The Assistance & Gratitude for Coronavirus Heroes in Agribusiness Who Are Invaluable to the Nation or The AG CHAIN Act would provide a federal tax holiday and a payroll tax exemption for all essential employees in the food and agriculture industry, including pest control. This tax holiday would take place from February 15 through June 15, 2020, for workers making less than $75,000 annually. The Secretary of the Treasury would have the power to extend this period for up to 3 months. Workers covered are those who “support the sanitation and pest control of all human and animal food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail.” Please note, this would not include residential pest control or services to manufacturing and retail not involved in food.

If an employee earning less than $75,000 only performs work that falls under “human and animal food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail” then all of their wages qualify. If an employee is split between this and other non-qualifying work, then the wages must be calculated and those that go towards these specific services would qualify and the remaining portion spent on other work would not. So for example, if an employee spends half of their time servicing clients who fall under the food manufacturing processes and operations listed above, then half of their wages would qualify for a tax exemption. If passed, implementing guidance would explain how to calculate and what paperwork would need to be filed or retained to show this calculation.

While passage alone is unlikely, this bill will probably be considered for any future COVID-19 relief packages. Republicans have indicated they will discuss if another package is needed in late June, but that they are not wedded to the idea of additional aid.