Regulatory Watch


Government regulations and red tape can be a tremendous barrier to small business growth. Small businesses' regulatory compliance costs are 36 percent higher than large businesses so it is no surprise that regulations consistently rank as a top concern for small business owners. Roughly 3,300 regulations are in the pipeline this year and many of them will affect small businesses. 

Below are regulatory proposals that have been published in the Federal Register and are open for public comment. An agency publishes an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) with a proposed rule if it expects that the rule will have a significant economic impact on substantial number of small businesses. The IRFA provides information about the potential effects of the proposed rule on small businesses.  

Agencies' initial analyses of small business impacts are not always correct or complete, so the Committee on Small Business encourages small businesses to file comments through the government's online portal,, and tell federal agencies how the regulatory proposal will affect them. If you had trouble with an agency or regulation, please feel free to share your story with the Committee.

Regulatory Resources:

The Regulatory Flexibility Act
Regulatory Agenda
Tips for Submitting Effective Comments

Regulations to Watch:

  SEC List of Rules To Be Reviewed Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The SEC has issued a list of 21 rules it will be reviewing that have had or may have had a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small businesses.  The rules to be reviewed include "Disclosure Regarding Market Timing and Selective Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings" and "Investment Adviser Codes of Ethics."  The agency is seeking public comment on whether the rules should be continued without change, or should be amended or rescinded to minimize any significant economic impacts on small businesses. (Published 10-28-2015)


COMMENTS DUE 11-27-2015

Credit for Lower Tier Small Business Subcontracting

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA has issued a proposed rule that would allow an other than small prime contractor to receive credit towards its contractual small business subcontracting goals for subcontract awards made to small businesses by the prime contractor or by an other than small subcontractor at a lower tier. The agency expects that this proposed rule would increase opportunities for small businesses to participate in federal government contracting as subcontractors without imposing any additional costs. (Published 10-5-2015)


COMMENTS DUE 12-7-2015


Hazardous Waste Export-Import Revisions

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA has issued a proposed rule that would amend existing regulations in regarding the export and import of hazardous wastes from and into the United States. This proposed rule would allow for the electronic transmission of import and export submittals to the EPA as well as eliminate some paperwork that was duplicative of or inconsistent with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development-based procedures. The agency has determined that between 30 to 38 percent of the businesses that would be affected are small businesses. (Published 10-20-2015)


COMMENTS DUE 12-20-2015


General Provisions and Non-Federal Oil and Gas Rights
Department of Interior (DOI)

The DOI has issued a proposed rule that would update regulations regarding oil and gas operations within National Park Service (NPS) land. Under the proposed rule, 60 percent of oil and gas operations on NPS land that were "grandfathered," and therefore exempt from NPS regulations, would no longer be exempt. Non-federal oil and gas operations, the majority of which are small businesses, would face new regulatory requirements and compliance costs. (Published 10-27-2015)


COMMENTS DUE 12-28-2015
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The EEOC has issued a proposed rule that would amend regulations that implement Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). The proposed rule would allow employers who offer wellness programs as part of a group health plan to provide limited financial incentives without violating GINA in exchange for an employee's spouse providing information about their current or past health status. This proposed rule would affect all businesses with 15 or more employees. (Published 10-30-2015)


COMMENTS DUE 12-29-2015
 Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) User Fee Update
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The IRS has issued a proposed rule that would reduce the user fee from $50 to $33 for federal tax preparers to apply for or renew a PTIN. The IRS estimates that approximately 70 to 80 percent of the individuals subject to these proposed regulations are tax return preparers operating as or employed by small businesses. (Published 10-30-2015)


COMMENTS DUE 12-29-2015
 Federal Implementation Plan for Power Plants
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA has issued a proposed federal implementation plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants for states that do not adopt their own plans to achieve the carbon dioxide reduction goals established in EPA's final rule issued on August 3, 2015.  A federal plan for a state only would be finalized if the state does not submit an approvable plan.  Small power plants, including rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities, could face significant compliance costs as they install controls or shut down certain electric generating units so that states can meet the emissions goals.  (Published 10-23-2015)


COMMENTS DUE 1-21-2016