(a) Presumption of disadvantage.
(1) You must rebuttably presume that citizens of the United States (or lawfully admitted permanent residents) who are women, Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian Americans, or other minorities found to be disadvantaged by the SBA, are socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. You must require applicants to submit a signed, notarized certification that each presumptively disadvantaged owner is, in fact, socially and economically disadvantaged.
(i) You must require each individual owner of a firm applying to participate as a DBE, whose ownership and control are relied upon for DBE certification, to certify that he or she has a personal net worth that does not exceed $1.32 million.
(ii) You must require each individual who makes this certification to support it with a signed, notarized statement of personal net worth, with appropriate supporting documentation. To meet this requirement, you must use the DOT personal net worth form provided in appendix G to this part without change or revision. Where necessary to accurately determine an individual's personal net worth, you may, on a case-by-case basis, require additional financial information from the owner of an applicant firm (e.g., information concerning the assets of the owner's spouse, where needed to clarify whether assets have been transferred to the spouse or when the owner's spouse is involved in the operation of the company). Requests for additional information shall not be unduly burdensome or intrusive.
(iii) In determining an individual's net worth, you must observe the following requirements:
(A) Exclude an individual's ownership interest in the applicant firm;
(B) Exclude the individual's equity in his or her primary residence (except any portion of such equity that is attributable to excessive withdrawals from the applicant firm). The equity is the market value of the residence less any mortgages and home equity loan balances. Recipients must ensure that home equity loan balances are included in the equity calculation and not as a separate liability on the individual's personal net worth form. Exclusions for net worth purposes are not exclusions for asset valuation or access to capital and credit purposes.
(C) Do not use a contingent liability to reduce an individual's net worth.
(D) With respect to assets held in vested pension plans, Individual Retirement Accounts, 401(k) accounts, or other retirement savings or investment programs in which the assets cannot be distributed to the individual at the present time without significant adverse tax or interest consequences, include only the present value of such assets, less the tax and interest penalties that would accrue if the asset were distributed at the present time.
(iv) Notwithstanding any provision of Federal or State law, you must not release an individual's personal net worth statement nor any documents pertaining to it to any third party without the written consent of the submitter. Provided, that you must transmit this information to DOT in any certification appeal proceeding under § 26.89 of this part or to any other State to which the individual's firm has applied for certification under § 26.85 of this part.
(b) Rebuttal of presumption of disadvantage.
(1) An individual's presumption of economic disadvantage may be rebutted in two ways.
(i) If the statement of personal net worth and supporting documentation that an individual submits under paragraph (a)(2) of this section shows that the individual's personal net worth exceeds $1.32 million, the individual's presumption of economic disadvantage is rebutted. You are not required to have a proceeding under paragraph (b)(2) of this section in order to rebut the presumption of economic disadvantage in this case.
An individual with very high assets and significant liabilities may, in accounting terms, have a PNW of less than $1.32 million. However, the person's assets collectively (e.g., high income level, a very expensive house, a yacht, extensive real or personal property holdings) may lead a reasonable person to conclude that he or she is not economically disadvantaged. The recipient may rebut the individual's presumption of economic disadvantage under these circumstances, as provided in this section, even though the individual's PNW is less than $1.32 million.
(A) If the statement of personal net worth and supporting documentation that an individual submits under paragraph (a)(2) of this section demonstrates that the individual is able to accumulate substantial wealth, the individual's presumption of economic disadvantage is rebutted. In making this determination, as a certifying agency, you may consider factors that include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) Whether the average adjusted gross income of the owner over the most recent three year period exceeds $350,000;
(2) Whether the income was unusual and not likely to occur in the future;
(3) Whether the earnings were offset by losses;
(4) Whether the income was reinvested in the firm or used to pay taxes arising in the normal course of operations by the firm;
(5) Other evidence that income is not indicative of lack of economic disadvantage; and
(6) Whether the total fair market value of the owner's assets exceed $6 million.
(B) You must have a proceeding under paragraph (b)(2) of this section in order to rebut the presumption of economic disadvantage in this case.
(2) If you have a reasonable basis to believe that an individual who is a member of one of the designated groups is not, in fact, socially and/or economically disadvantaged you may, at any time, start a proceeding to determine whether the presumption should be regarded as rebutted with respect to that individual. Your proceeding must follow the procedures of § 26.87.
(3) In such a proceeding, you have the burden of demonstrating, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the individual is not socially and economically disadvantaged. You may require the individual to produce information relevant to the determination of his or her disadvantage.
(4) When an individual's presumption of social and/or economic disadvantage has been rebutted, his or her ownership and control of the firm in question cannot be used for purposes of DBE eligibility under this subpart unless and until he or she makes an individual showing of social and/or economic disadvantage. If the basis for rebutting the presumption is a determination that the individual's personal net worth exceeds $1.32 million, the individual is no longer eligible for participation in the program and cannot regain eligibility by making an individual showing of disadvantage, so long as his or her PNW remains above that amount.
(c) Transfers within two years.
(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, recipients must attribute to an individual claiming disadvantaged status any assets which that individual has transferred to an immediate family member, to a trust a beneficiary of which is an immediate family member, or to the applicant firm for less than fair market value, within two years prior to a concern's application for participation in the DBE program or within two years of recipient's review of the firm's annual affidavit, unless the individual claiming disadvantaged status can demonstrate that the transfer is to or on behalf of an immediate family member for that individual's education, medical expenses, or some other form of essential support.
(2) Recipients must not attribute to an individual claiming disadvantaged status any assets transferred by that individual to an immediate family member that are consistent with the customary recognition of special occasions, such as birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and retirements.
(d) Individual determinations of social and economic disadvantage. Firms owned and controlled by individuals who are not presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged (including individuals whose presumed disadvantage has been rebutted) may apply for DBE certification. You must make a case-by-case determination of whether each individual whose ownership and control are relied upon for DBE certification is socially and economically disadvantaged. In such a proceeding, the applicant firm has the burden of demonstrating to you, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the individuals who own and control it are socially and economically disadvantaged. An individual whose personal net worth exceeds $1.32 million shall not be deemed to be economically disadvantaged. In making these determinations, use the guidance found in Appendix E of this part. You must require that applicants provide sufficient information to permit determinations under the guidance of appendix E of this part.
[79 FR 59596, Oct. 2, 2014]