How to Cite a Government Site Without an Author in APA Format
When writing papers in areas of study such as education, nursing and the social sciences, the American Psychological Association style is used. It contains specific guidelines for how to cite government sites, including those without named authors. In the sixth edition of the “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association,” rules for citing government sources can be found in the section on Technical and Research Reports, which also covers references with corporate authors.
Reference List Entries
When citing a government site in APA style, references to specific pages include author name, year, page title and retrieval statement, in that order. When a report is published by a government agency with no specific individual author name listed, the name of the government department or issuing agency replaces the author name in the citation, followed by a period. After the agency name, the name of the specific department is written with a period after it. Then the year of publication is placed in parentheses, followed by another period. The article or page title is then written in sentence case in italics and followed by a period. Lastly, you will write Retrieved from, followed by the website’s url; no punctuation follows the url.
For example: U.S. Department of the Treasury. Internal Revenue Service. (2012). Return preparations and filing options. Retrieved from URL
No reference list entry is required when citing an entire site, only when citing a specific page or document from a site.
Since the issuing agency is treated as the author for reference list entries, this also becomes the author listed in the parentheses of the in-text citation.
For example: (U.S. Department of the Treasury, 2012).
When referencing an entire site rather than a specific page or document from that site, no reference list entry is required. Instead, reference the address of the website in an in-text citation.
For example: The IRS website has many resources available for taxpayers (IRS URL here).
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- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association Sixth Edition: American Psychological Association
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: Reference List –- Other Print Sources
- APA Style: Quick Answers –- References
Sara Dailey has a B.S. and M.A in English, and a M.F.A in Poetry and has been publishing poems and essays since 1994. Her full-length collection, "Earlier Lives," is available from Dos Madres Press. She works as a teacher and editor in St. Paul.