(b) Auditor receipt of vouchers.

(1) When authorized by agency regulations, the contract auditor may be authorized to (i) receive reimbursement vouchers directly from contractors, (ii) approve for payment those vouchers found acceptable, and (iii) suspend payment of questionable costs. The auditor shall forward approved vouchers for payment to the cognizant contracting, finance, or disbursing officer, as appropriate under the agency’s procedures.

(2) If the examination of a voucher raises a question regarding the allowability of a cost under the contract terms, the auditor, after informal discussion as appropriate, may, where authorized by agency regulations, issue a notice of contract costs suspended and/or disapproved simultaneously to the contractor and the disbursing officer, with a copy to the cognizant contracting officer, for deduction from current payments with respect to costs claimed but not considered reimbursable.

(3) If the contractor disagrees with the deduction from current payments, the contractor may—

(i) Submit a written request to the cognizant contracting officer to consider whether the unreimbursed costs should be paid and to discuss the findings with the contractor;

(ii) File a claim under the Disputes clause, which the cognizant contracting officer will process in accordance with agency procedures; or

(iii) Do both of the above.