Congress has included in the new COVID-19 relief bill a one-year extension of the term for participation in the 8(a) Program. Under the provision, any small business concern participating in the 8(a) program on or before September 9, 2020 may “elect to extend such participation by a period of 1 year”. This is good news, especially for those concerns in their last year of viability in the 8(a) program who may have felt shortchanged from COVID’s effects on the economy.
This provision is found under Section 330 of the “Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act” (Division N, Title III of the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021”). If you’re trying to find it, it’s at page 2183 of the 5593-page (!) law. Similar to the one-year extension in section 869 of the Conference Report on the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, discussed in a prior post, the one-year extension in the COVID-19 relief bill applies regardless of whether the small business concern previously elected to suspend participation in the 8(a) program pursuant to guidance of the Administrator.
Assuming the bill is signed by the President, Section 330 also grants the SBA emergency rulemaking authority to issue regulations to carry out the one-year extension, along with a 15-day timeline to get it done.
Current 8(a) Participants will want to keep an eye on the progress of this bill–and the SBA regulations accompanying it–as they could be the benefactors of a favorable one-year extension of their 8(a) status.
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