How long does a contractor have to invoice on a contract
Yes, there is a statute of limitations on how long a contractor has to invoice under a contract. It is stated within the context of the Contracts Disputes Act, 41 U.S.C. 605(a). The CDA was amended in 1994 to state in relevant part: Each claim by a contractor against the Government relating to a contract and each claim by the Government against a contractor relating to a contract shall be submitted within 6 years after the accrual of the claim... This provision is applicable to contracts issued October 1, 1995, or thereafter.
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According to the definition of a claim in the Federal Acquisition Regulation, an invoice is not a claim within the meaning of the Contract Disputes Act because an invoice is a routine request for payment rather than a claim. However, an invoice that is submitted more than six years after delivery of goods or services may no longer be considered a routine request for payment.
The Statute of Limitations under 41 U.S.C. 605(a) does not apply to contracts issued before October 1, 1995. As such your contractor should be able to get paid. Nevertheless, the receipt of an invoice more than 6 years after delivery of the goods or services may reflect an underlying problem with the invoice.
When DFAS receives an invoice with an Invoice received date more than 6 years after the goods or services have been delivered, and the contract was issued September 30, 1995, it will be forwarded to General Counsel for review. When the Office of General Counsel determines that the Statute of Limitation does not bar payment of an invoice, it will be processed according to current procedures unless other actions are directed.
When the Office of General Counsel determines that payment of an invoice is barred by the Statute of Limitation, DFAS will return the invoice to the contractor/vendor, with an explanation for the return.
However, if you denied payment, the Disputes Clause at FAR 52.233-1 gives the contractor 6 years after accrual of claim to submit his claim to the Contracting Officer. This is one reason that contracts above the SAT must be held for 6 years and 3 months after final payment is made. (IAW FAR 4.805).
Therefore, if you have denied payment of his invoice, he has 6 years from the date he was notified of the denial to submit his claim under the Contract Disputes Act of 1978.