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Office of the National Ombudsman Article

Agency Guidelines

Agencies must establish a policy for the reduction, and under certain circumstances, the waiver of civil penalties for violation of a statutory or regulatory requirement. Agencies may consider ability to pay in determining penalty assessments. Policies or programs should contain the following conditions:

  • Require the correction of a violation within a reasonable time;

  • Limit the applicability of violations discovered through small business participation in a compliance assistance or audit program; and

  • Require a good faith effort to comply with the law.

The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA) makes certain that small businesses have a voice that will be heard by federal agencies as they go through the rule-making process. It also gives small businesses expanded opportunities to challenge an agency's final regulatory decision.

While the infringement or violation of your rights may be investigated by the National Ombudsman, filing a comment with this office does not suspend, cancel, modify, or replace any legal proceedings or required regulatory necessities that an agency may require. You should always continue to pursue any and all legal options you believe are in the best interests of your small business, non-profit organization, or small government entity.