the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

The Federal Government pays more than half a trillion dollars a year to contractors and has an important obligation to protect American taxpayer money and the integrity of the Federal acquisition process.  Yet reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) state that Federal contracts are awarded to tens of thousands of companies with serious tax delinquencies.  The total amount in unpaid taxes owed by these contracting companies is estimated to be more than $5 billion.

Too often, Federal contracting officials do not have the most basic information they need to make informed judgments about whether a company trying to win a Federal contract is delinquent in paying its taxes.  We need to give our contracting officials the tools they need to protect taxpayer dollars.

Accordingly, I hereby direct the Commissioner of Internal Revenue (Commissioner) to conduct a review of certifications of non-delinquency in taxes that companies bidding for Federal contracts are required to submit pursuant to a 2008 amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation.  I further direct that the Commissioner report to me within 90 days on the overall accuracy of contractors' certifications.

I also direct the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, working with the Secretary of the Treasury and other agency heads, to evaluate practices of contracting officers and debarring officials in response to contractors' certifications of serious tax delinquencies and to provide me, within 90 days, recommendations on process improvements to ensure these contractors are not awarded new contracts, including a plan to make contractor certifications available in a Government-wide database, as is already being done with other information on contractors.

Executive departments and agencies shall carry out the provisions of this memorandum to the extent permitted by law.  This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

The Director of the Office of Management and Budget is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.