Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the IRS Small Business Vendor Community

 

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Doing Business with the IRS

A1.

A2. Before doing business with the IRS, the company must verify it is a small business.

A3.
  • Small businesses may partner with a prime contractor for some federal contracts which require a subcontracting plan of outsourced work. A Contracting Officer may include specific subcontracting goals for the prime contractor to try to meet.
  • In its proposal to a large business, a small business must self-certify as small for the NAICS code on the solicitation. If a small business fails to do this, a subcontract will not count toward small business subcontracting goals.
  • Any large business can publish outreach events, notices of sources sought, and solicitations for subcontracting work to the subcontracting database, in an effort to locate small business subcontractors.
  • The IRS Small Business Program Office conducts and/or participates in outreach events outreach events annually, as well as the Department of the Treasury's Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) to assist transparency and to promote opportunities with small businesses.
    • Matchmaking events
    • Industry days
    • Reverse industry days
  • Vendor can also use the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) to find small businesses.

A4. A company can do business with the IRS through:

  • Partnering
  • Contractor team arrangement (CTA) partnership - not a new company
  • Joint venture (need SBA approval) - new company formed
  • Mentor-protégé (agreement under SBA, prime contractors assist small businesses) 
A5.
A6.
  • In support of the governmentwide category management program and ensuring achievement of category management goals, the Department of the Treasury, including the IRS, utilizes governmentwide acquisition vehicles categorized as Best-in-class (BIC).
  • Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) include the following vehicles:
    • OASIS SB
    • Alliant Small Business and Alliant II Small Business
    • VETS2
    • NITAAC CIO SP3
    • 8(a) STARS II/III (SBA 8(a) vendors)

A7. The BIC acquisition designation identifies government-wide contracts that satisfy key criteria defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). BIC solutions are vetted, well-managed, and recommended — and in some cases required for use. Interagency category teams have worked to designate over 30 Best-in-class contracts to reduce the amount of effort individual buyers spend finding and researching acquisition solutions. Widespread adoption of BIC solutions will:

  • Maximize the government's shared purchasing power, allowing agencies to leverage volume discounts;
  • Help agencies operate more efficiently by reducing administrative costs and contract duplication; and
  • Expand sharing of governmentwide buying data, leading to better-informed business decisions.
  • Acquisition Gateway has additional information.

The IRS Small Business Office

A8. The IRS Small Business Program Office is tasked with the following as required by Public Law 95-507.

  • Assist small businesses including, HUBZone small, small disadvantaged, women-owned small, veteran-owned small, and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, to develop, grow, and ensure their long-term success.
  • Continually foster an environment where small businesses can compete successfully for a fair share of IRS' procurements on their own merits.
  • Assist large businesses to increase subcontracting opportunities for small businesses.

A9. Send the capabilities statement to the Procurement Small Business Program Office at procurement.sbro@irs.gov.

A10. A capabilities statement should include the following:

  • One page, clear and concise
  • Name and company branding
  • Summary Description of the company
  • Core Capabilities
  • Description of major services offered
  • Federal Small Business Certifications
  • Contract Vehicles (Federal and State)
  • Major Clients
  • NAICS codes
  • Partners and authorized resellers
  • Staff clearances and certifications
  • DUNS number, Cage Code
  • Contact information

Guidance and Regulations

A12. Per FAR 14.211, Release of acquisition information:

  • Before solicitation. Information concerning proposed acquisitions shall not be released outside the Government before solicitation except for pre-solicitation notices in accordance with FAR 14.205 or FAR 36.213-2, or long-range acquisition estimates in accordance with FAR 5.404, or synopses in accordance with FAR 5.201. Within the government, such information shall be restricted to those having a legitimate interest. Releases of information shall be made

    See FAR 3.104 regarding requirements for proprietary and source selection information including access to and disclosure thereof.

    • to all prospective bidders, and 
    • as nearly as possible at the same time, so that one prospective bidder shall not be given unfair advantage over another.
       
  • After solicitation. Discussions with a contracting officer regarding a solicitation shall be conducted and technical or other information shall be transmitted only by the contracting officer or superiors having contractual authority or by others specifically authorized. Such personnel shall not furnish any information to a prospective bidder that alone or together with other information may afford an advantage over others. However, general information that would not be prejudicial to other prospective bidders may be furnished upon request; e.g. explanation of a particular contract clause or a particular condition of the schedule in the invitation for bids, and more specific information or clarifications may be furnished by amending the solicitation (see FAR 14.208).
     
  • Additional Resources in FAR 15.306 and FAR 15.307.
  • A tax check is a verification check that the vendor interested in doing business with the IRS is in good standing and has no outstanding tax delinquencies.
  • Note: As of October 19, 2016, all IRS potential contractors/vendors are subject to a tax check to determine eligibility for contract award.
  • Taxpayers identified with an unresolved tax delinquency are not eligible to receive a contract award.

