(a) Defined. A small business status advisory opinion is a written opinion issued by either a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) operating under part 130 of this chapter or a Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) operating under 10 U.S.C. chapter 142 which concludes that a firm is entitled to represent itself as a small business concern for purposes of federal government procurement opportunities.
(b) Submission. An SBDC or PTAC must submit a copy of each small business status advisory opinion it issues to the following Agency official for review: Associate General Counsel, Office of Procurement Law, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street SW., Washington, DC 20416 or by fax to (202) 205-6390 marked Attn: Small Business Status Advisory Opinion. A small business status advisory opinion must:
(1) Provide a written analysis explaining the reasoning underlying the SBDC or PTAC's determination that the covered concern, along with its affiliates, either does or does not exceed the size standard(s). This analysis must be dated and signed by an SBDC or PTAC business counselor or similarly qualified individual.
(2) Include, as an attachment, a completed copy of an SBA Form 355 for the covered concern and its affiliates.
(c) Review. Unless a referral is made under paragraph (e) of this section, SBA will decide within 10 business days of receiving a small business status advisory opinion to accept or reject it based on its consistency with part 121. SBA will provide written notification of that decision to the SBDC or PTAC that issued the small business status advisory opinion as well as to the covered concern.
(d) Reliance. A concern that receives a small business status advisory opinion holding that it does not exceed the applicable size standard(s) may rely upon that determination for purposes of responding to Federal procurement opportunities from the date it is issued unless and until that advisory opinion is rejected by SBA in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section or the concern undergoes a significant change in its ownership, management, or other factors bearing on its status as a small business concern. However, the firm's size may be protested by interested parties in connection with a specific procurement.
(e) Referral for size determination. Nothing in this section precludes the Associate General Counsel, Office of Procurement Law from requesting a formal size determination for a concern that is the subject of a small business status advisory opinion pursuant to § 121.1001(b)(9).
(f) Penalties for misrepresentation -
(1) Suspension or debarment. The SBA suspension and debarment official may suspend or debar a person or concern for misrepresenting a concern's size for purposes of obtaining a small business size status advisory opinion pursuant to the procedures set forth in 48 CFR subpart 9.4.
(2) Civil penalties. Persons or concerns are subject to severe penalties under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, and under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, 331 U.S.C. 3801-3812, and any other applicable laws.
(3) Criminal Penalties. Persons or concerns are subject to severe criminal penalties for knowingly misrepresenting the small business size status of a concern in connection with procurement programs pursuant to section 16(d) of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 645(d), as amended, 18 U.S.C. 1001, 18 U.S.C. 287, and any other applicable laws. Persons or concerns are subject to criminal penalties for knowingly making false statements or misrepresentations for the purpose of influencing any actions of SBA pursuant to section 16(a) of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 645(a), as amended, including failure to correct “continuing representations” that are no longer true.
[80 FR 7536, Feb. 11, 2015]