Contracting and tax accountability: ensuring a level playing field
Rendon, Juanita M.
Rendon, Rene G.
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On January 15, 2009, the Contracting and Accountability Act of 2009 was introduced in the House of Representatives (H.R. 572) and the Senate (S. 265). The purpose of this bill is to prohibit the awarding of a contract or grant in excess of the simplfied acquisition threshold unless the prospective contractor or grantee certifies in writing to the agency awarding the contract or grant that the contractor or grantee has no seriously delinquent tax debts, and for other purposes. The introduction of this act reflects the federal government's new focus on contractor accountability, as well as a much needed collaboration effort between the U.S. Department of the Treasury and federal agency contracting offices. The purpose of this article is to discuss the need for the Contracting and Tax Accountability Act in the federal contracting process, the act's role in ensuring a level playing field among prospective contractors in competing for federal contracts, and its role in maintaining the integrity of the federal contracting process. The FAR states that no contract award shall be made unless the contracting officer makes an affirmative determination of the contractor's responsibility. Additionally, the FAR prescribes policies, standards and procedures pertaining to a prospective contractor's responsibility. The FAR states that, in order to be classifed as a "responsibile prospective contractor," a contractor must: have adepquate financial resources to perform the contract or the ability to obtain them, be able to comply with the required delivery or performance schedule, taking into consideration all existing commercial and governmental business committments, have a satisfactory performance record, have a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics.
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