Tribal Entities Eligible for Opt-Out Provision in Newly Released Final OMB Uniform Guidance

On December 19, 2014, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)—together with federal awarding agencies—released a joint interim final rule to implement the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. The purpose of issuing this final rule was to make a few technical corrections to the uniform guidance previously issued last December and to provide the implementing guidance for each federal awarding agency. Although we’re still reviewing the final rules, we want to bring one important item to your attention immediately: The Section 200.512(b)(2) opt-out provision will, in fact, be available to tribal entities.

Definition of Indian Tribe

As many are aware, one of the primary concerns tribes had regarding the guidance issued last December was the change to the definition of Indian tribe, given how that definition impacts whether or not a tribe (or tribal entity) would be eligible to utilize the opt-out provision included in the guidance at Section 200.512(b)(2). This provision allows tribes to prevent the Federal Audit Clearinghouse (FAC) from making their reporting package (financial statements, corrective action plan, etc.) publicly available on the FAC Web site. Based on the original guidance and subsequent FAQs, it was unclear whether certain tribal entities—such as stand-alone housing authorities, health clinics, schools, and consortiums—would be eligible to utilize the opt-out provision.

The interim final rule implementing the uniform guidance has changed the wording included in the provision and makes clear that the provision is available to tribes and tribal organizations as defined in the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. This language change should now clear the way for most tribal entities and consortiums to utilize the opt-out provision if they so choose.

We're Here to Help

Moss Adams can help you determine the impact of the uniform guidance on your organization and guide you through any changes. The interim final rule is over 1,140 pages long, and in the coming months we’ll be providing much more information on other changes OMB and federal awarding agencies may have made to the previously issued guidance, including changes to both “must” items (requirements) and “should” items (best practices).

For more information, contact your Moss Adams professional. Or contact partner Tasha Repp, who was a member of a Native American Finance Officers Association work group that spent time throughout the last year working with OMB to clarify this issue and incorporate the change into the uniform guidance.