8(a) Certification Tip – Your primary NAICS code and what’s reported on the business tax returns.

When you apply for the SBA 8(a) Program you must report to the SBA what your primary NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code is.

Your primary NAICS code is defined as the six digit code in which your business earned its largest segment of revenue, in the most recently completed fiscal year. To get 8(a) certified you typically must have earned your largest segment of revenue in your primary NAICS code for at least the last two fiscal years. If your business has not earned the largest segment of revenue in the primary NAICS code reported to the SBA for the last two fiscal years you will need to apply with a 2 year waiver.

To determine the primary NAICS code for your business you can visit our blog post titled “How to Determine your Primary NAICS Code” for detailed instructions.

The primary NAICS code for your business must also match what is reported on your business tax returns otherwise the SBA will assume that the business does not meet the two years in business requirement.

If your primary NAICS code is different that what is reported on your filed business tax returns, and the NAICS code reported on the business tax returns is incorrect you must:

Submit a letter of explanation to SBA, as part of your 8(a) Application, from your CPA or tax preparer regarding the business activity code and service listed on the filed business tax returns vs what NAICS code that should have been reported on them. This letter will save you 15-30 days of processing by the SBA.

Need assistance with your 8(a) Application? With 15 years and over 2,000 successful applications under our belt, we can assure you that no matter which option you choose, Cloveer will work harder and faster to get your business SBA 8a certified.  Contact us today at 813-333-5800 or visiting our website at cloveer.com to discover what Cloveer can do for you.

Stock Certificates and Ledger Guide: What you need to provide and tips for compliance.

Our 2019 Stock/Membership and Ledger Guide will assist in the preparation and 100% completion of your Stock or Membership Certificates and Ledger for your SBA 8(a) Application. This downloadable guide is $150.00. Click on the Buy Now button below to purchase the guide and download now. This guide will not only show you how to properly prepare your Stock/Membership Certificates and Ledger but will save you countless hours of trying to figure out how to be compliant with these SBA 8(a) application requirements and possible endless back and forth or long delays of the processing of your 8(a) application by the SBA. The guide includes the following information:

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  • Who needs to provide Stock/Membership Certificates and Ledger within the SBA 8(a) Application documentation.

Detailed tips for compliance including:

  • What to do if you have never prepared the required Stock/Membership Certificates and ledger in the past.
  • How to ensure they are completed properly so they correspond with the ownership information presented to the SBA.
  • What to do if you have lost any previous issued  Stock/Membership Certificates.
  • How to properly complete every area of the Stock/Membership Certificates and Ledger  to alleviate any questions by the SBA.

8(a) Certification: Family members with ownership in another business. What do I need to know and provide?

When you apply for the 8(a) Program the SBA will ask if you have any immediate family members who have ownership in a business. Why? 13 C.F.R 121.103(f) defines that the SBA may find affiliation on an identity of interest between individuals or business, including family members.

Immediate family member is defined as father, mother, husband, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, grand-daughter, father-in-law, and mother-in-law.

Tip: They do not ask this question upfront. To alleviate any questions by the SBA during the review process you should provide a signed and dated certification that you or any immediate family members do not have ownership in any other business during the application submission process, if this is the case.

If you do have an immediate family member that has ownership interest in any other business you must provide the following documentation to the SBA:

The above must be supplied if any immediate family member, any owner of more than 10%, any director, any officer has ownership in any other business entity.

