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 for small businesses. 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 regulatory compliance and enforcement process. It also gives small businesses expanded rights for high-level, objective review of an agency's regulatory decisions.
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 or administrative process or other mandates for formal review that an agency may require. You should always continue to pursue any and all rights under legal and adminstrative agency proceedings you believe are in the best interests of your small business, non-profit organization, or small government entity.