If you have received an award from NIFA and would like to claim indirect costs, there are four scenarios each requiring different actions.
In order to claim indirect costs, you must have a NICRA or elect to use the de Minimis rate, following the steps under one of the four scenarios. You may also choose to waive indirect costs under your award. The four scenarios are:
1. NIFA is the cognizant agency
- You do not have a NICRA and want to negotiate a NICRA.
- You would like to request that NIFA extend your current NICRA for 4 years.
2. NIFA is not your cognization agency
- You do not have a NICRA and want to negotiate with your cognizant agency.
- You would like to request that your cognizant agency extend your current NICRA for 4 years.
3. ELECT TO USE 10% DE MINIMIS RATE
- You have never had a NICRA and do not want to negotiate indirect costs.
4. WAIVE INDIRECT COST RECOVERY
- You do not want to claim indirect costs.
IMPORTANT NOTE ON STATUTORY LIMITATIONS (CAPS) on INDIRECT COSTS
Applicant recovery of indirect costs (otherwise known as facilities and administration costs) may be limited by legislation under NIFA awards. The Indirect Cost Chart assists in the understanding of the applicable indirect cost rate under NIFA programs. NIFA applicants should identify their program type and follow the indirect cost limitation identified in the applicable request for applications (RFA). Awardees must comply with any indirect cost limitation identified in an award.
INDIRECT COST GUIDANCE FOR ALL ENTITIES
GUIDANCE FOR APPLICANTS WHEN NIFA IS THE COGNIZANT FEDERAL AGENCY
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has entered into an Interagency Agreement working with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Interior Business Center (IBC) to issue negotiated indirect cost rates (NICRA) to organizations for which NIFA is the cognizant agency for indirect costs. Effective May 8, 2019, the Office of Indirect Cost Services for IBC (IBC/ICS), on NIFA’s behalf, will collect the required documents, negotiate, issue, and countersign indirect rate agreements for organizations that wish to receive a NICRA.
If NIFA is the cognizant agency, and the grantee chooses to negotiate an indirect cost rate(s), NIFA will request the grantee's ICP package and forward to DOI IBC for negotiation, unless the grantee is directed to submit proposals to DOI IBC in their Notice of Award. The grantee should submit a complete ICP package to IndirectCostInquiries@usda.gov. Note that NIFA may issue the award, but withhold funds budgeted for indirect costs pending completion of the indirect cost rate(s) negotiation process. Upon completion of the negotiation process, NIFA will notify the grantee if a modification to the grant budget is necessary.
Information on preparing an ICP package can be found in the following resources:
- DOI IBC Indirect Cost Proposal FAQs, guidance, and contact information
- NIFA DOI IBC Indirect Cost Rate instructions
- Negotiating Indirect Cost Rate Proposal Guidance
For organizations that do not want a NICRA, please refer to De Minimis rate and waiver of indirect costs sections below.
10% de Minimis Rates
An organization that has never received a negotiated indirect cost rate may elect to change a de Minimis rate of 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC), which may be used indefinitely (2 CRR 200.414(f)) MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each subaward in excess of the first $25,000. Costs must be consistently charged as either indirect or direct costs, but may not be double charged or inconsistently charged as both. If chosen, this methodology once elected must be used consistently for all federal awards until such time as a non-federal entity chooses to negotiate for a rate, which the non-federal entity may apply to do at any time.
Election of the 10% de Minimis does not require the review and approval of the cognizant agency for indirect costs. A determination by the cognizant agency for indirect costs is required when a NICRA is requested. The cognizant agency for indirect costs means the Federal agency responsible for reviewing, negotiating, and approving cost allocation plans or indirect cost proposals developed under this part on behalf of all Federal agencies (2 CFR § 200.19).
If a NIFA grantee would like to elect to use the 10% de Minimis rate to recover indirect costs, the organization must download the Certification of de Minimis rate election template, sign and scan the template, and send via email to: IndirectCostInquiries@usda.gov. The e-mail’s subject line should read, “Organization Name Request 10% de Minimis Indirect Cost Rate.”
When electing the 10% de Minimis indirect cost rate, you must affirm your organization’s has never received a NICRA from any federal agency and therefore is eligible for the de Minimis rate. Also, you must have been notified of a successful award from NIFA (you may provide award or proposal number).
A NIFA grantees that has a current NICRA may apply to their cognizant agency for a one-time extension of the rate up for to four years. The extension will be subject to NIFA’s review and approval If an extension is granted, the grantee may not request a rate review until the extension period ends. At the end of the four year extension, the grantee must re-apply for a NICRA. Subsequent one-time extensions (up to four years) are permitted if a renegotiation is completed between each extension request.
Filing for Rate Extensions: Only final and predetermined rates may be eligible for consideration of rate extensions. Requests for rate extensions of a current rate will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Please send your requests for extension to NIFA at IndirectCostInquiries@usda.gov and indicate the rate and fiscal periods to be covered by the rate extension.
Waived Indirect Costs
An applicant may elect not to request recovery of indirect costs. If so, the applicant should write "None Requested" in the space allotted for item H of the budget sheet. During the application process, the applicant may submit general questions to IndirectCostInquiries@usda.gov.
Guidance for Applicants when NIFA is not the Cognizant Federal Agency
If awarded, the applicant will be required to produce a current Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) from the cognizant agency in order to recover indirect costs. Your cognizant agency is the agency from whom you receive the most federal funds. The applicant may submit general indirect cost questions to IndirectCostInquiries@usda.gov.
If unable to obtain a NICRA from your cognizant agency, you will not be permitted indirect cost reimbursement if awarded. You may only be reimbursed for allowable direct costs. Violation of cost accounting principles is not permitted when re-budgeting or charging costs to awards. Rather, costs must be consistently charged as either indirect or direct costs. During the application process or post award, you may submit general questions to IndirectCostInquiries@usda.gov.