Aims of the integrated administration and control system
European Union countries are responsible for the administration and control of payments to farmers in their country under a principle known as 'shared management'. The main building block of the management of payments system is the integrated administration and control system (IACS).
- ensures that transactions financed under the area and animal-based aid schemes are carried out correctly
- prevents, discovers and follows up on irregularities
- recovers unduly paid amounts
- supports farmers in making correct applications
EU countries use appropriate technology when setting up their IACS, with a view to reducing administrative burden and ensuring efficient and effective controls.
Control of taxpayers money
Income support for farmers comes from the European agricultural guarantee fund (EAGF). Consuming a large part of the EU budget, taxpayers need to be sure that EU countries allocate income support to the right farmers and recover any undue sums.
Elements of the IACS
IACS consists of a number of digital and interconnected databases, in particular:
- a system for the identification of all agricultural plots in EU countries, called the land parcel identification system;
- a system allowing farmers to graphically indicate the agricultural areas for which they apply for aid (the geospatial aid application);
- a computerised database for animals in EU countries where animal-based aid schemes apply;
- an integrated control system which ensures systematic checks of aid applications based on computerised cross checks and physical on-farm controls (on-the spot checks).
The IACS process
The IACS ensures that income support is managed and controlled in a standardised way in all EU countries. Typically, IACS covers an annual process, which starts with farmers lodging their online aid application for income support. In order to support farmers in this process, national administrations have to provide them with pre-established information that they can confirm, correct or complete.
National administrations then check if farmers meet the conditions for income support, through administrative checks of all applications and on-farm checks of a sample of farmers.
This is followed by payments to farmers where any findings following the administrative and on-farm checks are taken into consideration. Finally, the national administration updates the pre-established aid applications for the following year with information collected during the current year’s process.
The EU countries operate the IACS through accredited paying agencies. The system applies to all income support schemes (whether obligatory or not) as well as certain rural development support measures which are granted based on the number of hectares or animals held by the farmer. EU countries also use the IACS to ensure that farmers respect some of the requirements and standards mandated by cross-compliance.
The rules on the establishment and maintenance of IACS are specified by the: