Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Assignments

Assignments may be made to or from federal agencies and the following: state and local governments; private and public colleges and universities; Indian Tribal governments; federally funded research and development centers; and qualified non-profit organizations involved in public management. Assignments must be with the consent of the employee and for work of mutual benefit to the organizations involved. An individual detailed from an external certified organization to NSF must be a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization, or have signed and attached a NSF Citizenship Affidavit to their application. Non-citizens who do not provide the affidavit at the time of application will not be considered eligible. Policy information on the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Program is contained on the Office of Personnel Management's website.

IPA assignees are usually detailed to the Foundation. Assignees remain on the home institution's payroll in an active pay status while assigned to NSF. Salary and benefits continue to be administered by the home institution. IPA assignees are not federal employees, but are subject to provisions of law governing the ethics and conduct of federal employees.

Initial assignments may be made for up to two years and may be intermittent or full time. Assignments may be extended at the request of NSF for up to three years. An extension to four years requires approval from NSF's Deputy Director. By law, an IPA assignment may not be extended beyond four years.

It is NSF's expectation that IPA assignees will not be employed by NSF in any capacity for at least one year upon completion of their IPA assignment.

IPA assignee salary is annualized to twelve months while on assignment at NSF. Pay is supplemented when the salary at the home institution is below the minimum of the NSF position. Agreements may be amended to accommodate increases in fringe benefit costs and salary increases authorized by the home institution. However, NSF's contribution to salary increases may not exceed the annual Federal pay increase, plus 3%.

Supplemental Pay
If the basic salary calculation is below the minimum rate of pay for the federal position, the salary is raised to the minimum federal rate of pay for that position. This income is paid directly to the assignee by NSF and will be reported on an IRS Form 1099, "Miscellaneous Income," at the end of each year.

An IPA assignee may be entitled to receive a per diem allowance or a round-trip movement of household goods. The annual per diem rate is established and paid by NSF based on Federal Travel Regulations. Requests for per diem may be made in a lump sum or incrementally, and tax implications should be considered in deciding the timing of these payments. These payments are reported to the IRS on form 1099 if the aggregate amount paid is $600.00 or more in a calendar year.

An IPA assignee may be entitled to receive a round-trip movement of household goods in lieu of a per diem allowance.

Because IPA assignees are not federal employees, annual and sick leave is not accrued at NSF. Applicable leave provisions of the home institution will be followed while on detail to NSF, however requests to use leave must be approved by the NSF supervisor. The home institution is responsible for leave administration. Summer and other extended vacation periods are work periods at NSF.

The IRS has ruled that under the new tax law, regardless of length of assignment, none of the expenses listed above are deductible. NSF recommends that tax implications be discussed with a CPA or other tax advisor.

The Independent Research/Development (IR/D) Program permits IPAs with approved IR/D plans, to maintain their involvement with their professional research.