Checking Accounts With The U.S. Treasury
This chapter prescribes procedures that Non-Treasury Disbursing Offices (NTDOs) such as government departments, agencies, and others must follow when using and operating 4-digit symbol checking accounts with the Department of the Treasury (Treasury).
- Section 6010—Scope and Applicability
Areas covered include instructions on checking account symbol maintenance (how to request, change, close, or reopen a 4-digit Disbursing Office (DO) symbol), reporting check-issue transactions to the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service), processing voided checks, and adjusting check-issue discrepancies and related matters.
- Section 6015—Terms and Definitions
For terms and definitions related to this chapter, please view the TFM Glossary.
- Section 6020—Checking Account Symbol Maintenance
To request, change, close, or reopen a 4-digit DO symbol, the appropriate agency official from the agency's administrative office should sign and send a letter to the National Payment Integrity and Resolution Center (NPIRC) of Fiscal Service. The requesting party must send the original, signed letter on official agency letterhead. See Contacts.
6020.10—Opening a 4-Digit Disbursing Office Symbol
Agencies that are authorized to do their own disbursing (31 U.S.C. 3321) must submit written justification to NPIRC citing their authority to do so. To request a new 4-digit DO symbol, the official must certify that no other DO can reasonably do its disbursing. In addition, the request must indicate if the agency will issue Treasury check stock or will only be established to report information concerning disbursements made by other DOs.
NPIRC will notify the agency (in writing) of the 4-digit DO symbol that was assigned based on the agency's request.
6020.20—Changing a 4-Digit Disbursing Office Symbol
It is the agency's responsibility to notify NPIRC when information for a particular DO symbol changes. This includes changes in an address, a Disbursing Officer, a contact person, or a telephone number. The date the DO symbol was opened can be changed if the DO symbol was established with a future opened date and that date has not yet occurred. If the DO symbol has closed, agencies can process changes to the successor Agency Location Code (ALC).
NPIRC will notify the agency (in writing) of changes made to its ALC information so the agency can be assured that all of the requested changes were made.
6020.30—Closing a 4-Digit Disbursing Office Symbol
Before requesting that a DO symbol be closed, the DO must do the following:
- Destroy all unused check stock. The DO must not submit unused check stock to Fiscal Service (see section 6035.20), and
- Submit a transmittal of zero issue amounts for each check destroyed to the Treasury Check Information System (TCIS).
The letter requesting the closure of a 4-digit DO symbol should specify a successor 4-digit ALC (which is determined by the agency) to do the following:
- Receive subsequent limited payability cancellation credits, and
- Process adjustments that may be found after the DO closes.
Closing a 4-digit DO symbol requires two steps by Fiscal Service:
- First, after receiving the close request letter, NPIRC verifies that the DO has reported all check-issue information to the TCIS and closes all authorized check ranges. NPIRC notifies the agency (in writing) that the authorized check ranges have been closed. NPIRC also informs the agency that it has forwarded the agency's request to close the symbol to the Cash Accounting Branch (CAB).
- Second, the CAB closes the DO symbol in the Central Accounting and Reporting System (CARS) ALC Master File. Before CAB closes a 4-digit DO symbol, the DO must have a zero balance in the following three audits: deposit in transit, undisbursed, and check-issue reporting. CAB sends the agency written notification of closure. See Contacts. Agencies must report SF 1218/1221 or SF 1219/1220 Statement of Transactions/Statement of Accountability to the CARS until CAB closes the symbol in the ALC Master File.
Fiscal Service financial centers that print and disburse checks for Treasury Disbursing Offices (TDOs) must also submit requests to close 4-digit check symbols when the range of check serial numbers has been exhausted and all check-issue information has been reported to the TCIS.
