Top Reasons Why SBA Returns & Declines an 8(a) Application
How to Apply for the 8(a) Business Development Program
The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Business Development Program has been designed to help socially disadvantaged individuals develop businesses and compete in the marketplace. The application process is lengthy. You will need to gather a large number of documents related to the finances of the business and the disadvantaged individuals who own and manage the business. You can then either complete a paper application or fill out forms online. Free assistance is available from an SBA office or SBA-approved resource center near you.
Gathering Required Documents
Watch an online program module.SBA publishes an online module, “Pre 8(a) Business Development Program Module 1—Setting Expectations.” You should watch this video, as it will help you understand whether the 8(a) program is right for you and your business. The module is available at . There is also a PDF workbook you can download, which contains the same information.
- This module will also discuss eligibility requirements. You should pay particular attention to see if you qualify for the 8(a) Business Development Program, which is limited to those who have experienced social and economic disadvantage.
Get required tax documents.You will need many documents before sitting down to complete your application to the Business Development Program. For example, you will need the following tax forms:
- your business’s signed and dated federal tax returns for the past three years
- your personal signed and dated federal tax returns for the past three years
- personal signed and dated federal tax returns for the past three years for anyone who has a key position in the firm or who owns at least 10%
Gather your business’s financial records.You also need detailed financial information about your business. Be sure to get the following information before sitting down to the complete the application:
- your firm’s financial statements for the past three years
- your firm’s profit and loss statements for the past three years, including the current year
- your firm’s balance sheet for the past three years, including the current year
- documented proof of any asset transfer to or from the firm
- documented proof of any asset transfer to or from any of the firm’s owners (past two years)
- signature cards for the firm’s bank accounts
Pull together documents if your firm is under two years old.You can apply for a waiver if your firm is less than two years old (provided it has generated revenue). However, in order to get a waiver, you will need to present certain information, such as the following:
- documented significant business management experience
- demonstrated technical expertise
- sufficient capital to fund the business
- documented successful performance on contracts, such as letters of reference from clients as well as copies of contracts
- proven ability to obtain sufficient equipment, personnel, facilities, and other resources to complete contracts
Obtain copies of your state filings.Make sure to have copies of all state filings which are signed and dated. They should also be stamped by the state. In particular, look for the following:
- certificates of good standing
- foreign corporation filings
- articles of incorporation and/or articles of organization
- doing business as (“DBA”) filings
Get copies of governing documents.You will also need the following governing documents, which should have been signed by the firm’s principals. Make sure they are official documents, with the state signature and seals on them:
- bylaws, partnership agreements or operating agreements
- stock certificates and ledgers
- meeting minutes
Find copies of business contracts.You will also need copies of business contracts or information about contracts. You should gather the following before starting your application:
- a list of all contracts (federal, non-federal, and private sector) over the past two years
- lease agreements
Collect background information for all principals.Your business’s principals will need to provide certain personal and background information. Principals include officers, directors, members, partners, key employees, and anyone who owns more than 10% of the business. They should gather this information ahead of time:
- a statement of history form
- proof of U.S. citizenship or naturalization
- a description of duties performed in the business and the amount of time devoted to each
- a list of any other business interests and time devoted to each
- description of the nature of outside employment and the time devoted to each
Obtain proof of social disadvantage.Because the 8(a) program is limited to those who have been socially disadvantaged, you may need to obtain proof that the majority owners and firm managers are disadvantaged.The proof will depend on the circumstances.
- If you belong to a certain ethnic group, such as Hispanic Americans or Black Americans, it is enough if you hold yourself out as a member of the group and others identify you as a member of the group.
- However, you can also be considered “disadvantaged” in other situations, depending on your physical handicap, race, ethnic origin, gender, or long-term residence in an isolated area. You should get documentary proof of those circumstances.
Gather proof of economic disadvantage.In addition to proving that majority owners/firm managers are socially disadvantaged, you must show they are economically disadvantaged as well.You should find the following documents, which you will need to submit as part of the application process:
- proof of all income for the past three years, which cannot exceed 0,000 on average
- proof of assets, which cannot exceed million
- proof of liabilities, which will bring your adjusted net worth below 0,000
Completing an Application
Obtain a Dunn and Bradstreet number.You can get this number free of charge by calling 1-866-705-5711. This is a unique, nine-digit identification number. It is required when registering with the federal government.