  1. SBA Form 355 (listing each firm as an alleged affiliate);
  2. Interim year to date financial statements, as well as number of employees;
  3. Three most recently filed business tax returns, including all schedules, attachments, and proof of tax paid;
  4. If the firm is a corp, provide:
    – Articles of incorporation and by-laws;
    – The last two years of  shareholder meeting minutes showing the election of the board of directors;
    – The last two years of board of director meeting minutes showing the election of the officers;
    – Stock certificates and ledger;
    – Assumed/fictitious name registration, if dba name is used;
    Copies of cert of good standing if your firm is a foreign firm; and;
    – Any buy/sell agreements, stock transfer agreements, etc.
    If the firm is a LLC, provide:
    – Articles of organization and operating agreement;
    – Assumed/fictitious name registration, if a dba name is used;
    – Certificate of good standing; and
    – Any buy/sell agreements, stock transfer agreements, etc.If the firm is a sole prop, provide:
    – Assumed/fictitious name registration.If the firm is a partnership, provide:
    – Partnership agreement;
    – Official filings with the state; and
    – Assumed/fictitious name registration, if a dba name is used.

Why do they require this information?
The SBA requires the above information to determine if any affiliation exists between the 8(a) Applicant firm and any other business that your family member owns.

Need assistance with your 8(a) Application? With 15 years and over 2,000 successful applications under our belt, we can assure you that no matter which option you choose, Cloveer will work harder and faster to get your business SBA 8a certified.  Contact us today at 813-333-5800 or visiting our website at www.cloveer.com to discover what Cloveer can do for you.

 

 

8(a) Certification: Ownership or outside work in any other business can be a certification show stopper!

The applicant(s) for 8(a) Certification must devote full-time to the business that is applying for the 8(a) Program with no outside employment. This means that they must generally work at least 40 hours a week during the normal hours of operation of the business that is applying for the 8(a) Program.

If the applicant(s) have an ownership or are an officer, director or partner  in any other business, other than the business that is applying for the 8(a) Program, the SBA may very well deny your 8(a) Application.

Why?

As stated above, you must devote full-time during the normal hours of operation of the business. If you have ownership or are an officer, director or partner in another business the SBA will likely conclude that you are not devoting full-time to the applicant business even if you do not devote any hours to the operation of this other business.

How to overcome this potential show-stopper?

a. You can dissolve this other business and provide evidence of dissolution to the SBA during the application review process.

b. You can formally resign your officer, director or partner position in this other business and provide evidence of resignation.

b. You can sell your ownership in this other business. The sale must take place at fair market value and you must be able to provide proof of the sale and a copy of any proceeds you might receive. Be sure to factor in any funds you receive as a result of this sale. You must also resign all positions you held in this other business and provide proof of this resignation.

What if the other business is just a business for holding real estate?

If the other business is just for holding real estate and you can prove this to the SBA, you can most likely keep your ownership in this other business since this other business is solely for the purpose of holding and/or protecting you ownership interest in the properties that it holds.

Need assistance with your 8(a) Application? With 15 years and over 2,000 successful applications under our belt, we can assure you that no matter which option you choose, Cloveer will work harder and faster to get your business SBA 8a certified.  Contact us today at 813-333-5800 or visiting our website at www.cloveer.com to discover what Cloveer can do for you.

2 Year Waiver Guide; How to prepare the 2 year waiver for your 8(a) Application

Who needs to provide a Length of Time in Business Waiver/Two Year Waiver?

Your firm must demonstrate potential for success by showing two years in business. Please note that if the business concern has not yet generated revenues you will be unable to waive the two-year rule.

If the business has not generated revenues for the preceding two years, as verified by sufficient revenues reported on business tax returns, you will need to request the Length of Time in Business Waiver/ Two Year Waiver.

Proof of two years operation in the firm’s primary industry as verified by sufficient revenues reported in business tax returns for the two previous tax years, NOT the business concerns anniversary date.

What are the SBA requirements to be able to apply for the 8(a) Program using the Length of Time in Business Waiver/Two Year Waiver?

  1. The 8(a) applicant(s) must possess substantial business managerial experience.
  2. The business concern must have demonstrated that it has the technical expertise it will need to carry out its business plan with substantial likelihood for success.
  3. The business concern must have adequate capital to sustain its operations and carry out its business plan.
  4. The business concern must have a record of successful performance on contracts in its primary NAICS code.
  5. The business concern must have (or can quickly obtain) the personnel, facilities, equipment, and other resources it needs to perform any 8(a) contracts it might be awarded.

Our 2 year waiver guide contains very detailed instructions on how to satisfy each of the 5 conditions including what you should detail in your narrative for each condition as well as the exact supporting documents you must provide to the SBA to support your narrative. Additionally, a detailed example narrative write-up for each condition is provided in our guide.

Our 2017 SBA 2 Year Waiver Guide will assist in the preparation and 100% completion of the 2 Year Waiver for your SBA 8(a) Application. This downloadable guide is $150.00. Click on the Buy Now button below to purchase the guide and download now. This guide will not only show you how to properly prepare the 2 Year Waiver but will save you countless hours of trying to figure out how to properly complete the 2 Year Waiver and possible endless back and forth or long delays of the processing of your 8(a) application by the SBA.

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8(a) Application – New Procedure for Submitting your 8(a) Application

The SBA has recently changed its method for submitting your 8(a) Application supporting documents.

On August 24, 2016, the SBA updated Title 13 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Part 124. Among one of the updates, the SBA included a requirement that all 8(a) Applications along with supporting documentation must now be filed electronically.

Because of this change, the SBA now (as of February 10, 2017) requires that you submit your entire 8(a) Application electronically instead of mailing the completed 8(a) Application and supporting documentation to them. Please note, this has been noted as an interim process therefore please stay tuned to our blog for further updates to the submission process.

(You can download the Interim Process Guide by visiting https://certify.sba.gov/8a-docs). Please review the process in detail before submitting your 8(a) Application to the SBA. Here are the basic steps from the guide:

  1. You will still need to complete your 8(a) Application forms within the BDMIS system or via your SBA GLS account.
  2. To upload your supporting documents to the SBA, you will now need to establish an account with certify.sba.gov. Once you have established an account with certify.sba.gov and have selected the option for 8(a) Document upload under the Programs option within this system:

You must use the following naming convention when saving and uploading your 8(a) documents to the SBA: FIRM NAME_DUNS NUMBER_TYPE OF FILE.PDF.

For example, if you are uploading your 2015 personal tax returns, the PDF file should be named: ABC LLC_123456789_2015 Personal Federal Tax Return.PDF

All files must be uploaded as separate documents.

  1. You will also need to upload your BDMIS Application completed through your SBA GLS account with all executed signature pages.
  2. For all further instructions, please review the guide mentioned above.

Financial Statements – 35 Items the SBA reviews when applying for 8(a) Certification

When applying for the 8(a) Program you are required to submit the following financial statements for the business:

  1. Year to date Balance sheet and income statements, no older than 90 days, including a detailed A/P and A/R aging statement if you are operating on an accrual basis.

2. The last three years of Balance sheet and income statements (e.g. 2016, 2015, & 2014)

You should ensure that all financials provided are prepared on generally accepted accounting principles or an accepted cash basis.

What does the SBA reviewer look for when they review these:
*Note* The following items are taken from the current SBA SOP.

1. Are the current year to date financials no older than 90 days from date of receipt by the SBA?

2. Are the aging schedules for A/P and A/R consistent with with the year to date balance sheet?

3. Are any A/P or A/R more than 90 days old?

4. Do the balance sheets balance?

5. Are current assets recorded properly?

6. If the business is a dealer, wholesaler, or supplier, does the firm maintain any inventory?

7. Does the firm have fixed assets? If so, are these fixed assets recorded properly?

8. Are the fixed assets reported with depreciation or at actual value?

9. Do the firm’s fixed assets correspond with its type of business? For example, if the firm performs construction work does it have construction equipment?

10. If there is a partner shareholder or officer loan, is there a copy of the loan document? Is this loan reflected on the individual’s SBA Form 413, Personal Financial Statement?

