Posting Transactions to Sponsored Accounts


The spending of any funds awarded by the federal government to Harvard is governed by the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards; Final Rule (Uniform Guidance), published by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 

In addition to the Uniform Guidance, Harvard must comply with the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) located at 48 CFR 9905.501, 9905.502, 9905.505, and 9905.506.  The purpose of the CAS is to ensure consistency in:

  • Estimating, accumulating and reporting costs (CAS 501)
  • Allocating costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances (CAS 502)
  • Accounting for unallowable costs (CAS 505)
  • Cost accounting periods (CAS 506) 

For additional guidance on appropriate budgeting and expenditures of sponsored funds whether from federal or non-federal sources and whether the award is directed toward research, training or other purposes, please see the Sponsored Expenditure Guidelines.

back to top

Tax Exempt Status

Harvard University is exempt from Massachusetts State Sales Tax. The University's tax exempt number is (E 042-103-580) which should be provided to vendors when making purchases that will be posted to sponsored accounts.

A copy of the University's Certificate of Exemption may be required by the vendor as well. See Tax Forms.

Note regarding Certificate of Exemption: this certificate expired in January 2009; a renewal letter, which you should attach to the ST-2 form, is included on the second page and is valid until 01/04/2019.

back to top

Federal Sponsor Guidelines

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is the University's cognizant agency. Federal cognizance, determined by funding support levels, means that DHHS has primary responsibility for overseeing research activity at Harvard. 

Harvard receives most of its funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is a unit of DHHS. For more information about DHHS, NIH and our other major federal sponsors, click here.