On April 13, 2018, The Department of Defense (DoD) issued Class Deviation 2018-O00013, which consolidates and supersedes two prior class deviations that increased the micro-purchase and simplified acquisition thresholds and expanded non-statutory emergency acquisition flexibilities. The new Class Deviation also changes the thresholds for set-asides for small business in the Small Business Act from specified dollar amounts to the terms “micro-purchase threshold” and “simplified acquisition threshold.”

This new update provides a reminder that determining the micro-purchase threshold and simplified acquisition threshold is not always simple. For example, while the new Class Deviation provides that the micro-purchase threshold for DoD is $5,000, it then lists a number of exceptions. Two exceptions relate to specific wage rates and provide a lower micro-purchase threshold, while the remaining four increase the micro-purchase threshold. One deviation even provides a high level of flexibility by setting the threshold for higher education or research institutions at $10,000 or “[a] higher threshold, as determined appropriate by the head of the agency.” Similarly, the simplified acquisition threshold is set at $250,000, but subject to several exceptions. At least for the simplified acquisition threshold, all exceptions increase the threshold.

With the deviations to the small business sections of the regulations to remove references to specific dollar amounts and use the generic terms “micro-purchase threshold” and “simplified acquisition threshold” it is even more important to understand the maze of exceptions to the two thresholds. It is also important to keep up-to-date with the civilian agencies who were encouraged in a Feb. 16, 2018 letter from GSA to increase their thresholds through class deviations before the FAR is amended to implement the 2018 NDAA increases.