NI_440_314 - NI 440-314 - Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Waiver Process
NI 440-314 - Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Waiver Process

NI 440-314 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Waiver Process


Subpart A – Purpose and Background

     314.0  Purpose

To provide State Conservationists and Directors of the Pacific Islands and Caribbean Areas guidance for the average adjusted gross income (AGI) waiver process. The guidance is applicable to the following NRCS conservation programs: Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA), Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

This guidance applies to contracts or agreements executed in fiscal year (FY) 2020 and subsequent fiscal years and is only applicable prior to entering into a contract or agreement. AGI waivers may not be requested, submitted, or processed for a producer/landowner contract or easement agreement after it has been executed.

      314.1  Background

A. A person or legal entity, including members of the legal entity, who exceed the AGI limit of $900,000 at Section 1001D of the Food Security Act of 1985, and 7 CFR Part 1400, is not eligible to receive payments or may be subject to a commensurate reduction of payments made under the programs listed above. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is responsible for determining AGI eligibility and makes the results of its determination available to NRCS.

B. The 2018 Farm Bill includes various authorities, which have been delegated from the Secretary to the Chief of NRCS with respect to waiving AGI provisions as follows:

(1) AGI Limitation Waiver: The AGI limitation may be waived on a case-by-case basis if NRCS determines that environmentally sensitive land of special significance will be protected as a result of the AGI waiver. This authority is applicable to ACEP, AMA, CIG, CSP, EQIP, and individual RCPP contracts or agreements under an approved RCPP partnership agreement. This is not a waiver of the requirement to file Form CCC-941, “Average AGI Certification and Consent to Disclosure of Tax Information,” but rather is a waiver available to those persons or legal entities who
exceed the AGI limit or whose payment would be subject to a commensurate reduction, as determined by FSA, and who are associated with an individual enrollment that NRCS determines will result in the protection of environmentally sensitive land of special significance.
(2) AGI Applicability Waiver:

(i) For eligible EQIP water conservation or irrigation efficiency projects, NRCS may waive the applicability of the AGI provisions for water management entities (WME) if NRCS determines the waiver is necessary to fulfill the objectives of the water conservation project to be implemented through an EQIP contract. Under this authority, a WME that requests and receives an AGI applicability waiver is not required to file AGI paperwork or have AGI determinations made by FSA. In addition, NRCS may concurrently process a waiver of the payment limitation and associated contract limitation up to $900,000 for the WME, if NRCS determines this waiver is necessary to effectively conserve water.
(ii) For RCPP Programmatic Partnership Agreements (PPAs), NRCS may waive the applicability of the AGI provisions if NRCS determines that the waiver is necessary to fulfill the objectives of the program. Under this authority, the RCPP lead partner may request an AGI applicability waiver at the RCPP project level during the initial PPA negotiation only. With an AGI applicability waiver in place, the persons or legal entities participating in RCPP through individual contracts or agreements are not required to file AGI paperwork or have AGI determinations made by FSA.

     314.2  Explanation

This national instruction provides the AGI waiver process for NRCS conservation programs administered by the Financial Assistance Programs Division (FAPD) and the Easement Programs Division (EPD) and includes several attachments. This national instruction and its attachments supplement policy in the individual conservation program manuals, address unique program-specific requirements, and provide procedural guidance for successful implementation of the AGI waiver authorities. Additionally, this national instruction provides the payment limitation waiver process for eligible WMEs under EQIP (refer to Title 440, Conservation Programs Manual, Part 530, Section 530.406(C)(3) for additional guidance related to WMEs).

     314.3  Attachments

A. Attachment A.—Provides the general requirements associated with the AGI provisions and the process for review and approval of AGI applicability and limitation waivers.

B. Attachment B.—AGI limitation waiver request worksheet.

C. Attachment C.—AGI applicability waiver request and payment limitation waiver request worksheet for water management entities.

D. Attachment D.—Provides guidance about how AGI limitation waiver and AGI applicability waiver requests must be submitted.

     314.4  Reporting

A. NRCS must report annually on the number of AGI waivers approved and used to fund contracts or agreements with applicants determined to be AGI-ineligible. National Headquarters (NHQ) staff will complete all AGI waiver reports.

B. States must comply with any data requests from NHQ for the annual reporting requirements.

     314.5  Contact

Direct questions about this national instruction through the appropriate State contact using the FAPD SharePoint site or, if related to easement programs, to EasementSupport@usda.gov.


  

 

 

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