SBA OHA Reaffirms 70% Threshold For Economic Dependence Affiliation

Under the SBA’s affiliation rules, one of the many ways a small business can be deemed affiliated with another is through the economic dependence rule: where a small business derives 70% or more of its revenues from another entity, the SBA ordinarily considers it to be economically dependent upon—and thus subject to the control of—that other entity.

So it was in a recent decision from the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals (“OHA”), which confirmed the so-called “70% rule” for economic dependence.

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SBA Size Protests: File With Contracting Officer, Not OHA

The SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals is an appellate forum and lacks jurisdiction to hear initial size protests.

As explained in a recent SBA OHA decision, size protests must be filed with the relevant Contracting Officer, who then refers the matter to the appropriate SBA Area Office.  Only after the SBA Area Office issues a size determination does OHA have jurisdiction to consider a size appeal.

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8(a) Mentor-Protege JV Didn’t Qualify For SDVOSB Set-Aside, Says SBA OHA

An 8(a) mentor-protege joint venture didn’t qualify for an SDVOSB set-aside because the mentor firm was not a small business.

In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals held that a SDVOSB-specific regulation requires all members of an SDVOSB joint venture to be small–notwithstanding language in the SBA’s size regulations and 8(a) Program regulations specifying that an SBA-approved mentor-protege joint venture may bid, as a small business, on any government contractor or subcontract, provided that the protege is small.

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SBA OHA Sets Low Bar For Common Investments Affiliation

As few as two common outside investments can result in a presumption of identity of interest, and therefore likely affiliation, according to a recent decision by the Small Business Administration Office of Hearings and Appeals.

OHA’s decision in W. Harris, Government Services Contractor, Inc., SBA No. SIZ-5717 (Mar. 7, 2016), lends some clarity to the SBA’s identity of interest affiliation rule, which provides that businesses or firms are affiliated when they have identical or substantially identical business interests. Although it brings the rule more into focus, the decision in W. Harris could prove troublesome to some small business owners, who may have assumed that a handful of common outside investments would not result in affiliation.

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Family Members’ Joint Involvement In Third Company Created Affiliation, Says SBA OHA

A self-certified small business was found affiliated with a company owned by the business owner’s father, even though the son’s company had no meaningful business relationship with the father’s company.

In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals found that the self-certified small business had not rebutted the presumption of affiliation with the father’s company because the father and son were jointly involved in a third business, and thus could not establish that their personal business interests were separate.

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Ostensible Subcontractor Affiliation: Beware These “Four Key Factors,” Says SBA OHA

Ostensible subcontractor affiliation can arise for many reasons–but a small business may be in grave danger of affiliation with its subcontractor when four specific factors are present.

In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals held that a small prime contractor was unusually reliant on its large subcontractor where “four key factors” indicated that the small prime contractor was bringing little to the table but its small business status.

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SBA Size Protests: Subcontracting Limits Off The Table

The SBA does not evaluate compliance with the limitations on subcontracting as part of the SBA size protest process.

In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals confirmed that subcontracting limits are the domain of the procuring agency, which is to consider compliance (or lack thereof) as part of its responsibility determination.

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