11. Are there loans or notes receivable from a shareholder, officer or partner?

12. Has a copy of the loan or note been provided?

13. Does the loan reflect generally accepted repayment terms? If not, is this item over-inflating the firm’s assets?

14. Does the firm have the ability to service debts?

15. Are there any loans that are questionable or that may raise concerns regarding control?

16. Do retained earnings reconcile with previous financial statements?

17. Does the listed business equity match that reported on the Personal Financial Statements of the owners?

18. Is the profit and loss statement correctly calculated?

19. Does the profit and loss statement show revenues in the appropriate business activity?

20. Is “Cost of Goods Sold” included?

21. Are the line items properly recorded?

22. If there is an expense for salaries for employees, are employees listed on SBA Form 1010?

23. If there is an expense for worker’s compensation, are employees listed on SBA Form 1010?

24. Is the disadvantaged individual the firm’s highest compensated officer or employee? If not, has an explanation of the salary structure been provided?

25. Are there any large subcontracting expenses that appear questionable?

26. Does the firm appear to be in compliance with the percentage of work requirements for its primary business?

27. Does the firm appear to have the necessary equipment, financial resources, working capital, etc., to perform 8(a) contracts it may be awarded?

28. Are there questionable items listed on the statements, or have things changed significantly from the previous year end statement?

29. Are there indications that excessive withdrawals have occurred?

30. Does the firm have financing by non-disadvantaged individual(s) that would be considered critical financing? Also, is the loan payable upon demand?

31. Are there any significant changes in any categories that create a concern? For example, have loans disappeared?

32. What pattern are the revenues, profits, and losses showing? Is there a need to ask for clarification, such as an explanation of the reason for a downward trend or sudden revenue drop?

33. Are there any discrepancies between the firm’s tax returns and the statements? Are these discrepancies based on cash versus accrual? If not, is reconciliation required? Does taking into consideration cash versus accrual reconcile the accounts?

34. Do the balance sheets correspond with the tax return schedules? For example, are there shareholder loans on the tax return schedules that are not reflected on the financial statements?

35. Do the statements and corresponding tax returns reflect any conversions from accrual to cash accounting?

Need assistance with your 8(a) Application? Call us at 813-333-5800 or visit www.cloveer.com for more information.

Reduce your 8(a) Application review time, at the SBA, by 30+ days.

There are several certifications that are required to be submitted within your 8(a) Application paperwork. Failure to submit these signed and dated certifications will result in a letter back from the SBA deeming your 8(a) Application deficient or incomplete.

Please note. None of the below certifications are identified within the SBA’s current 8(a) Checklist. This blog post alone will save you at least one letter back from the SBA and possibly 30+ days of processing time at the SBA.

5 certification sheets that you must provide to the SBA within your 8(a) Application paperwork:

  1. Certification that the applicant firm’s financial statements truthfully and accurately represent the financial condition of my company.
  2. Certification that no 8(a) applicant, owner, director, or key officer of the applicant firm, or the applicant firm itself, have any delinquent federal obligations, past due taxes or liens.
  3. Certification that no immediate family member of any 8(a) applicant, owner, director, or key officer of the applicant firm has ever been an officer, director or shareholder of any other firm that is a current 8(a) Program participant or was a previous participant in the 8(a) Program.
  4. Certification that no 8(a) applicant, owner, director, or key officer of the applicant firm has ever been an officer, director or shareholder of any other firm that is a current 8(a) Program participant or was a previous participant in the 8(a) Program.
  5. Certification that the no 8(a) applicant, owner, director, or key officer of the applicant firm has any ownership interest in any other business other than the applicant firm,  or has an immediate family member who has ownership interest in any other business.

You should put each of the above certifications on a separate printed sheet and sign/date all of these and include a copy within your 8(a) Application. Please make sure all of these certifications provided to the SBA are accurate and truthful. Penalties for misrepresenting anything in your 8(a) Application are severe.

If any of the above cannot be provided because they might apply in your circumstances, please call us at 813-333-5800 for more information.

What role can a consultant play in your SBA 8(a) Application

Hiring a reputable consultant to assist in the preparation of your 8(a) Application can be very important. Most self prepared 8(a) Application are rejected outright or send back multiple times for deficiencies or inconsistencies. In fact “Only 2 out every 10 self prepared 8(a) Applications are approved by the SBA“.

