Avoiding affiliation with other companies can be critical to qualifying as a small business under the SBA’s rules for government contractors. But not all SBA affiliation rules are intuitive, and in my career as a government contracts attorney I have seen the same misconceptions about the affiliation rules come up time and and time again.
So without further ado, here are five common misconceptions about the SBA’s affiliation rules.
Affiliation is a broad and often confusing concept that commonly arises in the context of government contracting. In this YouTube video, I walk you through the basics of affiliation, including the main types of affiliation and the implications of being found affiliated.
Stay tuned to our blog for additional overviews of important government contracting concepts. And if you need more personalized assistance or advice regarding affiliation or any of your government contracting needs, please call us at Koprince Law. We are always here to help.
A recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision confirms that there is no exception for nonprofit organizations when it comes to affiliation issues.
In the case, SBA OHA found affiliation between a self-certified small business and a nonprofit organization based on close family members controlling both the business concern and the nonprofit. Adding in the receipts from the affiliated nonprofit made the business in question ineligible for small business status.
To encourage joint venturing, the SBA’s size regulations provide a limited exception from affiliation for certain joint venturers: a joint venture qualifies for award of a set-aside contract so long as each venturer, individually, is below the size standard associated with the contract (or one venturer is below the size standard and the other is an SBA-approved mentor, and they have a compliant joint venture agreement). In other words, the SBA ordinarily won’t “affiliate” the joint venturers—that is, add their sizes together—if the joint venture meets the affiliation exception.
Because of this special treatment, it can be easy for the venturers to assume that they are completely exempt from any kind of affiliation. But as the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals recently confirmed, however, the exception isn’t nearly so broad.
Under the SBA’s affiliation rules, the so-called “inter-affiliate transactions” exception applies only where the companies in question would be eligible to file a consolidated tax return.
In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals held that the inter-affiliate transactions exception does not apply when affiliated companies are ineligible to file a consolidated tax return–a result that seems to authorize “double counting” of affiliated companies’ revenues in the context of SBA size determinations.
Even if the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation has found that a service-disabled veteran “unconditionally” controls a SDVOSB, the SBA may nonetheless determine that other individuals or entities also control the company within the meaning of the SBA’s affiliation rules.
As demonstrated by a recent decision of the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals, VA CVE verification does not shield a SDVOSB from an adverse SBA affiliation determination, even if that determination is based on a finding that non-veterans control the company.
A director does not “control” a company under the SBA affiliation rules when that director can be removed at any time by the majority shareholder, according to a recent size appeal decision of the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals.