Wage Transfer Form

Wage Transfer Form: Wage Transfer Forms are payroll transactions that move funds from one account into another account. They differ from cost transfers in that cost transfers are moving non-compensation expenses. Wage Transfer Forms must be processed within 90 days of incurring the expense. The transfer of charges from other projects or programs to sponsored research awards is closely examined by auditors. Frequent, tardy or unexplained (or inadequately explained) transfers can raise serious questions about the propriety of the transfers and our accounting system and internal controls. The Wage Transfer Form was developed to avoid audit questions regarding transfers.

Situations that prompt a Wage Transfer Form are as follows:

  • Clerical error
  • Cost over-runs
  • Effort of personal is different than what the Payroll Authorization is set up as
  • General problems with the original setup of the budget

NOTE: By carefully monitoring the monthly OGA printouts these errors can be caught in a timely manner. Requests for transfers necessitated by clerical or bookkeeping errors should be made promptly after the error has been discovered.

Limiting the Need for a Wage Transfer Form: Avoidance of cost overruns or significant unexpended fund balances requiring Wage Transfer Forms begin when the proposal budget is first developed. Inaccurate projections related to an award schedule, objectives, or methodology and reflected in the budget can follow, or haunt the award throughout its life. Each month the Principal Investigator and the Grant Administrator should compare budget projections with expenses and balances to-date, and adjust future spending accordingly.

How to Initiate a Wage Transfer Form: The general guidelines for initiating a Wage Transfer Form are as follows:

  • Initiate the Wage Transfer Form right after the original transaction was made
  • Transfers MUST be made within 90 days of the original charge and should contain a full justification of the transfer
  • Fringe benefits do not have to be listed unless different than the amount that will automatically be calculated by payroll

The Wage Transfer Form must include a complete detailed explanation:

1) Why was this transaction(s) originally posted to the account from which it is now being transferred?

2) Why should the transaction be transferred to the proposed account to be charged? How does this transaction benefit the project?

If transfer request is over 90 days from the date of the original transaction, please answer these questions:

3) Why is the transaction(s) being transferred more than 90 days after the original date the transaction was recorded?

4) What corrective action has been taken to eliminate future need for cost transfers of this type?

The form must be signed and approved by:

  • Department Grant Manager only signs if the transfer qualifies as a Simple Reclassification
  • PI only signs if the transfer does not qualify as a Simple Reclassification (reallocation is near or over 90 days)
  • OSP always signs if a PTA Account is involved

Once the Wage Transfer has been signed by the Department Grant Manager, PI or the Finance Center depending on the scenario stated above, a PDF copy of the Wage Transfer can be emailed to the OSP Sponsored Research Manager to review and approve, the OSP Sponsored Research Manager would then email the fully approved PDF copy of the Wage Transfer onto the appropriate Finance Center for processing.


Explanations such as "to correct a clerical error" or "to transfer to correct project" are not adequate. Transfers of payroll expenses from one budget period to the next solely to cover cost overruns are not acceptable. Generally, the older the charge the more involved the explanation of the transfer should be.