Hiring and investing in a reputable consultant can dramatically increase your chances to achieve successful 8(a) Certification and decrease the time it takes to get 8(a) Certified. A consultant that does not have the experience or proven track record may hurt your chances. The old adage of “You Get What You Pay For” is important. If you believe that you can pay your consultant a few hundred dollars to prepare a successful 8(a) Application you will most likely “Get What You Pay For“. It takes anywhere between 40-80 hours’ worth or work typically to properly review and prepare the 8(a) Application with work on both sides. An 8(a) Application can be several hundred to over a thousand pages in length and is not just a bunch of forms to fill out.

A reputable 8(a) Consultant should perform a free pre-qualifying interview to determine your current state of 8(a) Program eligibility before they enter into any agreement with you. As a result of this pre-qualifying interview they should let you know if your chance of qualifying or not. If you don’t qualify for the 8(a) Program they should let you know why and how to get around these issues without breaking any of the rules.

When you hire any consultant, accountant or attorney to assist with your 8(a) Application they are required to report the SBA that they assisted you and what fees you paid them to assist you. They must also provide a copy of any agreement between the client and the them for review by the SBA.
If you choose to enter into an agreement with a consultant you should make sure:

1. The consultant must have extensive experience in preparing 8(a) Applications that have resulted in successful 8(a) Certification by the SBA and can provide real references for you to speak to directly.

2. The consultant must thoroughly understand the current SBA 8(a) regulations and Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) cases that might impact your 8(a) Application.

3. The consultant you speak to initially should be the person who will assist in your 8(a) Application and not be passed off to some junior analyst with limited experience.

4. The consultant should also have detailed knowledge of Federal procurement. For example did they previously work for an 8(a) Certified company or work in the federal market space as a contractor.

5. The consultant should provide you with very specific guidance and clear recommendations to you while preparing your 8(a) Application with clear answers to your questions with no double-talk.

6. No consultant should offer a guarantee that your application will accepted by the SBA as the SBA is the final determiner in whether you get certified. It is actually a violation of the SBA rules for any consultant to guarantee that your application will approved by SBA.

7. The consultant agreement should ensure that all of your personal information is protected properly and not shared with anyone other than you and the consultant.

8. The consultant should assist you after the 8(a) Application is submitted to the SBA should the SBA ask for additional information.

Cloveer employees live and breathe 8(a) Certification. When you hire Cloveer to prepare your 8(a) Application you will working directly with Rick Otero, our President/CEO who has 15 years to experience with proven results.

Rick keeps up to date on all of the latest daily SBA 8(a) Program changes and has a detailed understanding of the current SBA 8(a) regulations and the latest SBA OHA cases on 8(a) Certification.

Cloveer has a very strong success rate. We maintain a rate over 99% for clients we pre-qualify and have assisted thousands of small businesses to achieve and maintain their 8(a) Program Certification.

Rick worked in his family owned 8(a) Certified business, RJO Enterprises, Inc.. This business was one of the most successful 8(a) Certified companies in the 8(a) Program. In fact this business was recognized by INC. Magazine for five consecutive years as one of the country’s most successful 8(a), high-tech, information technology and electronics concerns.

Cloveer will pre-qualify you for FREE as we don’t want to waste your time or investment if you do not qualify. When you ask Rick a question you will get an honest answer with no double-talk. Even if Rick finds that you do not currently qualify he will identify the workarounds to your specific issues, if possible, so you can apply down the road.

All information provided to Cloveer is protected and will be secure and will never be shared with anyone.

Finally, our Full 8(a) Application Service is turnkey and once we prepare and you submit your 8(a) Application we will be there for you until with full support, at no additional fee, should the SBA ask for additional information.

Give us a call at 813-333-5800 to speak with Rick or visit us at www.cloveer.com for a wealth of information on the 8(a) Program.