- You can also get a DUNS number online at .
Check that you have a Tax Identification Number (TIN).You probably already obtained this number before opening your business. However, if you don’t yet have the number, then you should get it from the IRS.
- You can also use an Employer Identification Number (EIN) instead.
Download an application.You can download the required forms and complete them using a typewriter, if you want. An application available for download is available at .
- Alternately, you can complete the forms online.
Create a profile.To complete the forms online, you must create a profile in the government’s System for Award Management (SAM). You should visit the website at SAM.gov. Click “Create User Account” and then fill in the required fields.
- You might encounter problems with your EIN/TIN mismatching in the SAM system. If so, you should call the IRS at 1-866-255-0654 and select Option 4.
- Your Social Security Number might also mismatch. If so, you can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to correct this issue.
Obtain an SBA General Login System user ID.Visit the system at and then click on “Create New SBA GLS Account” from the left-hand side. You need to create a user ID with the following characteristics:
- your ID must be at least eight characters in length
- your ID must contain three out of the following four: lowercase letter, uppercase letter, number, special character (but not “&”)
Complete your SBA General Login profile.At the same time that you create your user ID, you need to fill out your profile. If you have a question about your profile, email . You should provide the following information:
- your TIN or EIN
- your DUNS number
Change your password.After creating and submitting your profile, you will receive an email from , which should arrive immediately. It will contain your temporary password.
- You have 24 hours to change your temporary password to a permanent one. You should change it as soon as possible.
Start your online application.Return to the SBA General Login system and log in using your user ID and password. You should then select the following options:
- “Electronic 8(a) Certification and Annual Review System (BDMIS)”
- “Download & Print Authorization Form” and then click the “I Have Completed this Step” button
- “Complete Required Application forms”
Complete the forms.You should work through all of the forms, starting with the 1010 Form first. After you complete a form, you must scroll down and select “Update/Complete Form.” You also need to verify whether you have completed each form by clicking on “Verify Completeness.”
- If you forgot information, then the field will be highlighted.
- Always select the “Save” button to save your information for that form.
Be honest when completing forms.If you provide false or misleading information, then you can be barred from participating in the program or potentially prosecuted. Also, you can be dropped from the program at a later date, even if approved.For this reason, always double and triple check your information to make sure it is accurate.
Contact SBA with questions.If you are having a problem completing the forms online, or if you have a question, then you should email will email you in return.
Print your documents.You will know you have completed all required documents when you see a green check beside each form. After completing the forms, select “Return to Overview” and then go to “Assemble Supporting Documentation.”
- Select “Submit On-Line Input.”
- Select “Download, Print and Sign Completed Application.”
Submit documents by mail.Sign all of the forms and gather any necessary supporting documents. Make a complete copy of the entire application packet for your records. Then mail the application to the address provided. If you have questions about where to mail your application, contact .
- After you mail the documents, log back in and select “I have mailed the package.” Your application will be entered into the queue.
Receive a response.When SBA receives your application, it will check it for completeness. Within 15 days, SBA will notify you whether the application is complete or incomplete.If your application is complete, then it will be processed.
- If SBA has questions, they will send them to you. Sometimes questions arise when the information you provide is not supported by the documentation you also sent.
- Once you have a completed application on file, SBA will issue a decision within 90 days.
Ask SBA questions about program requirements.You might not know whether your business qualifies for the Section 8(a) program. If so, you can send emails to .
- If you have general questions about the program, then email .
Visit an SBA office for help.You can also get one-on-one help for free at an SBA office or at a resource partner. Whoever you meet with can help you analyze whether you qualify for the program and help you prepare your application.
- You can find an office nearest you by visiting the SBA website at and entering your zip code.
Avoid firms that charge fees.Many businesses claim that they can help you with the application process, only to charge you a fee. Realize that no firm that charges a fee works on behalf of the SBA.Given the availability of free help, you should avoid paying for assistance.
- Also realize that no firm can guarantee that you will be approved for the program, though they make that claim.
Video: How to apply for 8a certification? 8a certification | 8a certification application
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