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IM COVID-19 2020-01



Issuance Number:    IM COVID-19 2020-01

Subject:                      Tracking Spending Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Activities

Issuance Date:           3/24/2020

Special Revision:      3/21/2022

Expiration Date:       Retain until obsolete.

Responsible Office:  Office of Administration, Office of Accounting and Financial Management

Instruction: This Instructional Memorandum (IM) includes new guidance on testing and payment methods under Section 4.H., Costs to Capture; adds a statement on privacy after Section 4.H.; and introduces a new Section 6., Extraordinary Expenses.

Approving Official:   /s/ Holly Weyers                     

                                      Acting Associate Director for Administration


1.    Purpose.  The purpose of this IM is to implement procedures for tracking costs related to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Currently, there are several efforts underway within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to aid and assist in responding to employees in regard to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  It is very important that the USGS separately captures and tracks costs incurred for these types of events so USGS can report to other entities, including the Department of the Interior, Office of Management and Budget, the Government-wide Inspectors General Council, the General Accountability Office, and Congress.  This IM provides guidelines for the proper recording of obligations and expenditures related to COVID-19.

Please note that cost centers should expect to absorb the costs associated with COVID-19 and will be expected to close out the fiscal year properly.  If a cost center is unable to absorb the costs with existing fiscal year resources the cost center must contact the appropriate Mission Area Associate Director or Regional Director as soon as possible.

2.    Roles and Responsibilities.

A.  Cost Center: (i) Enters work break down element/account (WBS Element) in BASIS+ and uploads to the Financial and Business Management System (FBMS), (ii) reviews WBS Element in FBMS for accuracy, and (iii) tracks expenditures related to COVID-19.

B.  Office of Accounting and Financial Management (OAFM)/Funds Management (FM): (i) Approves or disapproves WBS Element establishment, and (ii) creates Bureau reports to capture project and expenditure information related to COVID-19.

C.  Office of Budget, Planning and Integration (OBPI): (i) Coordinates all requests for information on COVID-19 from internal and external entities, and (ii) reports for the USGS project and expenditure information related to COVID-19.

D.  Office of Administration (OA) in coordination with the Hazard Response Executive Committee (HREC): Issues instructional guidance necessary for capturing costs, maintains strong internal controls, oversees project work, coordinates communications, manages risk, monitors progress, and meets all tracking and reporting requirements established by the USGS, DOI, OMB, or other Executive or Legislative authorities.

3.    Recording and Tracking COVID-19 Response Costs.  Each cost center with a role in participating on the various administrative teams or responsible for responding to and as a result of COVID-19 must establish unique WBS Element numbers to facilitate a nationally consistent method of recording and tracking costs. 

A.  The WBS Element is titled “COVID-19 Expenses.”  The WBS element must be created in BASIS+ and interfaced to FBMS.  After successful interface through the nightly cycle, these WBS element numbers must be established in Quicktime immediately and used for tracking all hours and salary costs. 

The 15-digit WBS Element numbering scheme is as follows:

  • Characters 1-2 = USGS and Project Type (Appropriated, Reimbursable)
  • Characters 3-4 = Fiscal Year
  • Characters 5-8 = Fund Center/Cost Center
  • Characters 9-13 = Project Number
    • Account scheme for capturing non-facilities costs – COVXX
    • XX can be used to accommodate additional parent accounts needed for appropriated and reimbursable projects (e.g., 01 for appropriated, 02 for reimbursable, 03 for an additional reimbursement, and so on.  Centers can also use letters for these two positions XX.)
    • Account scheme for capturing facilities costs – COVFX
  • Characters 14-15 = Level 1 (Parent) WBS

Subaccounts are only used to track costs within the cost center if a lower level of detail is required below the parent account. If subaccounts are established, they must follow the numbering structure related to the parent WBS Element structure above.

A few examples of Parent WBS Elements–

  • GX.FY.FFFF.COV00.00 – COVID-19 Expenses (used for Non-Facilities costs)
  • GR.FY.FFFF.COV01.00 – COVID-19 Expenses (used for Reimbursable costs)
  • GX.FY.FFFF.COVF0.00 – COVID-19 Expenses (used for Facilities costs)

(1)  Appropriated projects: WBS Elements will be tied to the cost center’s “00S” project.  The newly created WBS Elements should be established using the cost center’s mission-related functional area and fund code.  When creating the fund source, cost centers can charge the common services rate.

(2)  Reimbursable projects: Charge full burden unless some specific language is attached to the funds that are received.

(3)  Facilities costs related to COVID-19: WBS Element will be tied to the cost center’s “00S” project.  The newly created WBS Element should be established using the Facilities program element.  All facilities costs will first hit the 02F00 WBS through the real estate object and once settled to the account, center can then move those costs to the COVFX account.

(4)  COM costs related to COVID-19: Beginning Fiscal Year 2021, a COM subaccount can be established to track COM-related COVID-19 costs that benefit and are related to the entire center.  The COM subaccount must follow the numbering structure below:


4.    Costs to Capture.  Following is an outline of costs to be captured for COVID-19 activities. Only track costs beginning on March 8, 2020:

A.  Salary, including overtime hours, and benefits for employees that are supporting this effort through participating in various task forces and developing bureau-level guidance and instructions.  This includes employees working on bureau-level task forces and regional, mission area and center staff responding to COVID-19 tasks. This does not include the salary and benefits for individuals that attend a few meetings, read emails for situational awareness or respond to a few questions related to COVID-19.  In other words, any activity that takes less than 4 hours a week does not require tracking. Hours worked on COVID-19 tasks that exceed 4 hours in a week would be tracked.

