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Familiar with this? “T-List” is the bond vernacular for the Treasury List or more formally: Circular 570. The document is produced annually and maintained by the Bureau of Fiscal Service, US Department of Treasury. Why do some contractors want to avoid it?
Their web page says it is the Treasury’s “Listing of Certified Companies” https://www.fiscal.treasury.gov/fsreports/ref/suretyBnd/c570_a-z.htm
The purpose of the list is to establish a pool of surety companies that the government finds acceptable to bond federal projects. Having this group established in advance avoids the need for federal contracting officers to vet the bonding company during each contract award process. It helps speed things up except for one problem: Not all bonding companies are on the list.
Why is this? Does it mean they are not strong or ethical? Does it mean their bonds are no good? Not necessarily.
Remember, when it comes to corporate sureties, they are subject to state regulation even if they are not on the T-List. So not being on the list could mean:
- The surety has applied for approval and is still being processed
- They applied and were declined or deferred to a future date.
- They have chosen to not apply to be on the list.
Point is – it does necessarily mean anything bad.
For some contractors, they may have a surety relationship in place, but when they go after a federal job, they learn that their surety is not T-Listed. Must they avoid federal work or find a new surety that is on the approved list?
For construction contracts from $35,000 to $150,000, the government can accept alternative methods of payment protection other than a surety bond. These are:
- Irrevocable Letter of Credit issued by a commercial bank
- Tripartite Agreement managed by a federally insured bank
- Certificate of Deposit
- Deposit of acceptable securities (Reference F.A.R. section 28.102-1)
For work performed in a foreign country, the bond can be waived entirely if the contracting officer concludes it is impracticable for the contractor to provide a surety bond. (Reference F.A.R. section 28.102-1)
Individual Surety bonds are an alternative to corporate sureties and they are never on the T-List. (Reference F.A.R. section 28.201)
Other forms of security may be used such as
- United States Bonds or notes
- Certified or Cashier’s Checks
- Bank Drafts
- Money Orders
- Irrevocable Letter of Credit
Being T-Listed is not always mandatory for federal contracts, although it is in the majority of cases. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that there are a series of exceptions, and these are always in play.
Armed with this info, contractors can go after federal work while avoiding the need for a T-Listed surety, or (heaven forbid!) any surety at all.
Insurance Agents and Contractors: When tough bonding situations arise, we have the markets and the know-how to succeed even when others have failed.
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Not available in all states including Idaho.