Beginning on October 26, 2018, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) will require most federal contractors to be registered and designated as “active” in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to their submission of an offer or quote to the Government. The only contractors that will not have to abide by this requirement are those that are already exempted from registration by FAR 4.1102, which identifies seven exemptions.

The update is the result of a Final Rule issued by the Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on September 26, 2018. The rule is intended to clarify the tension between the System for Award Management clause, FAR 52.204-7, which along with the associated Policy section in FAR 4.1102 mandated registration at the time of award. This was contrary to the Annual Representation and Certifications clause, FAR 52.204-8, that already required registration at the time of the offer. FAR 52.204-7 and FAR 4.1102 will be revised accordingly.

In a little-noticed caveat, the Rule also notes that to keep an account from becoming inactive, contractors will now have to log in to SAM at least once every 13 months. For that reason, federal contractors should make sure to log in to the system at least once during that period, even if their information has not changed.

Contractors would also benefit from keeping an eye out for their competitors’ and their own compliance with these requirements for the purposes of a protest.

You may want to consider contacting counsel for assistance with completing and updating your registration in SAM or handling a protest.