Submission Review Process

Note: As of July 1, 2022, Caltrans Internal Audits Office (CIAO) is responsible for reviewing all Caltrans pass-through agencies requesting Indirect Cost Rates.

Please review the Process below to complete your Submission Review:

  1. Complete the Intake Form.
    • First, complete the CIAO intake form, which is required prior to submitting an indirect cost rate plan.
    • Next, email intake to
  2. Complete the Application and Calculation forms
    • Then, CIAO will determine if Caltrans is the cognizant agency based on the stewardship agreement and respond to you.
    • If approved, you will then complete the application and calculation forms.
  3. Check Tableau Report
    • Finally, you may check updates on the Tableau Report, which will include the reviewed indirect cost rate.

Criteria: Stewardship & Oversight Agreement (Between FHWA & Caltrans)

Section XI State DOT Oversight And Reporting Requirements:

  • B.3 states in part, "Caltrans acts on behalf of FHWA on these projects with the expectation that it exercises similar judgment based on Federal laws, regulations, and FHWA policies. The goal is to ensure that sub-recipients are aware of federal-aid requirements, management, and compliance responsibilities. This is accomplished through application of established policies, guidance, standard procedures, and programmatic agreements that were developed with FHWA input and involvement to ensure that Title 23 and Title 49 requirements are met."
  • B.4. Caltrans shall assess whether a sub-recipient has adequate project delivery systems and sufficient accounting controls to properly manage projects, using the following actions, programs, and processes:
  • Subrecipient project delivery systems are assessed by Caltrans through various monitoring activities described in the Local Assistance Procedures Manual (LAPM).
  • Caltrans assesses subrecipient accounting controls through various monitoring activities described in the LAPM such as Indirect Cost Allocation Plan (ICAP).

Indirect Cost Allocation Plan (ICAP): Acceptance & Audit Process

The federal requirements for indirect cost rates are as follows:

For State and Local Governments:

  • 2 CFR Appendix V, paragraph F.1 states, in part, “In general, unless different arrangements are agreed to by the concerned Federal agencies, for central service cost allocation plans, the cognizant agency responsible for review and approval is the Federal agency with the largest dollar value of total Federal awards with a governmental unit… Once designated as the cognizant agency for indirect costs, the Federal agency must remain so for a period of five years.”
  • In addition, [Federal] Department of Transportation will be the cognizant agency for indirect cost for state and local airport, port authorities, and transit.

For Non-profit Organizations:

  • 2 CFR Appendix IV, paragraph C.2.a states, in part, “Unless different arrangements are agreed to by the Federal agencies concerned, the Federal agency with the largest dollar value of Federal awards directly funded to an organization will be designated as the cognizant agency for indirect costs for the negotiation and approval of the indirect cost rates and, where necessary, other rates such as fringe benefit and computer charge-out rates. Once an agency is assigned cognizance for a particular nonprofit organization, the assignment will not be changed unless there is a shift in the dollar volume of the Federal awards directly funded to the organization for at least three years.”

For Institutions for Higher Education (IHEs):

  • 2 CFR Appendix II, paragraph 11.1.1  states, in part, "In cases where neither HHS nor DOD provides Federal funding directly to an educational institution, the cognizant agency for indirect costs assignment must default to HHS."

For Indian Tribal Governments:

  • 2 CFR Appendix VII paragraph D.1.c states, "Each Indian tribal government desiring reimbursement of indirect costs must submit its indirect cost proposal to the Department of the Interior (its cognizant agency for indirect costs)."

To determine eligibility, please download the: CIAO Intake Form (PDF) 

Then, e-mail completed form to:

Questions?  Please check the FAQ below.

The CIAO Intake document requires the following information:

  • List the total amount received from outside agencies, including Caltrans during the specific year.
  • Provide supporting documentation matching the accounts receivable amounts.
  • List the total amount received from all Caltrans projects during the specific year.
  • CIAO will be verifying the Caltrans amount listed.
  • Once the intake document is completed, CIAO will provide information to the submission review application website.

Frequently Asked Questions (Intake related questions)

If my agency knows who the cognizant agency, can we skip the intake form?

Yes, if the agency is aware of its cognizant agency, please submit the application and the letter from the agency. 

NOTE: CIAO is not responsible if the agency is found to be incorrect, because we cannot verify through the intake process.

Is there a due date?

No, we process the intake forms in the order in which it is submitted. 

NOTE: incomplete forms WILL result in a delay, and your review will be moved to the back of the queue.

In the intake document, can I skip sections 2 and 3?  

A current copy of "Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards" is sufficient to address sections 2 and 3.  Please provide a copy when submitting the intake document.  

Can a consultant complete the (intake) form?  

Yes, however, the agency must acknowledge the information by signing the document that the content is correct.  The agency is liable for any errors found in the application.

Common mistakes in the intake form?  

The intake form is a calculation sheet, so there is no formula to input.  A common mistakes is the lack of documentation, or omitted information; you can avoid this by ensuring the supporting documents match the intake form.