8a Certification: The most overlooked eligibility issues.

Getting successfully 8(a) Certified can be very difficult. The latest statistics show that only 2 out of every 10 self-prepared 8(a) Applications result in successful 8(a) Certification by the SBA.

In fact, as of April 29. 2015 there are only 6,659 firms that are active 8(a) participants according to the the SBA Dynamic Small Business Search System. Don’t go it alone. Cloveer is here to help should you need assistance with your 8(a) Application.

Here are just a few of the most overlooked eligibility issues that come up from clients we speak that assumed they qualified for the 8(a) Program.

1. Economic Dependence.

No where in the SBA regulations does it clearly spell out that a firm must have multiple active clients to get successfully 8(a) Certified nor does it speak specifically to the economic dependence rules. The only mention in the Code of Federal regulations where it discusses economic dependence is within CFR 13; part 121 – 124.103 – How does the SBA determine affiliation. Here is an except from the current regulations:

(f) Affiliation based on identity of interest. Affiliation may arise among two or more persons with an identity of interest. Individuals or firms that have identical or substantially identical business or economic interests (such as family members, individuals or firms with common investments, or firms that are economically dependent through contractual or other relationships) may be treated as one party with such interests aggregated. Where SBA determines that such interests should be aggregated, an individual or firm may rebut that determination with evidence showing that the interests deemed to be one are in fact separate.

The simple fact is that the SBA will look at the totality of your circumstances to determine whether economic dependence exists. Read our blog article on Do you meet the 70% Economic Dependency Rule for detailed information on whether or not you will be found to be economically dependent by the SBA.

2. Outside Ownership in Any Other Business

No where in the SBA regulations does it clearly spell out that you cannot have ownership interest in any other business to get 8(a) Certified.

The rule is that the applicant must devote full-time to the 8(a) Applicant business without any outside employment. When you have ownership interest in an another business the SBA will most likely conclude that you are not devoting full-time to the 8(a) Applicant business even if you are not materially participating in this outside business.

The only exception by the SBA is if this outside business is an LLC for the purposes of solely holding or investing in real estate. The tax returns for this other entity must clearly show that this is the sole purpose of the business.

3. Applying for a Waiver to overcome the fact that the business has not been business for two full years.

No where in the SBA regulations does it indicate that your firm must have at least 1 (one) year of revenue earned in it primary NAICS shown on a tax year to even apply for a waiver. If you are start-up and have not filed at least one tax return showing sufficient revenues (@100K or more) on it do not even think about applying for the 8(a) Program. You will most likely be denied by the SBA for not meeting their “Potential for Success” requirement.

Read our blog article on How to get 8(a) Certified if your firm has been in business for less than two years for more information.

These are just a few of the most overlooked eligibility issues. For more, just give us a call at 813-333-5800. We would be pleased to take you through a FREE and very detailed pre-qualifying interview that will help identify any potential show stoppers.

Need assistance with your 8(a) Application? With 14 years and over 2,000 successful applications under our belt, we can assure you that no matter which option you choose, Cloveer will work harder and faster to get your business SBA 8a certified.  Contact us today at 813-333-5800 or visiting our website at www.cloveer.com to discover what Cloveer can do for you. We also offer these options for further assistance in completing your 8(a) Application.

Option 18(a) Application Review

  • For those who wish to complete the application on their own we offer an 8(a) Application Review service.  Here, one of our 8a program experts will review your entire application, checking it for missing documents and potential eligibility issues.  We will then advise you as to how best to modify your application to ensure it will be approved an SBA reviewer.

Option 28a Application Completion Service

  • The majority of our clients however, prefer a little more of a hands-on approach.  They recognize the expertise we have accumulated in the over 14 years we’ve been assisting clients obtain 8(a) certification, and want us to put it to use for them.  If you opt for our 8(a) Application Completion Service, we will work one-on-one with you to ensure that your 8(a) Application is 100% complete and compliant so the SBA can review and accept it the first time.