An SBA Offer in Compromise with a “going concern” business is extremely rare and generally the SBA does will not consider this unless settlement arrangements have been made with all other creditors and the business must show it will not be able to operate under its current debt structure.
Yes. The Agency Practice Act (5 U.S. Code Section 500 et seq.) specifically authorizes attorneys in good standing of the bar of the highest court of their State to represent you before the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Bureau of Fiscal Service. However, if you decide to hire a non-attorney firm or consultant to handle your SBA matter before the aforesaid federal agencies, be advised that this non-attorney firm or consultant are in violation of the Federal Agency Practice Act, and cannot advise you on any legal issues. The problem we have with non-attorney representation for SBA matters in this industry is that we do not believe these non-attorneys have the legal authorization and ability to advise or counsel you on any interpretation of SBA administrative law (such as the SBA’s SOPs, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs), SBA OHA decisions, bankruptcy issues, federal/state statutory law or federal case law). In addition, many of these non-attorney representatives are neither affiliate members of NADCO, NAGGL (SBA trade associations) nor authorized to practice before the Department of Treasury pursuant to the Agency Practice Act and Circular 230. Finally, in the event that you need to appeal your case to the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals in connection with your SBA debt or any adverse decision that may be considered an abuse of discretion, the non-attorney representatives will NOT be able to cite to legal precedent or argue applicable law before the SBA’s Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) as any attempt on their part would arguably be the unauthorized practice of law, and would be useless since these non-attorneys wouldn’t have any clue as to how to proceed with representing your interests in this special forum as these individuals do not have the education, training or experience to administratively litigate your case and protect your interests.
SOP 50 51 2A, Ch. 17, 8-12 states that “[a]ny settlement amount must bear a reasonable relationship to the present value of the estimated amount of recovery available through foreclosure (using a forced sale equivalent value) and enforced collection. This value, combined with the earning potential of the debtor, will form the basis for the offer in compromise.“ Litigative risks” involve answering certain legal questions as to the actual liability of the debtor and will be thoroughly explored by the SBA, if raised properly. The degree of doubt coupled with the potential costs, expenses and time involved in pursuing collection matters will generally determine the acceptable amount for a settlement. Thus, when considering an SBA OIC, it is very important for your qualified representative (who should have a background in litigation and thus be an attorney and have a working knowledge of SBA matters) to be able to advise SBA debtors regarding litigative risks and the costs associated with litigation and how all of these factors can impact the proposed offer to the Federal Government.
A charge off is justified when the SBA has complied with all requirements of collection and liquidation and further collection of any substantial portion of the debt is doubtful. The determination to justify a charge off may be based on one or more of the following:a) All efforts must have been exhausted in cost-effective recovery from:1. Voluntary payments from the borrower;2. Liquidation of collateral;3. Compromise with obligor leaving only a deficiency balance; and4. Consideration has been given to any legal remedies available so that no further reasonable expectation of recovery remains.b) Estimated costs of future collection exceed any anticipated recovery;c) Obligor cannot be located or is judgment proof;d) The Lender/SBA’s rights have expired (e.g., statute of limitations, restrictions of State law, SBA policy);e) Debt is legally without merit;f) Adjudication of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy as a no asset case, or completion of Chap 11/13 case;g) The inability of the Lender to effect further worthwhile recovery.
An SBA Offer in Compromise is generally on out-of-court work out option for a business which probably needs to shut down and there is no reasonable turnaround plan that can be executed to resurrect it from its current financial quandary. Furthermore, this remedial option is best utilized when it is apparent that the business’s pledged collateral is insufficient to pay off the outstanding loan balance and the personal guarantees of the owners are at stake.