Employees should charge their hours to established COVID accounts in Quicktime beginning March 15, 2020.  Any hours previously dedicated to this activity (March 8 - March 14) should be adjusted via a salary adjustment in FBMS to the account specifically created for tracking these costs.

B.  Salary, including overtime hours, and benefits for employees that are supporting this effort through specific research and analysis related to COVID-19.

C.  Any travel or research conducted specifically in response to COVID-19.  Please refer to the USGS Close Quarters Safety Guidance which encourages one person per vehicle.  If an office has concerns that the existing GOV availability may not be sufficient, GSA does offer a short-term lease program (under 6 months) and is authorized to meet safe distancing requirements to accomplish local travel field work.  Rent the smallest, most fuel-efficient vehicle possible for the work.  POV mileage can also be reimbursed on the OF-1164 if a GOV is not available.

D.  Contracts, grants, supplies and equipment purchased specifically in response to and to mitigate COVID-19 impact.  This includes extraordinary costs related to laptops, monitors, and other equipment needs that were provisioned according to the pandemic telework guidance and to allow remote use at home that would not have been purchased otherwise.  For additional guidance in the Acquisition Operating Procedures (AOP), USGS employees may search “AOP Pandemic Response” on the internal USGS site. Supplies such as wipes, face masks, gloves, and sanitizers are allowed as a pandemic response.  These types of supplies can now be charged to a COVID-19 account due to the requirements contained in the USGS Adaptive Operations Recovery Plan and the United States Department of the Interior COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan guidance to return to the office.

E.  Increased contract costs such as facilities deep cleaning services.  Refer to section 3 above for capturing these costs in a unique COVID-19 Facilities account.

F.  For expenditure transactions, centers will record expenditures against the specific account.  If centers are processing expenditure adjustments, the specific budget object classification code must be entered to ensure accuracy in reporting.  Where possible, enter COVID-19 in both the Document Header and Line Text fields.

G.  For requisitions, centers will prepare their requisitions with the words COVID-19 in the header of the requisition and COVID-19 must be included in the line item short text field in FBMS.  Contracting Officers will enter a National Interest Code COVID-19 2020, in FPDS-NG to designate COVID-19.

H.  All COVID-19 approved testing should be charged to the center COVID account(s).  See USGS COVID-19 Operations Plan for details on acceptable conditions for USGS paying for a COVID test and acceptable tests. 

Following are the methods that can be used when paying for an acceptable COVID test:

(1)  Charge Card.  The Government charge card can be utilized to pay for approved testing.  The charge must be reallocated to the established COVID account using GL 6100.256O0, Medical-Other (includes pandemic services), and include “COVID Reimb” on the first description line.  Attach Appendix C documentation form from the COVID-19 Operations Plan to the credit card log.  The form must be completed before the charge card is used to purchase the test.  Do NOT include any test results with the documentation.  Do NOT include any test results with the documentation.

(2)  OF-1164 Claim for Reimbursement for Expenditures on Official Business.  If an employee does not have a purchase card and must pay out of pocket for the test, they can seek reimbursement via form OF-1164.  Detailed procedures for OF-1164 processing are located in Financial Operating Procedures 16-7.  In order to correctly record the cost of COVID-19 Test reimbursements, the OF-1164 should include the words “COVID-19 Reimb” after the employees last name in the text field and use GL account 6100.256O0, Medical-Other (includes pandemic services).  In accordance with FOP 16-7, the OF-1164 requires OAG approval.  Attach Appendix C documentation form from the Operations Plan to the payment.  Do NOT include any test results with the documentation.  

Note on Privacy:  Employee-specific information must be kept confidential.  Be mindful of employee’s right to privacy, particularly when it pertains to health status and medical information.  Provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other Federal laws, require managers and supervisors to maintain employee privacy.  However, this responsibility extends to those handling these payments as a moral obligation, personal respect and professionalism. 

5.    Documentation.  As expenditures and obligations are made against these accounts, centers will need to keep detailed records of all transactions to support potential audits of these funds. Supporting documentation may include details about salary-related costs and what was done to support the project, copies of contracts obligated under these funds, and details about expenditure movements made.

6.    Extraordinary Expenses.  Costs are borne by the center but if expenses become extraordinary, the Center Director should alert the Regional Director, then the Mission Area(s), and lastly excess costs can be brought to the attention of the Hazards Response Executive Committee (HREC) co-chairs via the HREC Secretariat.



  • CCM-500 Account List by Cost Center-19
  • CCM-510 Account List with Details
  • CCM-565A Transactions Query by Account
  • CCM-620G Status of Funds by Account with Funding
  • CCM-620P Status of Funds by Project


FBMS (Transaction Code)

  • Core Financials > Display > Project/WBS > Project Actual Cost Line Items (CJI3)
  • Core Financials > Display > Budget Execution > Year-end Residual Budget Report (ZFMRESBA)



  • EMIS > BEx Web Analyzer > New Analysis > Roles tab > Funds Management > Field Fund Status Summary


If you have any questions regarding this policy and the guidelines above, please contact your Funds Management Branch Team Lead.