6020.40—Reopening a 4-Digit Disbursing Office Symbol
Treasury will reopen a DO symbol if it is under the same agency name and at the same geographical location as when it was previously open. In addition, the reopened office must continue to provide the exact services as the original. If the original office both reported and disbursed Treasury checks, NPIRC will not reopen the symbol if the agency intends to be only a reporting office. If the proposed reopened DO will not provide the same services as originally provided, the agency should request that NPIRC establish a new 4-digit DO symbol (see paragraph 6020.10).
The DO must send the request to reopen a 4-digit DO symbol to NPIRC in writing (see contacts). NPIRC will notify the agency (in writing) that the 4-digit DO symbol has been reopened.
- Section 6025—Check-Issue Reporting
6025.10—Check-Issue Reporting Methods
TCIS is the system that must be used by DOs to submit their check issue information to Treasury. DOs must also submit their disbursement related transaction information through the Payment Information Repository (PIR) to the Central Accounting Reporting System (CARS).See TFM Volume I, Part 4A, Chapter 4000 for more information on Non-Treasury Disbursing Offices (NTDO) file submissions.
6025.20—Delinquent Check-Issue Reporting
Treasury requires that DOs report their check-issue data in a timely manner. Until the check-issue information is received, the TCIS will reject claims against these checks and also will not process limited payability cancellation credits. NPIRC cannot complete a final reconciliation and clearance of the DO's account until it receives the check-issue data. Furthermore, until the data is received, Treasury is vulnerable to banking system errors, check alterations and counterfeits, which negatively affect the government's cash position and impact the agency's ability to obtain an unqualified audit opinion with its Fund Balance with Treasury account.
NPIRC will notify the agency's Chief Financial Officer equivalent when delinquent check-issues have not been reported within 60 days. If habitual delinquent reporting continues, NPIRC may suspend the processing of further print orders for blank Treasury check stock until all delinquent check-issue reporting has been accepted into the TCIS.
If Treasury sustains a loss for an altered or counterfeit check as a result of delinquent check-issue reporting, NPIRC reserves the right to pursue action to charge the agency for the amount of the loss and to refuse to provide new check stock.
- Section 6030—Spoiled Checks
If a check is spoiled in the check issuance process, the DO must void the check per Section 6040 and report it per paragraph 6040.10. The DO must assign a new check number to the voided payment. Treasury no longer allows the use of control checks.
- Section 6035—Voided Checks
DOs can void checks and render them non-negotiable by marking the face of each check with the following:
"Void - Not Negotiable. No Check
Issued Under This Number."
DOs should not send voided checks to NPIRC. They should dispose of voided checks per paragraph 6035.20.
Not-Negotiable Checks - DOs cannot void checks that were reported to TCIS as valid checks, such as returned checks. The DO must stamp these checks as follows:
"Not Negotiable - For Deposit Only.
Credit of Agency Location Code ______."
A DO may deposit these checks at a Financial Institution (FI), with which they have an agreement to do so. The FI will in turn use the Over the Counter Network (OTCnet) to credit the proceeds of the check to the appropriation from which it was issued, according to check cancellation procedures. See TFM Volume 1, Part 4, Chapter 7000. A DO may also use OTCnet directly to receive this credit. Both processes will produce an SF 215 Deposit Ticket. For more information on OTCnet, see TFM Volume 1, Part 5, Chapter 2000.
6035.10—Reporting Voided Check Issues
DOs report voided checks on check-issue transmittals as zero-dollar amount issues. Voided serial numbers are recorded sequentially with those of other checks issued. If DOs do not report checks as void on check-issue transmittals, NPIRC cannot close DO symbols when requested, see paragraph 6020.30. DOs will be held liable for any voided checks that are cashed and processed through the banking system.
6035.20—Disposition of Voided Checks
DOs should destroy voided checks as soon as possible by shredding or incineration, on site or at an approved federal shredding facility, after which the shredding fragments may be disposed of as waste. Shredded fragments must not be larger than 1/8th inch in width and 3½ inches in length. Fiscal Service requires the use of a cross-cut shredder. The incineration method of destruction may only be used, subject to environmental regulations, when a disbursing office does not have shredding equipment. The Policy and Oversight Division (see Contacts) must approve the use of alternative facilities.
