15 8(a) Application Killers

Spending the time upfront to ensure that your firm meets all of the eligibility requirements for 8(a) Certification can save you countless hours of frustration, the expense of putting the application together incorrectly and the difference between obtaining formal 8(a) Certification or not.

Below are just 15 of the 8(a) Application “Killers”. These will immediately tell you whether you have an issue that may prevent you from qualifying for 8(a) Certification.

1. The applicant (51% of more owner) must be a US Citizen when they apply.

2. The applicant must devote full time to the business concern that is applying for 8(a) Certification when they apply. This means the applicant must work at least 40 hours per week in the business concern without any outside employment.

3. The applicant must hold the highest management position within the business concern. Generally this is the CEO, President or Managing Member.

4. The applicant must be able to demonstrate that they are the highest compensated. Generally the SBA will deny your 8a application if you cannot demonstrate the applicant currently is the highest compensated or there is a very good reason why they have elected not to be.

5 The applicant must have an adjusted net worth of less than $250,000 at the time they apply. Adjusted net worth = Personal Assets – Personal liabilities – (Equity in primary residence + value of ownership interest in business concern + IRA/401(k) or Other Retirement Accounts subject to a penalty for early withdrawal). To determine if your adjusted net worth is lower than $250,000 use our adjusted net worth calculator.

6. The applicant’s AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) cannot be more than $250,000 averaged over the last three tax years.

7. The applicant must generally hold all licenses or professional certifications required to operate the business concern. If they do not, another equity owner cannot be the holder of the required licenses.

8. If the applicant has ownership in another business concern, other than the business concern that is applying for 8(a) Certification, the SBA may very well likely determine that you do not devote full time and therefore deny your 8(a) application. The only exception would be for ownership in an LLC for holding, managing and protecting real estate. There are ways to solve this issue and they vary depending on your unique condition.

9. The applicant cannot be on probation or parole. If the applicant has been arrested in the past it does not automatically deny them unless they were convicted of a specific crime. Having an arrest, regardless of how long ago, will severely delay the review of your 8a Application by at least 90 days.

10. The business concern must have been in business for 2 full years with evidence of reasonable revenues on its last two tax returns in the industry it is seeking 8(a) Certification for.  If it has not, you must seek a waiver and meet the 5 conditions set by the SBA to overcome this condition. Click here for detailed information on each of the 5 conditions.

11. The business concern and the applicant cannot have any delinquent tax filings or have any unpaid Federal, State or local obligations at the time of application. This condition can be overcome by filing the proper extension for delinquent taxes or by providing evidence of a current re-payment arrangement for unpaid Federal, State or local obligations.

12. The business concern must be at least 51% directly owned by the applicant and must be defined as a “Small Business” by the Federal Government. Your primary NAICS code, gross sales and sometimes the number of employees define your size standard that the SBA will base its determination on.. The business concern must also be a for-profit business and cannot be classified as a broker or be a subsidiary of another business concern.

13. The business concern’s current financial statements must exhibit positive net income, positive net equity and sufficient working capital at the time of 8(a) application submission.

14. The business concern must not earn more than 70% of its total revenue with one single client, within the last 12 months. This does not apply to a business concern if its direct billing client is a Federal or State Government.

15. The applicant or business concern cannot have previously participated as an 8(a) participant. The applicant cannot have any immediate family members who are current or previous participants in the 8(a) Program that are or were affiliated.

These are just 15 of the “Killers” that can potentially prevent your 8(a) Certification application from being successful. There are additional “Killers” and other areas that you should be concerned with prior to making the decision on whether you fully qualify for 8(a) Certification. If you have additional questions or would like to discuss your specific business situation, please call us at 813-333-5800 or visit www.cloveer.com.

Cloveer, Inc. pre-qualifies all of its full service clients prior to preparing their 8(a Certification Application. With over 2,000 successful clients to date. Read some of our testimonials.

What you won’t hear from Cloveer. Anyone can get 8(a) certified.

The truth is that NOT everyone can get 8(a) Certified.

As the President of Cloveer, Inc. I talk to a lot of people who are interested in becoming 8(a) Certified. I would estimate that 7 out of every 10 people I talk to do not and cannot qualify for the 8(a) Program due to the strict 8(a) Program requirements.

Some these problems range from the applicant having an adjusted net worth that exceeds the SBA regulatory limit that cannot be lowered without violating the SBA transfer requirements to not being able to come up the required level of information and evidence required to prove social disadvantage to having an affiliation that may cause the SBA to find an unconditional control issue.

