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CARS: How Payments Work

The payment process starts with signed contracts

The CARS payment process must begin with a signed contract.  DHS program units prepare, negotiate and eventually sign contracts with providers or local governments for services via DocuSign.  Bureau of Procurement and Contracting staff route the signed contracts to the CARS Unit for entry into the CARS system at least one month before the first payment to a provider.

Contract information is entered into the CARS system

The CARS Unit enters information on contracts totaling almost $1.2 Billion (500+ providers) into CARS annually.  Most of these contracts are calendar year contracts.  The CARS Unit reviews, keys and proofs information quickly, to ensure timely and accurate payments.  (See Time Lines for Processing CARS Contracts for additional information.) 

Expenditure reports trigger reimbursements

Providers must report costs incurred on signed expenditure reporting forms.  The providers generally submit the forms to the CARS Unit.  Reports are normally due one month after the end of the month for which the report is being submitted  (e.g., January's report is due March 1st).  The CARS Unit reviews, keys and proofs the information.  Then CARS staff execute monthly payment processing computer jobs. After the payment processing jobs complete, the Bureau of Fiscal Services transmits payment data files to DOA to cut checks.  DHS mails the checks to the providers.

The monthly DES-CARS 603 reports provide detailed information on what is being paid on a particular check.  Refer questions about payments to staff on the CARS Staff Contacts list.  The CARS Processing Schedule is an attachment to DHS APP Section 15 - Fiscal Administration of Grants and Contracts 4.0.

Reconciliation of payments and reported expenditures

Providers should reconcile costs recorded on their books to the expenditure reports at least quarterly (monthly is recommended).  DHS reconciles payments and reported expenditures, when reimbursing the last three months of a contract.

If payments exceed reported expenditures, DHS will record an amount due (account receivable) on the CARS system.  The amount due will be collected against subsequent expenditure reimbursements.  When payments and expenditures have been reconciled and all amounts due are collected, the contract is closed on the CARS system.


Last revised May 15, 2023