Element: Object Class

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Data Element Name Legislation
Object Class DATA Act


The DATA Act requires reporting of obligations and outlays by object class. This paper provides the definition of object class. Definitions for obligations and outlays are provided in separate papers.


According to the DATA Act, object class “…means the category assigned for purposes of the annual budget of the President submitted under section 1105(a) of title 31, United States Code, to the type of property or services purchased by the Federal Government.” Pursuant to statute (31 USC 1104(b)) and OMB Circular A-11, agencies report obligations by object class that OMB each year publishes in the President’s Budget.

Agencies review obligations and outlays by object class on a very regular basis. However, government-wide reporting of obligations by object class are only made available to the public once a year. Outlays by object class have never been made available on a government-wide basis to the public.

Analysis of Current Definitions

OMB Circular A-11 Section 83.1 defines object classes as “categories in a classification system that presents obligations by the items or services purchased by the Federal Government.” Section 83.1 describes five major groups of object classes:

    10 Personnel Compensation and Benefits
    20 Contractual Services and Supplies
    30 Acquisition of Assets
    40 Grants and Fixed Charges
    90 Other

Each grouping includes detailed object classes. For instance, Personnel Compensation and Benefits includes object classes for: personnel compensation for full-time permanent government employees; other than full-time permanent employees; benefits; and, military personnel. Section 83.6 defines each specific object class.

Recommended Data Element Name Recommended Definition
Object Class Categories in a classification system that presents obligations by the items or services purchased by the Federal Government. Each specific object class is defined in OMB Circular A-11 Section 83.6.


OMB Circular A-11, Section 83, Object Classification (MAX Schedule O).