At Cloveer, we conduct a detailed pre-qualification interview with all of our clients before we charge any fees or start preparing their 8(a) Application. This is done so neither of us waste any time or money. We ask our clients the “Killer” questions that will let us and more importantly them know if they have an eligibility issue, unknown to them. The fact is that there are ways around a lot of the eligibility issues but making changes may impact them beyond their comfort zone.  We advise our clients on the pros and cons to any potential eligibility issue and tell them when there is one that has no workarounds. Our feeling is that is it better for them to know now rather than later.

As you can see from our blog and website, www.cloveer.com, we provide more information about the 8(a) Program that all of our competitors. We want you to know as much information about the SBA 8(a) Program as possible since you will be the one participating and using it as one of the tools to becoming a success. The more you know the better decisions you can make before you apply and while you are in the 8(a) Program.

For more information on the 8(a) Program, please visit us at www.cloveer.com or call us at 813-333-5800.

Do you meet the SBA 8(a) Program Economic Disadvantage Qualifications?

Do you meet the SBA 8(a) Program Economic Disadvantage Qualifications?

One of the many requirements to become SBA 8a Certified is to be deemed to be economically disadvantaged at the time of your 8a Application submission. In order to meet this requirement you must:

1. The applicant(s) for 8a Certification  must have an adjusted net worth of less than $250,000 at the time of their application submission.

Adjusted Net Worth = Personal Assets – Liabilities – [Equity in primary residence + ownership interest in business + IRA/Other Retirement Accounts subject to a penalty for early withdrawal]. All assets jointly held are split 50/50. If you are unsure what you Adjusted Net Worth is, use the Cloveer Adjusted Net Worth Calculator  to determine if you are below the $250K limit. The online calculator offers specific advice and tips on determining some of the required amounts that must be  reported to the SBA.

Tip: You will be required to submit supporting statements for all assets and liabilities so make sure that you provide amounts that can be corroborated by the SBA.

There  may be ways to reduce your adjusted net worth below the regulatory limit.  Please contact us for specific advice on your situation.

2. The applicant(s) for 8a Certification cannot have more than $4,000,000 in total assets at the time of their application submission.

Total Assets = All Personal assets – IRA/Other Retirement Accounts subject to a penalty for early withdrawal.

3. The applicant(s) for 8a Certification cannot have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of more than $250,000, averaged over the last three tax years.

AGI = Your total income – any federal taxes you paid on behalf of the corporation or LLC (from distributions taken) – any income attributed to your corporation or LLC  that is not distributed to you and essentially re-invested in the corporation or LLC.

If you are unsure if you meet this eligibility requirement, please contact us for a detailed review.

4. The applicant(s) for 8a Certification must be able to produce a narrative statement of economic disadvantage that details at least one specific instance of actual or perceived prejudice or bias that can be directly attributed back to their distinguishing feature (Race, Ethnicity, Culture, Handicap, Gender, etc).

Updated (August 29, 2016). As of August 24, 2016 you are no longer required to prepare and provide a Narrative Statement of Economic Disadvantage to the SBA as part of your 8(a) Application. If you are not a member of one of the SBA designated groups, you still must submit a Social Disadvantage Narrative though

Here is the link to the Federal Register Rule that goes into effect on August 24, 2016 regarding the Narrative Statement of Economic Disadvantage.

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/07/25/2016-16399/small-business-mentor-protg-programs

Specifically, within it under item: 8(a) BD Application Processing (13 CFR 124.202, 124.203, 124.104(b), and 124.108(a))

In addition, SBA’s regulations provide that each individual claiming economic disadvantage must describe such economic disadvantage in a narrative statement, and must submit personal financial information to SBA. SBA believes that the written narrative on economic disadvantage is an unnecessary burden imposed on applicants to the 8(a) BD program. SBA’s determination as to whether an individual qualifies as economically disadvantaged is based solely on an analysis of objective financial data relating to the individual’s net worth, income and total assets. As such, this final rule eliminates the requirement that each individual claiming economic disadvantage must submit a narrative statement in support of his or her claim of economic disadvantage.

View our sample economic and social narratives of disadvantage. They are actual narratives that have been approved by the SBA. The names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals but will give you a good idea of the level of specificity that must be provided with your narrative.

The real benefits of getting SBA 8a Certified

By becoming SBA 8a Certified, your business concern will benefit by:

1) Having exclusive access to sole source/non-competitive and competitive set-aside federal contracts.  Sole source/non-competitive contracts will be available to your business concern for federal contracts with a total value up to $4 million for services and up to $6.5 million for manufacturing.  Federal contracts for 8a Certified firms that have a total contract value of more than $4 million for services and more than $6.5 million for manufacturing must be competed but only against other 8a Certified firms.

2) Limiting your potential competition. The big guys (e.g. Lockheed Martin, Turner Construction, etc.) will not have access to these federal contracts. In addition, there are less than 10,000 certified 8a business concerns currently participating in the 8a Program in the entire U.S.

3) Making you attractive to a larger federal government prime contractor. Since a business concern that is not considered small by SBA does not have access set-aside 8a contracts, you will be more attractive for teaming, joint ventures or mentor/protégé relationships.

4) Making it easier for your Federal client to purchase your products or services. 8a set-aside contracts require much less paperwork, time and bureaucracy. 8a contracts cannot be protested, only the size of the 8a participant can be questioned.

5) Getting you the contract/work faster. 8a contracts take much less time to be awarded than most other procurement methods.

Now that you know the primary benefits of becoming 8a Certified, what are waiting for? The key to getting successfully 8a certified is to get it done right the first time. We at Cloveer have assisted more than 2,000 business concerns to get through the tough 8a application process.

Special Licenses Requirements within the SBA 8a Application

If any special licenses are required for the industry in which the business concern operates, such as a General Contractors license, Professional Engineers (PE) license, Plumbing license, etc. has a copy been provided?

Is the license current and in the name of the business concern with the Applicant for 8a Certification as the holder/qualifier?

If the license holder/qualifier is not the Applicant, is the license holder/qualifier an equity owner within the business concern? If so, the SBA will determine that this individual has the ability to impact the control of the business concern, therefore the business concerns 8a Application will most likely be denied.

If the license holder/qualifier is the Applicant, and the license holder/qualifier has NO equity with the business concern, the Applicant and business concern must be able to prove that they have ultimate managerial and supervisory control of this individual.

 

Can 8a Contracts be Protested?

The size status of the apparent successful offeror for competitive 8a procurement may be protested.

The size status of the participant for a sole source 8a procurement may not be protested by another 8a participant or any other business.

The eligibility of a 8a participant for a sole source or competitive 8a procurement cannot be challenged by another 8a participant or any other business.

An 8a participant cannot appeal the SBA’s determination not to award it a specific 8a contract because the concern lacks an element of responsibility or is ineligible for the contract other than to request a formal size determination where SBA cannot verify it to be small.

The NAICS code assigned to a sole source 8a procurement may not be challenged by another 8a participant or any other business. In connection with a competitive 8a procurement, any business concern who has been adversely affected by a NAICS code designation may appeal the designation to the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals.

For more information on the SBA 8a Program, visit cloveer.com

How does the SBA review the business concern’s tax returns during the 8a Application review process?

The SBA will verify the following:

a. Have you provided complete copies of the business concern’s Federal business tax returns for the last three years. If the business concern is a sole proprietor, you must submit the Schedule C for the last three years?

– 1120 or 1120s for Corporations

– 1065 for Multiple Member LLCs

– Schedule C for Sole Proprietors or Single Member LLCs

DO NOT SUBMIT COPIES OF THE BUSINESS CONCERNS STATE TAX RETURNS

b. Have all schedules and additional statements that are mentioned within the business tax returns been included?

c. Do you have any questionable items on the schedules or statements that require additional explanations? If so, we suggest you address these items within your 8a Application paperwork to be provided.

d. Do the tax returns indicate that the business concern has been operating in its primary industry (NAICS) code for at least the last two years? Your tax return should identify the six digit NAICS code which is identified as your primary NAICS code on your 8a Application paperwork. If the NAICS code identified on the tax return is different than the primary NAICS code identified on your 8a Application paperwork you must include a NAICS code explanation letter within your 8a Application.

e. Does the business tax information correspond with the financial statements (Balance Sheet and Income Statement) included within your 8a Application paperwork?

f. Can the salaries, wages and distributions of the 8a applicant, officers or partners be verified?

g. Does the percentage of ownership identified on the tax returns correspond with the 8a Application paperwork?

h. If the business concern has elected to be treated as an S-Corporation, have you provided copies of all K-1s.

i. Have you included copies of the cancelled check, bank statement or IRS account balance transcript to show payment for all amounts indicated on the “Amount Owed” line of the tax return?

j. What trend do the tax returns show? (i.e. downward trend in income, substantial gain in income, etc.) If the business concern’s tax returns show a significant downward trend or increase in sales you should be prepared to respond to potential SBA questions as to why?

View the related article on “How does the SBA review the Individual’s tax returns during the 8a Application review process?