A fiscal year the federal governments fiscal year

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A. Fiscal Year. The Federal Government’s fiscal year begins on 1 October and ends on 30 September. B. Period of Availability. The period of time in which budget authority is available for original obligation. Most appropriations are available for obligation for a limited period of time. If activities do not obligate the funds during the period of availability, the funds expire and are generally unavailable for obligation thereafter. GAO Red Book, Vol. I, p 5-3, GAO-04-261SP (Jan. 2004). C. Obligations. A definite commitment that creates a legal liability of the government for the payment of goods and services ordered or received, or a legal duty on the part of the United States that could mature into a legal liability by virtue of actions on the part of the other party beyond the control of the United States. Payment may be made immediately or in the future. An agency incurs an obligation, for example, when it places an order, signs a contract, awards a grant, purchases a service, or takes other actions that require the government to make payments to the public or from one government account to another. The standards for the proper reporting of obligations are found in section 1501(a) of title 31 of the United States Code . GAO, A Glossary of Terms Used in the Federal Budget Process, p.70, GAO-05-734SP (Sept. 2005) (“GAO Glossary”). D. Budget Authority. 1. Congress finances federal programs and activities by granting budget authority. Budget authority is also called obligational authority. 2. Budget authority means “the authority provided by Federal law to incur financial obligations . . .” 2 U.S.C. § 622(2). 3. “Contract Authority,” is a limited form of “budget authority. Contract authority is specific statutory authority to contractually obligate the United States to future payments even though no appropriations are available to pay the obligations at the time the contract is made. Hon. Alan Cranston, 1990 WL 10007871, at *3, Comp. Gen. No. B-239435 (Aug. 24, 1990). An example of such statutory authority is the Feed and Forage Act, 41 U.S.C. § 11.
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