21 September 2018
Businesses operate in an environment surrounded by regulations. The regulations or rules a business needs to understand, apply and follow come from all levels of government- federal state and local.
We as small business owners may be left with a feeling of helplessness and frustration as they are applied in a manner we believe to be unfair or excessive in regulatory compliance or enforcement actions (such as repetitive audits or investigations, excessive fines, and retaliation by federal agencies).
Where can you turn? Fortunately at both the federal and state level there are processes in place to assure fairness and to reduce regulatory burden.
At the federal level the National Ombudsman’s mission is to assist small businesses when they experience excessive or unfair federal regulatory enforcement actions, such as repetitive audits or investigations, excessive fines, penalties, threats, retaliation or other unfair enforcement action by a federal agency.
The National Ombudsman works with each federal agency with regulatory authority over small businesses to ensure that small businesses are provided a means to comment on the federal agency’s regulatory compliance and enforcement activities; receives comments from small businesses regarding actions by federal agency employees conducting small business regulatory compliance or enforcement activities; refers comments to the affected federal agency’s inspector general in appropriate circumstances while maintaining the confidentiality of the person or small business making these comments; and issues an annual report to Congress and affected federal agencies evaluating the agency’s compliance and enforcement activities.
The process is designed to provide a means to be heard, receive a timely response and fair consideration in a timely confidential manner. Visit www.sba.gov/ombudsman or call 888-734-3247 to learn more or file a comment or complaint.
The State of Wisconsin has a similar program in place through the Department of Administration Office of Business Development and its Small Business Regulatory Review Board. For more information visit https://doa.wi.gov/Pages/DoingBusiness/OfficeOfBusinessDevelopment.aspx.