A16. Under certain kinds of set-aside contracts, small business prime contractors are required to perform minimum levels of work per FAR 19.505, Limitations on subcontracting and nonmanufacturer rule.

  • Subcontracting limitations are part of the governing rules and responsibilities that all contractors should be familiar with and vary per type of contract
    • Services at least 50% of the cost incurred for personnel with its own employees
    • Supplies or products at least 50% of the cost of manufacturing the supplies or products (not including cost of materials)
    • General construction 15% of the cost with its own employees
  • The limitations on subcontracting are explained further in 13 CFR 125.6
  • Additional guidance about complying with prime contractor requirements, contact Subcontracting Program Assistance (SPA). Topics include:
    • Prime contracting
    • Subcontracting with small business
    • Awards with subcontracting plans
    • Compliance reviews
    • Subcontractor reporting
    • Subcontracting rules and regulations
    • Training and education

Small Business Categories and Qualifications

A17.
  • A "small business concern" means a concern, including its affiliates, that is independently owned and operated, not dominant in the field of operation in which it is bidding on Government contracts, and qualified as a small business under the criteria and size standards in 13 CFR part 121 (see FAR 19.102).
  • Such a concern is "not dominant in its field of operation" when it does not exercise a controlling or major influence on a national basis in a kind of business activity in which a number of business concerns are primarily engaged.
  • In determining whether dominance exists, consideration must be given to all appropriate factors, including volume of business, number of employees, financial resources, competitive status or position, ownership or control of materials, processes, patents, license agreements, facilities, sales territory, and nature of business activity, see 15 U.S.C. 632.

A18. There are six small business concerns:

  • Small business (SB)
  • Veteran-owned small business (VOSB)
  • Service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB)
  • HUBZone small business (HUBZone)
  • Small disadvantaged business (SDB)
  • Women-owned small business concerns (WOSB/EDWOSB)

A19. To qualify for the HUBZone program (see FAR 19.13), a business must meet all the following criteria:

A20. To qualify for the disabled veterans'  business program, business must meet all the following criteria:

A21. To be eligible for the women's contracting program, business must meet all the following criteria:

A22. To qualify as an economically disadvantaged business within the women's contracting program, business must meet all the following criteria:

  • Meet all the requirements of the women's contracting program.
  • Be owned and controlled by one or more women, each with a personal net worth less than $750,000.
  • Be owned and controlled by one or more women, each with $350,000 or less in adjusted gross income averaged over the previous three years.
  • Be owned and controlled by one or more women, each $6 million or less in personal assets.
  • The economically disadvantaged woman must hold the highest officer position, manage it on a full-time basis, and devote full-time to the business concern during normal working hours.
  • The eligibility requirements to qualify as a WOSB or an EDWOSB are fully defined in Title 13 Part 127 Subpart B of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
  • Obtain a preliminary assessment of whether you qualify at the SBA website.

A23. The federal government's goal is to award at least five percent (5%) of all federal contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses each year. SDBs that have been accepted into the 8(a) program greatly attribute to these goals since 8(a) firms are classified as SDBs. To qualify for the 8(a) program, follow this eligibility checklist:  

  • Vendor must be small business.
  • Not already have participated in the 8(a) program.
  • Be at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are economically and socially disadvantaged.
  • Be owned by someone whose personal net worth is $250,000 or less.
  • Be owned by someone whose average adjusted gross income for three years is $250,000 or less.
  • Be owned by someone with $4 million or less in assets.
  • Have the owner manage day-to-day operations and make long-term decisions.
  • Have all its principals demonstrate good character.
  • Show potential for success and be able to perform successfully on contracts.

A24. The federal government fully defines which companies qualify for the 8(a) program — including what counts as being economically and socially disadvantaged — in Title 13 Part 124 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).  A preliminary assessment of whether a business qualifies or not can be obtained at the SBA Certify website.

  • Vendor must have a profile at SAM.gov before using the certification website. The information needed will vary based on business structure and whether already participating in other SBA programs.
  • After a vendor successfully completes its certification process through certify.SBA.gov, it will update the company business profile at SAM.gov to show contracting officers that the business is in the 8(a) program.
  • The company will receive a letter in the mail informing it of its application approval status. If accepted into the program, the profile in the Dynamic Small Business Search will show approval date and exit date for the program.
  • Certification will last for a maximum of nine years. The company will need to complete annual reviews to maintain good standing in the program.
  • Note: Before participation in the 8(a) business development program, the company must be certified.

Small Business Training

A25. Contact the following for more information about training opportunities to participate in the following programs if applicable: