HHS Reference Tool for Contract Funding, Formation and Appropriations Law Compliance
Is funding source an annual or multiple-year appropriation?
Annual appropriations (also called fiscal year or 1-year appropriations) are made for a specified fiscal year and are available for obligation only during the fiscal year for which made. The federal government’s fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year (31 U.S.C. § 1102). All appropriations are presumed to be annual appropriations unless the appropriation act expressly provides otherwise.
Multiple-year appropriations are available for obligation for a definite period in excess of one fiscal year [37 Comp. Gen. 861, 863 (1958)]. For example, if a fiscal year 2011 appropriation act includes an appropriation account that specifies that it shall remain available until September 30, 2013, it is a 2-year appropriation. As a more specific illustration, the appropriation accounts for military construction are typically 5-year appropriations. Apart from the extended period of availability, multiple year appropriations are subject to the same principles applicable to annual appropriations and do not present any special problems.
For more information, see GAO-04-261SP, Principles of Federal Appropriations Law—Volume I, pp. 5-4—5-7.