Since being passed by Congress in late 2018, the Runway Extension Act has been the source of great confusion among small business contractors: would size under receipts-based NAICS codes be calculated under the 3-year calculation period set out in the SBA’s regulations, or under the new 5-year calculation period mandated by Congress?
In a decision just publicly released, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals has weighed in. As of now, the SBA will still calculate size under the 3-year calculation period.
The Runway Extension Act has been a hot topic for federal
government contractors. And as of this writing, the issue of the Act’s
effectiveness hasn’t been conclusively decided—though SBA says the Act isn’t
yet effective, others (including us, in various posts on this blog) have
disagreed with this analysis. A recent GAO decision decided a protest based on
the Runway Extension Act.
On Monday, June 24, SBA will issue its long-awaited proposed rule implementing the Small Business Runway Extension Act. We intend to explore the proposed rule and the accompanying commentary more fully over the next few days (as we have been doing over the past few months), but we wanted to provide a quick update to our readers on the main changes in the proposed rule.
The key takeaway is that, once the rule is in place, SBA size standards will be based on a 5-year average. SBA “proposes to change its regulations on the calculation of annual average receipts for all receipts-based SBA size standards and other agencies’ proposed size standards for service-industry firms from a 3-year averaging period to a 5-year averaging period.”
Congress and the SBA continue to disagree about the timing for the implementation of the Runway Extension Act (conveniently allowing my Star Wars references to continue).
SBA recently provided testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. Senator Marco Rubio called the hearing to address, among other things, why the “SBA has refused to follow the Runway Extension Act.” (We have wondered the same thing.)
A short time ago in a blog not too far away, we wrote about the newly passed Small Business Runway Extension Act.
Shortly after passage of the Runway Extension Act confusion struck the government contracting world when the SBA openly stated that it would not implement the Runway Extension Act. Recently, the House Committee on Small Business passed H.R. 2345, “Clarifying the Small Business Runway Extension Act” which, in no uncertain terms, tells SBA it has to implement the Runway Extension Act before the end of 2019.
In late 2018, Congress passed the Small Business Runway Extension Act, which had a single purpose: change the three-year average annual receipts calculation period (for determining small business eligibility) to a five-year calculation period.
Small businesses, for the most part, have been watching with bated breath for the SBA to comply with the Runway Extension Act. But as we’ve previously written, the SBA has thus far refused to do so (albeit under shifting rationale).
Now, the SBA has cemented its position against applying the
Runway Extension Act—according to the SBA, “[b]usinesses must continue to
report their annual receipts based on a 3-year average until the SBA amends its
I’m not convinced the SBA has it right.
The Small Business Runway Extension Act continues to be a hot topic of conversation among small businesses. For good reason: it revised the receipts calculation period for revenue-based size standards from three years to five.
In late 2018, the SBA opined that the Runway Extension Act wasn’t applicable because the SBA had not yet updated its regulations. Following industry pushback, the SBA’s position seems to have evolved. During a panel discussion at this year’s National 8(a) Conference, the SBA said that the Runway Extension Act applies to every agency that might adopt its own size standards . . . just not the SBA itself.
This new justification is a bit of a head-scratcher. And I still don’t think the SBA has it right.
Let’s work through the SBA’s position together.