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Contractor Self-Disclosure FAQ

What is the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)?

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) consists of uniform policies and procedures that govern the acquisition process of Federal agencies.

The FAR is codified in Title 48 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The FAR has the full force and effect of law. Some agencies have issued supplements to the FAR, which contain agency-specific regulations governing the implementation of the FAR for purposes of that agency's contracts. HHS has issued a supplement to the FAR (HHS Acquisition Regulation (HHSAR)); it is codified at 48 CFR Parts 301-370.

Why do I have to make a contractor self-disclosure under the FAR rule?

The mandatory disclosure rule requires Federal contractors to disclose in writing situations for which they have credible evidence of a potential violation of the civil False Claims Act or Federal criminal law involving fraud, conflict of interest, bribery, or gratuity. The FAR requires that the contractor make disclosures to the respective OIG for the agency or Department that was party to the contract or order. In addition, contractors are also required to disclose credible evidence of "significant overpayments."

The FAR has the full force and effect of law. Failure to timely report credible evidence of significant overpayments is cause to suspend or debar the contractor.

What is the citation for the FAR contractor self-disclosure rule ("the rule")?

FAR Clause 52.203-13 ("the rule"), 48 CFR §52.203-13.

How can I submit a contractor self-disclosure?

You may submit self-disclosures in several different ways; however, submissions must be in writing. You may download the disclosure form, and either email, mail, or hand-deliver the disclosure. You are not required to use the disclosure form, but you must include all information requested by the form in whatever manner you submit the disclosure.

Where do I mail or hand-deliver a contractor self-disclosure?

The address for contractor self-disclosures delivery is:

Office of Inspector General
ATTN: Contractor Self-Disclosure, Intake Coordinator
Department of Health and Human Services
330 Independence Avenue, SW, Cohen Building
Room 5527
Washington, DC 20201

Where can I email a contractor self-disclosure?

The email address for contractor self-disclosure submissions is: ContractorDisclosures@oig.hhs.gov

How many supporting documents can I attach to an email submission?

There is no limit on supporting documents. However, the entire submission can be only 10 megabytes or under. Otherwise, it will not be processed by the system. OIG recommends that if the submission is over 10 megabytes, you submit the disclosure in hard copy format.

May I mail in a CD with my contractor self-disclosure that contains scanned copies of any supporting documents?

Yes. OIG requests that these CDs allow word searches of the scanned documents.

Where can I fax a contractor self-disclosure?

The fax number for contractor self-disclosure submissions is: (202) 205-0604

In addition to including your name and contact information, please include the following information on the fax cover sheet:

Office of Inspector General
ATTN: Contractor Self-Disclosure, Intake Coordinator
Department of Health and Human Services
330 Independence Avenue, SW, Cohen Building
Room 5527
Washington, DC 20201

Is there a page limit on faxed disclosures?

Yes. If the contractor self-disclosure (and any supporting documentation) is over 15 pages long, please mail, hand-deliver, or email the disclosure.

Can I call the OIG Hotline and make a disclosure over the phone?

No. The rule requires disclosures to be made in writing. All OIG Hotline callers attempting to self-disclose will be directed by the operator to make the disclosure in writing.

What if my contractor self-disclosure is not made in writing?

If a disclosure is not made in writing, it will not proceed in the resolution process. OIG will not accept in-person/unwritten disclosures made via telephone or through the OIG Hotline.

I am an employee of a Government contractor. Can I make a contractor self-disclosure regarding my employer?

Yes. Under the rule, the definition of "contractor" is broad and includes agents of the contractor. (FAR 9.403) Any individual, including a director, an officer, an employee, or an independent contractor, authorized to act on behalf of the contractor can make a contractor self-disclosure. Agents may include partners, consultants, or attorneys. If someone other than a senior company official signs the contractor self-disclosure, OIG will verify the authorization of the individual making the self-disclosure. If you are not authorized to make a disclosure on behalf of the contractor, your disclosure will be treated as a tip.

I am a partner in a Government contracting firm. Can I make a contractor self-disclosure regarding one or more of my business partners?

Yes. Any individual, including a director, an officer, an employee, or an independent contractor, authorized to act on behalf of the contractor, can make contractor self-disclosures. Agents may include partners, consultants, or attorneys. If someone other than a senior company official signs the contractor self-disclosure, OIG will verify the authorization of the individual making the self-disclosure. If you are not authorized to make a disclosure on behalf of the contractor, your disclosure will be treated as a tip.

