HUBZone FAQ Update: Maps and Other Changes

The SBA’s HUBZone program can be a confusing program to understand and comply with. Keeping on top of the regulations requires keeping up on legislative and program changes on a revolving basis. The SBA has recently frozen the HUBZone maps and changed principal office rules. In a corresponding move, the SBA has updated the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section for the HUBZone program to clarify some details on HUBZone Program rules.

Here are some key points you should know about this latest FAQ update.

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New HUBZone Program Guidance Sheds Light on Principal Office Long-Term Investment Rules

The HUBZone Program has released updated FAQs that provide guidance on important HUBZone rules and how SBA will be interpreting them. While these don’t have the authority of a regulation, the new guidance shows how SBA will come down on certain HUBZone questions that aren’t answered in the regulations. These include the details on long-term investment in a principal office as well as a few other rules. Read on for how SBA will interpret these rules.

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SBA Inspector General Questions Legality of Relaxed HUBZone Residency Rule

Last December, SBA overhauled its HUBZone Program rules in an effort to make it easier for companies to obtain and maintain HUBZone certification–and to help the Government stop falling so woefully short of the three percent HUBZone prime contracting goal.

But now, in a new report, SBA’s internal watchdog is questioning whether one of those HUBZone Program changes went too far.

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SBA Provides Flexibility for HUBZone Compliance

We’ve written quite a few posts about how contractors can adapt and deal with the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some small businesses federal contractors, however, face unique challenges. This is particularly true of participants in the HUBZone Program. Specifically, while the OMB has encouraged agencies to allow contractor employees to telework, how will this affect HUBZone entities, where the location of their employees is key to maintaining their HUBZone status?

Well, the SBA has the answer in some recent guidance, and it’s something we could all probably do with a little more of–flexibility. Flexibility, in this case, means that SBA realizes complying with the principal office and employee residency requirements may be tough during a time when all people are encouraged to telework. The flexibility applies to a few of the HUBZone rules.

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SBA Issues Guidance on New HUBZone Rules

Can a business seeking HUBZone status give employees bonuses or higher wages to entice them to live in a HUBZone?

According to new guidance published by the U.S. Small Business Administration, yes. But that’s not the only question addressed in the guidance.

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