The Transfer of Ownership Civil Money Penalty is paid by retailers who sell or transfer property that is disqualified from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The disqualification will be for a reasonable period if the retailer has committed the offense for the first time. This period will be a minimum of six months and not more than five years. The period will not be less than a year and not more than ten years on the second occasion. The Secretary decides the civil money penalty. The penalty will be double the penalty that is provisioned for a disqualification that lasts for ten years if the disqualification is permanent. A retailer could be disqualified permanently if the personnel submitted false information during the time of application. The offense will result in permanent disqualification if it is committed for the third time.
The owner will be fined the TOCMP if they sell or transfer the store to another party. This happens if an owner is disqualified from participating in the SNAP program. The USDA can assess the penalty that is raised against the retailer if they have been disqualified. The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 specifies the action that will be taken if this happens. The person or entity that sells the property will be liable to a civil money penalty according to the act. The Civil Money Penalty is dependent on the Snap Regulations. The USDA has the right to disclose the information about a particular retailer if they fail to pay the penalty. The authority also reserves the right to disclose information when a retailer is sanctioned or disqualified. The information can be provided to other federal agencies and collection companies that the retailer owes debts. The social security numbers and the EIN are used to collect additional information. The Department of Agriculture can refer matters to the Department of Justice and the debts to the Treasury Department. Other agencies that they can refer the retailer include consumer reporting agencies.
The retailer in question can hand in a written request to the chief administrative review branch of the Department of Agriculture. This must be submitted within ten days of receiving the notification letter. The offender can pay the penalty in installments or as a lump sum. It is a requirement that the penalty is paid in full. One can choose the payment plan within two weeks of receiving the letter. Interest on the penalty is collected by the authority 30 days after the retailer receives notification. The USDA is bounded by the regulations when it comes to processing a payment plan. The longest period that is allowable is five years, and the sum is paid in sixty installments. The discretion of the authority does not allow them to reduce the penalty that one has to pay. They are able to reduce the CMP by a little bit in a payment plan. The amount that is levied is treated as taxable income. One will pay the income taxes on the levy.
Civil Money Penalty
The disqualification period will continue to be in effect even when the civil penalty has been paid. Retailers who fail to pay the penalties will be removed from the SNAP program. The fine is calculated according to the Average Monthly SNAP redemption of the firm in the preceding 12 months. 10% of the AMR is multiplied by the number of months in the period of disqualification. The fine is capped at $100,000 if the sum exceeds the penalty. A civil action can be instituted by the Attorney General if one fails to pay the penalty. This will be done by a district court that applies to where the party resides or does business. The buyer or transferee of the store will not be required to pay the penalty. The guilty party must present a letter of credit or a collateral bond within the first 15 days.
The interest on the penalty is only 1% when you choose a payment plan. The interest rate is not fixed and can be changed by the USDA at any time. The period in the payment plan should be shorter because the penalty is a substitute for the disqualification. The payment plan will be to pay the full sum inclusive of interest within twelve months if the disqualification period is one year.
A firm will be disqualified from the CMP if they do not pay any amount of the penalty. The firm will be disqualified for a period that corresponds to the period of the unpaid part of the penalty. This is if the retailer does not pay the amount in full or they do not complete the installments. The firm will be disqualified for the period that is prescribed if it does not present the bond or the letter of credit. The civil money penalty will be reinstated for the period of disqualification.
Conditions for Civil Money Penalty
The retailer may provide essential food items and the disqualification could be replaced with a civil money penalty. This can also be done if the disqualification leads to hardship on households that participate in the SNAP program if there is no authorized store in the area that provides these items at a fair price. Some stores may meet this criterion. The stores may not be considered if they had been sanctioned in the past. This is because the stores will have committed the offense for the second time.
A warning letter is not considered to be a sanction. The disqualification and the civil money penalty will be considered as sanctions in this case. A CMP can be imposed if the retailer shows that they had a compliance policy that was designed to prevent them from violating the law. This is not easy because one has to provide enough evidence to show that they attempted to be compliant. A firm can pay the penalty in place of the permanent disqualification if they are awaiting a judicial decision.
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