How do I know if I have "credible evidence" sufficient to make a contractor self-disclosure?

The term "credible evidence" is not defined by the rule. However, in the "Discussion and Analysis" section of the rule, the FAR Council states that the term "credible evidence" specifies a higher standard than "reasonable grounds to believe," "implying that the contractor will have the opportunity to take some time for preliminary examination of the evidence to determine its credibility before deciding to disclose to the Government."

OIG will not provide additional guidance to contractors regarding what is considered acceptable credible evidence. Contractors will be responsible for determining whether credible evidence exists and whether a disclosure under the rule is warranted.

To be considered "timely" under the rule, when should I make a contractor self-disclosure?

What constitutes a timely disclosure is not defined by the rule. Ultimately, what constitutes timely disclosure will be determined by the Suspension and Debarment Official (SDO). Contractors are responsible for determining when to make a contractor self-disclosure. While OIG cannot offer a specific timeline for what constitutes a timely disclosure, OIG encourages contractors to make disclosures quickly after identifying behavior that should be disclosed. OIG would anticipate a reasonable period of time will be necessary to conduct internal investigations to verify and quantify the disclosure.

What happens if I do not "timely" make a contractor self-disclosure?

Failure to timely disclose is a cause to suspend or debar the contractor. The decision whether to suspend or debar a contractor on the basis of the timeliness of a self-disclosure ultimately rests with the HHS Suspension and Debarment Official SDO.

Can I submit a contractor self-disclosure to my HHS Contracting Officer?

Under the rule, contractors must submit the disclosure in writing directly to the OIG. However, if you submit a self-disclosure to your HHS Contracting Officer, the disclosure will be forwarded to OIG.

Are there other Federal regulations governing HHS contractor self-disclosures?

Yes, in addition to the main rule, FAR Clauses 52.203-13 ("the rule"), 48 CFR §52.203-13, the other regulations include:

  • FAR Part 9.406-2 and 9.407-2, 48 CFR § 9.406-2 and 9.407-2: Establishes additional grounds for suspension and debarment of contractors for knowing failure to timely disclose such violations or knowing failure to timely disclose significant overpayments.
  • HHSAR 3.1003, 48 CFR § 303.1003: Requires that the relevant Contracting Officer, when notified of a possible contractor violation of federal criminal law, in accordance with FAR 3.1003(b), will: (1) notify OIG; (2) notify the Heads of Contracting Activity (HCAs); and (3) cooperate with any investigation by OIG and, in coordination with the HCAs, OIG, the HHS Office of the General Counsel and the affected program office, pursue appropriate remedies.

What does OIG consider a proper contractor self-disclosure under the rule?

A timely, written statement to OIG by the contractor or the authorized agent of the contractor, with a copy to the relevant HHS Contracting Officer, which discloses credible evidence of violations of:

  • Federal criminal law involving fraud, conflict of interest, bribery, or gratuity violations found in Title 18 of the United States Code or a violation of the Anti-Kickback Act of 1986, 41 U.S.C. § 51-58, or
  • a violation of the civil False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. 3729-3733).

The downloadable submission form is available. It details all the information necessary for a complete contractor self-disclosure submission.

Are contractor self-disclosures voluntary or mandatory?

Contractor self-disclosures are mandatory. Under the rule, Federal contractors must disclose situations for which they have credible evidence of a potential violation of the civil False Claims Act or Federal criminal law involving fraud, conflict of interest, bribery, or gratuity. In addition, contractors are also required to disclose credible evidence of significant overpayments.

How will I know if OIG received my contractor self-disclosure?

You will be sent an initial intake letter once OIG receives your self-disclosure. If your disclosure does not contain all needed information, the letter will also request that you provide additional information.

I would like to include a check with my contractor self-disclosure to repay the Government for inappropriate charges to the contract that we have identified. May I do so?

No, do not send a check with your contractor self-disclosure.

I sent a check to my HHS Contracting Officer and it was cashed. Am I relieved of all wrongdoing?

No. The acceptance of the check does not mean that you have satisfied any debt or wrongdoing against the Federal Government.

I made a proper and complete contractor self-disclosure to OIG. Does this mean I am no longer subject to a possible suspension or debarment?

No. You still may be suspended or debarred following your contractor self-disclosure, but the disclosure may be considered a mitigating factor regarding whether OIG will refer you to the HHS Suspension and Debarment Official SDO. However, please note that if you do not timely disclose under the rule, that is cause to suspend or debar.

Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services | 330 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20201