by the Stand Alone Option for Furniture Acquisition program. For more information visit the Total Workplace page.

No. It is attached to the structure so it is not considered personal property.

90 Day “Reasonable Time” Restrictions

GSA Policy requires that PBS re-obligate customer agency funds within 90 days after acceptance, unless a schedule is in place at the time of RWA acceptance that details when the obligation will take place. This is to ensure the Bona Fide Needs rule is not broken and that PBS is accepting funds for projects that customer agencies truly need.

Customer agency funds must be re-obligated by PBS within a “reasonable time” after acceptance of the RWA. 90 days is a standard applied by PBS. Contracting time should be built into the schedule, so if 90 days to obligate is not realistic, then the schedule should be reviewed with the customer prior to RWA acceptance.

No, since F Type RWAs are used to cover miscellaneous services within a fiscal year, no schedule is required.

5 Year Liquidation Period

The timing of availability of an appropriation means an agency is given funds through an appropriation and those funds must be obligated within a specific time period. If an agency is given a $1M annual appropriation for the current fiscal year, this means the agency has until the end of the fiscal year to obligate that $1M. If the agency obligates $1M to PBS on an RWA, then PBS has up to 5 fiscal years from the end of the customer’s obligational authority (the end of this fiscal year in this case) to incur all obligations and to liquidate (expend) the obligations incurred. (See 31 U.S.C. § 1553). PBS is required, by law, to incur its obligations within a reasonable time, as detailed in the “reasonable time” section of the RWA National Policy Document.

No. For annual funding, the customer only has 1 fiscal year to obligate those funds to PBS. (See 31 U.S.C. § 1502). PBS then has up to 5 fiscal years, if necessary, to re-obligate to contractors and liquidate those obligations (See 31 U.S.C. § 1553).

No. The 5 year liquidation period clock does not start until the customer’s obligational authority expires. (See 31 U.S.C. §§ 1552 - 1553).

The funds are sent back to the customer agency who must return the funds to the Treasury. The customer agency may be able to obligate currently available funds in accordance with 31 U.S.C. § 1553(b) if the customer wants to continue with the project and also to cover any costs PBS may have incurred that were not yet billed.

The five year liquidation rule from 31 U.S.C. § 1552 does not apply to no-year money. No-year funds are generally marked for specific projects and normally remain available until they are expended, thus never really “expiring” unless Congress withdraws or rescinds the funding. That said, projects exceeding five years in duration are not common and require heightened review and scrutiny.

Remaining Funds at Closeout

No. If there are funds remaining on an RWA at the end of a project, PBS must send a Closeout Letter to the customer so the customer can deobligate the funds on its books and determine any further availability or potential use of any remaining funds.

No. If funds are remaining on an RWA, then the RWA must be closed and notice should be given to the customer identifying the remaining balance that should be deobligated.

No. Not at completion, but at financial closeout. At financial closeout, PBS should return any remaining funds to the customer and let the customer agency determine what to do with the funds.

RWAs without any financial activity may be canceled, but RWAs with any financial activity will follow the substantial completion process. PBS will collect any remaining expenses incurred prior to early completion and then allow the customer to deobligate the remainder.

Economy Act & Department of Defense RWAs

For goods and severable services, PBS must accept the RWA, award a contract, and the contractor must begin performance for the requested goods or services prior to the end of the fiscal year. For nonseverable services, PBS must accept the RWA and award a contract for the requested services prior to the end of the fiscal year.

The DoD procedures are different as a result of DoD-specific financial management policies.

RWAs in Leased Space

The RWA for the excess TI must cite currently available funds and be received and accepted by PBS no later than the date of the lease award.

No, provided the estimated project completion date of the RWA is within the performance period of the lease (e.g., in this case within 2 years).

As early as the project is identified, scoped and estimates, but no later than prior to lease award.

No, customers can only buy down the customized portion of its TIs.

The customer may elect to give PBS a lump sum payment RWA for all, or part, of its customized portion of the TI allowance. If the customer does not exercise this option, the customized portion of the TI gets amortized into the rent payments and may not be changed.

Yes, if there is no change in scope, the customer agency must fund the antecedent liability with funds it had available when the original RWA was submitted, or if it has no such funds, it can submit a Statement of Further Written Assurance certifying that it has no funds that were available when the original RWA was submitted and then submit currently available funds.

Last Reviewed: 2022-11-25