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Community Aids Reporting System (CARS)

CARS is the system we use for processing contracts and reimbursing expenses for local agencies. This system calculates about 600 payments for nearly 300 different contracts each month. To modernize our fiscal payment system, we are replacing CARS with GEARS. GEARS is short for Grants Enrollment, Application and Reporting System.

We are here to help make this transition as smooth as possible. This webpage will be your go-to resource for updates, tips, and more as we make the transition from CARS to GEARS. 

Update - Profiles are all now available in one place

The "Find A Profile" spreadsheet now lists all profiles in one convenient spot. Information on that spreadsheet and how to use it is the "More about CARS to "GEARS" section below. 

Coming soon! An updated form to reflect the transition to GEARS.

 

Shown at right: A screenshot of what the new GEARS reporting form will look like.

GEARS is short for Grants Enrollment, Application and Reporting System. As you can see from the screenshot here, the expenditure report for GEARS is very much like the one for CARS. We are working to make this transition as smooth as possible for our partners.  You will continue to use the CARS form until we switch to GEARS. But as you can see, it's very much like what you are using now. 

More about CARS to GEARS  

Many things are staying the same - but improvements have been added for efficiency and effectiveness.

What’s staying the same
  • Expenditure reporting will continue to be monthly.
  • Due dates for filing expenditure reports will stay the same.
  • Expenditure report will continue to be submitted via email to DHS600RCARS@dhs.wisconsin.govProfiles will remain the same.
  • GEARS reports -603,-610 and -620, will continue to be available on-line.
  • Agencies will receive their monthly reimbursements no later than their current payment dates.
What’s changing

Agency Type Codes will have two digits. The Agency Type Code will be a two-digit identifier in GEARS. Unlike the three-digit Agency Type code in CARS, which designates both contract year and type of agency, the GEARS agency type code will specifically designate the type of agency and will NOT change from year to year. Please see the Agency Type Code Chart.

What does this change mean for an agency? 

  • Agencies will no longer have to determine the correct agency type code to record on their Expenditure Report. The GEARS agency type code is the last two digits of the CARS agency type code and will remain constant from year to year.
  • For example, a CARS agency type code of 210 will be the GEARS agency type code 10.

Contract Year Codes are new. Like the first digit in the CARS agency type code, the Contract Year Code is used in GEARS to track the calendar year a contract ends. The correct Contract Year will need to be entered on the GEARS Expenditure Reports.  

What does this change mean for an agency?

  • Those who prepare the GEARS Expenditure Reports will need to know the contract end date to successfully complete the reports. A separate GEARS Expenditure Report must be filed for each Contract Year. This means that if an agency is reporting on contracts ending in 2022 as well as contracts ending in 2023, two reports need to be submitted.
  • The number of reports agencies will need to file is no different in GEARS than in CARS.  In both GEARS and CARS, agencies submit separate Expenditure Reports for contracts ending in different calendar years.

Clearer Reporting of Adjustments

GEARS can better track adjustments and corrections to previously submitted expenditure reporting. There will be a comments column   on the GEARS Expenditure Reporting form.  

What does this change mean for an agency?

When agencies provide information about additional expenditures as well as correcting entries, this improvement will make these updates to prior reports more accurately and timely.

Line Counts 

The GEARS Expenditure Reporting form will have a line count running down the left-most column of the form.

What does that mean for an agency?

No action is required of Local Agencies. The line count will help DHS staff check that all information submitted is entered into GEARS. This will help ensure accurate payments.

Accessing GEARS Reports

The GEARS -603, -610 and -620 reports will continue to be available in the same place online.  Agencies will select the report type (-603, -610 or -620) and then enter identifying information (Agency #, Agency Type Code, etc.). The report will be displayed on the screen. Agencies will be able to export all reports easily into Excel, including the 603 reports. Until CARS reports are no longer needed, both CARS and GEARS reports will be available from the same web page.

What does that mean for an agency?

Agencies will continue to access reports as they have in the past. They will be able to easily export all GEARS reports (including the 603) into Excel.

GEARS Payments will be made directly through the State of Wisconsin STAR system 

GEARS payments will be more closely tied to the State of Wisconsin’s STAR system. While much of this will remain behind the scenes it will improve both security over and reliability of payments and related information.  

What does that mean for an agency?

Agency requests for name, banking or related changes will follow a more standardized process for making those changes in GEARS. 

For municipalities only — With the transition to GEARS, any municipality with a Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP) Account may elect to have their GEARS payments deposited in their LGIP account.  If you do not have an LGIP account and want to learn how to sign up, please contact the DOA LGIP Administrator at LGIP@wisconsin.gov.
 

 

All profiles are now in one place

We've consolidated all our profiles into one spreadsheet. This spreadsheet will be updated whenever we have new information to share.

Take me to the Find A Profile in CARS/GEARS page.

GEARS Agency Type Codes - These will now have two digits. The digits will not change from year to year. This new page will be your guide to the codes and what they mean.

It's about processing contracts and reimbursing expenses

CARS (soon to be GEARS) is the system for processing contracts and reimbursing expenses for local agencies. The system calculates about 600 non-county aid checks and grant-in-aid payments for over 280 state/county, state/tribe contracts each month. The system includes human services (HS), county departments of social services (DSS) and 51 Board contracts, state agencies, municipalities, non-municipalities and Income Maintenance (IM), and tribal contracts. The system records all expenditures from the county and non-county providers. It calculates amounts due and adjustments back to the State. It also generates reports for providers, counties, and tribes under contract with the State.

 

 

Instructions, profile details, flow charts, and more. 

Related Resources

Funding Information for DHS Programs/Alternate Listing Number (ALN) Report

If you have any questions or need additional funding information, please contact the Bureau of Fiscal Services, CARS Unit.

 

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Last revised January 31, 2023