U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA):
The National Ombudsman

To assist small businesses with unfair and excessive federal regulatory enforcement, such as repetitive audits or investigations, excessive fines, penalties, retaliation or other unfair regulatory enforcement action by a federal agency.

The National Ombudsman receives complaints and comments from small business concerns and acts as a “trouble shooter” between them and federal agencies. Small business comments are forwarded to federal agencies for a high level review and federal agencies are requested to consider the fairness of their action.

How to File an Online Comment


  • Complete, date, and submit the Federal Agency Comment Form.
  • If your comment is about the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you must also complete IRS Tax Information Authorization Form 8821.
  • Provide documentation to substantiate your comment, such as correspondence, enforcement letters, citations, phone logs, or other proof of the federal agency’s action.
  • Substantiation may be faxed to (202) 481-5719, e-mailed to Ombudsman@sba.gov or mailed to Office of the National Ombudsman, U. S. Small Business Administration, 409 3 rd Street, SW, Washington, DC 20416.

Note: Only federal regulatory enforcement and compliance actions are covered by this process.

The SBA National Ombudsman can only assist small businesses, small government entities, and non-profit organizations.

About the National Ombudsman

Nicholas N. Owens
National Ombudsman
Office of the National Ombudsman
Small Business Administration

On March 28, 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Nicholas N. Owens as the fifth National Ombudsman for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). He also serves as the Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Enforcement Fairness.

Regulatory reform is an integral part of President Bush’s small business agenda. The President believes that in addition to lower taxes, access to government contracts, affordable high-quality health care, and clear, sensible regulations are essential for the long-term success of America’s 25 million small businesses.

Owens’ responsibilities include leading the national effort on behalf of the nation’s small businesses to ensure fairness in the enforcement of federal regulations, and initiatives to diminish disputes between small business and federal regulatory agencies.

The SBA’s Office of the National Ombudsman was created by Congress in 1996 as part of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA). The National Ombudsman is empowered to receive, substantiate, and report to Congress complaints and comments from small business owners regarding regulatory enforcement actions taken against small businesses by federal agencies. Also, the National Ombudsman’s office works with 10 regional fairness boards whose membership is drawn from 50 small business owners from across the country.

The National Ombudsman’s office works closely with more than 35 federal regulatory agencies to resolve complaints about excessive enforcement of federal regulations during hearings held in cities nationwide. The National Ombudsman is empowered to receive, substantiate, and report to Congress complaints and comments from small business owners regarding regulatory enforcement actions taken against small businesses by federal agencies.

A native of Mississippi, Owens began as a young entrepreneur in the media business, eventually leading him in 1996 to found Nicomm Group, a public affairs, communications, and government relations firm. An ABC television network affiliate featured Owens as a “Great Mississippian for The Next Generation”. His clients included national healthcare companies, Internet Technology companies, and financial institutions. In 2000, he was named vice president of sales and marketing for Nashville-based Healthcare Technology Solutions Corporation.

Owens became politically active in 1988, where he served as a coordinator for U.S. Senator Trent Lott’s first Senate campaign. He has also worked on the campaigns of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, and most recently President George W. Bush, and in his home state, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. In 1994, he served as part of Mississippi Governor Kirk Fordice’s TEAMississippi, a legislative grassroots initiative.

Before joining the Bush Administration in 2001, Owens served as part of the Bush/Cheney 2000 Presidential Transition Team. Having served five years as the special assistant to the chairman and director of external affairs at the National Credit Union Administration, he understands first-hand the regulatory challenges faced by small business. In the position, he served as a senior advisor on communications, congressional, and regulatory policy matters.

Owens possesses an extensive background in local, state, and national charitable and community services.

See Also…

Government and Administrative Law

Business and Finance Law