Nonprofit Parent Companies do not Automatically Cause Affiliation for SBA Size Determinations

The Office of Hearings and Appeals, more commonly referred to as OHA, is tasked with deciding size determination appeals that arise under the Small Business Act of 1958, as well as 13 C.F.R. parts 121 and 134. When an unsuccessful offeror raises a question, via a size protest, regarding an Awardee’s size under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code on any given solicitation, the SBA Area Office will review the protest and issue a size determination. Then, a losing party can appeal the size determination to OHA.

Affiliation is a common topic that OHA addresses. In a recent decision, OHA looked at the question of how nonprofits fit into the affiliation rules. Since a small business has to be a for-profit entity, can a small business be affiliated with a nonprofit parent company?

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OHA to Area Office: Prime-Subcontractor Teams are Different than Joint Ventures for Size Purposes

The ostensible subcontractor rule says that, for a small business or socioeconomic set-aside such as 8(a), the small business prime contractor must perform the primary and vital parts of the contract and can’t be unduly reliant on a subcontractor. If the small business is found to violate the rule, the size of the small prime contractor and the large subcontractor are grouped for size purposes, which can result in loss of award. But the ostensible subcontractor rule is different from SBA’s joint venture rules, because SBA rules (and other federal law) distinguish between a prime-sub team and a joint venture. In a recent decision, OHA reversed a determination that a small business prime was affiliated with a subcontractor where the Area Office mixed up the analysis of the ostensible subcontractor rule and the joint venture rules.

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OHA: CVE Appeals Go Directly to Us, Not CVE

OHA recently confirmed it lacked jurisdiction over a CVE appeal mistakenly filed with CVE, not OHA, by the deadline. You might be thinking: “Oh come on, the CVE appeal was filed with CVE on time!” But OHA’s strict timeliness rules make no exception for any such mistakes in the CVE appeal process. In fact, OHA disclaims the authority to even consider a late appeal, regardless of whether or not it was timely (but improperly) filed with CVE itself.

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OHA: Multiple Service-Disabled Veterans Control Company, Despite Internal Dispute

Control over a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business can be held by multiple service-disabled veterans. Having control reside in multiple individuals can make things a little more complicated, though. SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals recently examined a situation where multiple service-disabled veterans shared control of a company, but did not have a united front when responding to information requests concerning a company’s eligibility.

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VA CVE Verification Appeals Must be Filed at SBA, Not VA

If the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation denies a company’s application for verification as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, the applicant has the right to appeal–but the appeal must be filed with the SBA, not the VA.

In a recent case, an applicant tried to appeal its denial to the VA, apparently based on the erroneous advice of a VA employee. By the time the applicant realized that it had appealed to the wrong agency, it was too late.

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Don’t Forget the Attachments: A Quick Reminder from SBA’s OHA

Did you remember to staple the cover sheet to your TPS report? And, more importantly, if you recently filed a CVE Appeal with the Small Business Administration’s Office of Hearings and Appeals, did you remember to attach a copy of your CVE denial or cancellation?

In OHA’s recent, and very short, decision, Joy Corporation, SBA No. CVE-155-A (Aug. 13, 2020), it reminded appellants that failure to do so will result in almost instant dismissal. To ensure you avoid this fate, read on.

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Reminder: Joint Venture Agreements Must Include Required Provisions

It’s no secret that federal contract opportunities are becoming more and more competitive. But as we’ve previously gushed, small businesses enjoy a tremendous tool for enhancing their competitiveness: participating in a joint venture with another company.

Properly formed, a joint venture allows its participants to augment their capabilities and experiences in the quest to win (and successfully perform) a particular opportunity. But there’s the trick—to enjoy the benefits of a joint venture, that joint venture must meet various regulatory requirements. One misstep and the joint venture might not be eligible for the award.

A recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision shows the importance of making sure these regulatory requirements are met.

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