- Section 6040—Checking Account Reconciliation Reports and Adjustments by Fiscal Service
The TCIS compares paid check data provided by Federal Reserve Banks (FRBs) with check-issue information transmittals reported by DOs on an item-for-item basis for each check serial number. When reconciling paid check data, NPIRC issues checking account reconciliation adjustment reports.
6040.10—Report 251, Advice of Check Issue Discrepancy (5206)
Treasury adjusts (to the penny) all differences between the issue amount of a check (reported by DOs to the TCIS) and the actual amount of the check paid by Treasury. A 5206 is generated in TCIS when Fiscal Service changes the amount reported on the check-issue transmittal to agree with the actual amount printed on the check. This is done in cases were the DO has reported an issue amount to TCIS that differs from the amount printed on the check, and the check was paid for the amount printed on the check. TCIS will automatically generate a reconciliation case when this occurs. Fiscal Service sends a computer-generated copy of the 5206 to the DO to notify them of the discrepancy. The 5206 fully describes the error.
When a DO receives a 5206, the DO should immediately review its check-issue records to determine the nature of the error cited on the 5206. The DO must determine if it overpaid or underpaid the payee. It must collect or disburse the adjustment amount if it issued the check incorrectly, and report the appropriate adjustments in its accounts. If the payee was not overpaid or underpaid, but the DO reported incorrect check-issue data to Fiscal Service (on its check-issue transmittal and SF 1218/1221 or SF 1219/1220), the DO still must include the 5206 on its SF 1218/1221 or SF 1219/1220.
If a DO receives a 5206 and determines that there is an offsetting check-issue error that makes the transaction net to zero, the DO should prepare a letter to NPIRC advising of the discrepancy. See paragraph 6045.20.
If the DO determines that the check listed on the 5206 was altered or is counterfeit, it must immediately notify NPIRC in writing (by express mail if possible). Untimely notification leaves the government at risk of not recovering the funds. For an altered or counterfeit check, DOs do not include 5206 adjustments on the SF 1218 or SF 1219.
See Appendix 1 for a copy of a 5206.
If the DO must adjust a check-issue error based on a 5206 from NPIRC, it must enter the appropriate adjustments in its accounts.
The DO must report the 5206 on its:
- SF 1218 or
- SF 1219 or
- SF 1220: Statement of Transactions (According to Appropriations, Funds and Receipt Accounts), or
- SF 1221: Statement of Transactions (According to Appropriations, Funds and Receipt Accounts - Foreign Service Account).
This supports the adjusting entry on SF 1218/1219, line 2.11, "checks issued/adjustments- 5206," or SF 1220/1221.
On a monthly basis, the DO must provide a list of all 5206s to its agency headquarters. It must explain how the error occurred. The DO also must describe the internal control measures it has initiated to prevent further errors.
6040.30—Adjustment of Duplicate Checks
The TCIS accepts only one issue/paid record for any given check symbol and serial number. Therefore, NPIRC uses SF 5515: Debit Voucher, to charge the DO for duplicate checks issued with the same symbol and serial number.
6040.40—Reversal of SF 5515 for Duplicate Checks
If a DO issues a check with the wrong check symbol and serial number to a payee that is entitled to a payment and this causes a duplicate check, the DO must request that NPIRC reverse the SF 5515 in writing. The letter must identify the correct symbol and serial number of the duplicate check. DOs also must provide a copy of the SF 5515 to NPIRC. After NPIRC verifies the information, it processes a reversal entry and issues an SF 215 to the DO.
In addition, the DO must report the appropriate check-issue information to the TCIS for the correct symbol and serial number of the duplicate check. NPIRC will not reverse SF 5515s unless the DO reports, and the TCIS accepts, the check-issue information for the correct symbol and serial number of the duplicate check.
6040.50—Adjustment of Deposit Differences
The Statement of Difference (SOD) identifies differences between the amounts reported as deposited in the Treasury General Account (TGA) and the amounts actually credited to the TGA. The SOD for deposits are generated on a monthly basis and are available via the CARS SOD application. The Deposit Ticket/Debit Voucher Support Listing is also available in CARS SOD and is updated daily.
Section 6045—Check-Issue Adjustments by Disbursing Offices
DOs follow the procedures in this section to show proper accountability for funds when processing adjustments in their accounts. These adjustments relate to checks drawn on the TGA.
DOs prepare a journal voucher for any prior month or the current month check-issue errors they detect (see paragraph 6045.20). However, DOs cannot send journal vouchers or letters requesting adjustments for check-issue errors detected more than one year from the issue month of the check. By that time, the TCIS has canceled the checks. It passes the credit to the Treasury Receivable Accounting and Collection System (TRACS), which returns the funds to the agency through the limited payability cancellation process. TRACS will send the payment back to the ALC and the TAS/BETC that is specified in the federal agency’s Cash Flow Profile within the Shared Accounting Module (SAM); TRACS will not send the payment back to the TAS/BETC reported on the original payment. DOs correct check-issue discrepancies more than one year from the issue month of the check depending on how they received the limited payability cancellation credits. DOs must correct these discrepancies in one of two ways:
- If received through the Intra-Governmental Payment and Collection (IPAC) System, the DO reports the credit in Section I, Part A, of the SF 1220. The DO also records it on line 2.80 of the SF 1219. Then, it records and reports a journal voucher for the check amount on lines 2.12 and 4.10 of the SF 1219. It also charges the account credited from the IPAC documents or SF 1220.
- If received on a SF 1081: Voucher and Schedule of Withdrawals and Credits, the DO records the SF 1081 to its accounts. Then, the DO records and reports a journal voucher for the check amount on lines 2.12 and 4.10 of the SF 1218/1219. It also charges the account credited from the SF 1081 on the SF 1220/1221.
For further help on processing check-issue errors detected more than one year from the issue month of the check, contact the Cash Accounting Branch. See Contacts.
For check-issue errors detected by the DO within 12 months from the issue month of the check, the DO must prepare the journal voucher (reported on the SF 1218/1219) as soon as it determines the facts. Also, the DO must write a letter to NPIRC describing the same error(s) on the journal voucher. It should not wait to receive a 5206. NPIRC uses the information in these letters to correct reporting to the TCIS. For each specific check symbol and serial number adjusted, the TCIS generates report 252, Notification of Check Issue Correction-Disbursing Office Requested. NPIRC forwards this report to the DO. See Appendix 2.
6045.30—Error in Issue Amount
DOs must correct a prior month's discrepancy that occurred because:
- The DO drew a check for an amount different from the amount taken into its account, and
- The DO reported that check amount on the check-issue transmittal.
To adjust the issues to agree with the amount of checks as drawn, the DO must submit a journal voucher or appropriate correspondence to NPIRC. In addition, the DO does the following:
- Collects the overdraft amount related to the receivable established for the adjustment, or
- Issues a new check (new issue) for an underdraft, related to the deposit fund credit established for the adjustment; and, if applicable,
- Adjusts the account charged for the related disbursement.
If the DO receives a 5206 that cites the same error, the DO should file the 5206 with its office copy of the journal voucher and take no other action since the DO has already corrected the error.
6045.40—Error in Disbursement
If the amount of the check, the amount on the issue transmittal, and the amount in the accounts are consistent but the "amount to be paid" on the internal voucher is different, the DO should not send a journal voucher to Fiscal Service. It should adjust the amount on its books.
6045.50—Distribution of the Journal Voucher
The DO distributes the journal voucher and two copies as follows:
- Original. Keep the original to support the accounts receivable account on the SF 1218/1219 and to support the accounts payable account on the SF 1220/1221, __X6999. The journal voucher must include the check symbol, serial number, and the issue date of the check. Also, the journal voucher must explain the circumstances that caused the adjustment. For example, a DO issued a check to a payee for $359 but reported a voucher and check-issue to Treasury on the issue transmittal of $659. In this case, the journal voucher would show a credit of $300 to the accounts payable account.
- Copy 1. Retain the first copy and attach it to the clearance transaction document (for example, SF 215, schedule of collection, payment voucher or SF 1081). Report the transaction document to support the SF 1218/1219 or SF 1220/1221 when the item is cleared from the receivable account or the payable account.
- Copy 2. Keep the second copy as the subsidiary record of uncleared differences comprising the balance of accounts receivable or accounts payable, and the current operating control record for the corrective actions.
6045.60—Accounting for Check-Issue Overdrafts and Underdrafts
As part of the DO's accountability, each DO establishes an "Accounts Receivable, Check-Issue Overdrafts" account. Treasury has designated deposit fund account __X6999, "Accounts Payable, Check-Issue Underdrafts" (with the symbol prefix of the disbursing agency) to record check-issue underdrafts.
6045.70—Accounting for Collections and Payments Made to Clear Outstanding Differences
To clear outstanding overdrafts and underdrafts, as appropriate, DOs must do the following:
- Clear Accounts Receivable. Deposit cash collections received to clear the amount of overdrafts held in accounts receivable for credit in the TGA. Credit the amount of collections to the accounts receivable account. If an undercharge to an appropriation or fund account caused the overdraft and if a supplementary certified voucher charging the appropriation or fund account will clear the overdraft, credit the voucher amount to the accounts receivable account;
Clear Accounts Payable. After determining that a payee is entitled to the amount of a check issuance underdraft, certify a disbursement voucher to charge the deposit fund account __X6999. Record the voucher and check issued in the DO's account. Report the voucher and check issued on SF 1219.
If an overcharge to an appropriation or fund account caused an underdraft, certify a SF 1081 or a comparable approved voucher adjustment form to charge the deposit fund account __X6999. Credit the appropriation or fund account involved. Provide a copy of the adjustment form to the administrative agency or office whose accounts are affected; and
Clear Subsidiary Account Files. Based on the clearance actions described above, pull the file copy of the journal voucher (paragraph 6050.50) and annotate it with one of the cross-references shown below, as appropriate:
"See Deposit Ticket No. ___, dated ___."
"See Check No. ___, dated ___."
"See Adjustment Voucher No. ___, dated ___."
See paragraph 6050.50 for instructions on handling copies one and two of the journal voucher.
- Detailed Contacts
Direct inquiries regarding this chapter to the following addresses and indicate the 4-digit check symbol number on all correspondence.
For inquiries pertaining to paragraphs 6015.30 (sixth bullet point), 6040.20, 6040.50 and 6045.10.
Department of the TreasuryPO Box 1328
Bureau of the Fiscal Service
Cash Accounting Branch
Parkersburg, WV 26106-1328
For inquiries pertaining to paragraph 6035.20:
Department of the Treasury3201 Pennsey Drive, Building E
Bureau of the Fiscal Service
Policy and Oversight Division
Landover, MD 20785
For all other inquiries:
Department of the Treasury13000 Townsend Road
Bureau of the Fiscal Service
National Payment Integrity and Resolution Center
Operations Support Branch
Philadelphia, PA 19154
- Appendices Listing
Appendix No. Report Title 1 251 Advice of Check Issue Discrepancy (5206) 2 252 Notification of Check Issue Correction-Disbursing Office Requested
- Summary of Updates
Section No. Section Title Summary of Change All Changed PFC to the National Payment Integrity and Resolution Center (NPIRC). 6035 Clarified the void check and destruction process.
This page was last updated on March 21, 2023.