How to fill out SBA Form 159 | Step-by-step with screenshots

How to fill out SBA Form 159

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Learn how to fill out the SBA’s fee disclosure — and whether you even need to complete it.

What with all the paperwork required to apply for a loan through the Small Business Administration, you might find it’s easier to hire help in navigating the process. Unfortunately, this could mean you’re on the hook for yet another form — the SBA fee disclosure.

This form isn’t complicated. But figuring out whether you need it can be a bit tricky.

What is SBA Form 159?

Also called the “Fee Disclosure Form and Compensation Agreement,” Form 159 indicates to the government that you are a business owner who used an agent to help complete your SBA application. You provide details as to where you got your help and how much you paid for it.

You’d also use this form to disclose if your lender paid a fee to a partner agency like SmartBiz for referring you as a borrower. Typically, you need to complete one form for each agent you hired.

Part of the reason the Small Business Administration asks for this form is to make sure that you aren’t getting ripped off. If the SBA believes your agent charged you too much for its services or for unnecessary expenses, it may ask your agent to provide you with a partial or full refund.

You might see a refund if you paid:

  • Commitment fees
  • Bonuses
  • Broker fees
  • Commission
  • A referral fee
  • A fee for a service you didn’t ask for or want

Who needs to submit Form 159?

Generally, you need to submit Form 159 if:

  1. You used an agent to help you apply for an SBA loan from one of the four eligible programs.
  2. Your lender paid a connection service a referral fee for bringing you in as a client.

It’s easy to know if your lender paid a referral fee — either they did or they didn’t.

But the SBA’s definition of an agent can get complicated. Typically, loan packagers, accountants, brokers, consultants, lawyers and referral agents count as agents. But it all depends on the circumstances.

If your business is applying for a 504 loan and used a certified development company (CDC) as an agent, it can’t charge more than 1.5% of your loan amount in fees. When you submit an application, it can collect either $2,500 or 1% of your loan amount, whichever is less. But it must refund your deposit if you’re denied.

You don’t need to report your CDC fees in this form. However, if the CDC charged your lender a referral fee, then the SBA considers it a referral agent. You’re required to report it as a fee — even if you didn’t pay it.

What information will I need to provide?

The SBA Form 159 requires applicants and agents to provide:

  • Your and your business’s name.
  • The agent’s name and business.
  • The agent’s contact information.
  • How much the agent charged for its services.

If you have an authorized representative, you’ll need to include their name in the application.

How to fill out the SBA Form 159 in 7 steps

To minimize mistakes that come with unclear penmanship, consider typing the information directly into the form using a PDF reader like Adobe Reader. If you use Chrome, the form may automatically open in a new tab and include fields you can type in. Otherwise, neatly complete the form by hand in dark ink.

Remember: You need to submit a completed SBA Form 195 for each agent you worked with.

Step 1. Form purpose and instructions

This section reiterates what we’ve covered here: what counts as an agent, and when to complete this form.

Carefully read this step to double-check you’ve followed the SBA’s directions exactly.

SBA 159 form screenshots

Step 2. Loan applicant name and business name

This step is deceptively confusing. Next to Loan applicant name, write your name as it appears on your loan application. If your application is in your business’s name, write the business name.

If you applied under your name, write your business’s name next to Loan applicant business name (if any). Otherwise, leave this field blank.

SBA 159 form screenshots

Step 3. Agent type

Ask your agent to compete these next steps. After, double-check that the information its provided is accurate before you submit your form.

Under Type of agent, your agent indicates the best description for its services. Note that the section doesn’t appear on the Disaster Assistance Loans application.

For SBA 7(a) loans, the options are:

  • Independent loan packager.
  • Lender compensated by applicant for loan packaging services.
  • Broker or referral agent employed by applicant.
  • Other — with a description of the agent.

For SBA 504 loans, the options are:

  • Independent loan packager.
  • CDC compensated by applicant for loan packaging services.
  • Broker or referral agent employed by applicant.
  • Other — with a description of the agent.

SBA 159 form screenshots

Step 4. Type of service

In this next step, your agent indicates the type of service you paid them to provide:

  • Loan packaging.
  • Financial statements or tax returns prepared specifically for the application.
  • Broker or referral services paid by applicant (SBA 7(a) and 504).
  • Legal services performed specifically for a Disaster Assistance Loan closing.
  • Other — with a description of the service.

SBA 159 form screenshots

Step 5. How much you paid for the service

Next to Total compensation charged to applicant, your agent will write the total amount you paid for their services — even if they charged you based on a percentage.

If you paid more than $2,500, your agent must attach a separate sheet listing for each service:

  • The type of service.
  • The hourly rate.
  • The number of billed hours.

Step 6. Agent name and certification

Your agent indicates its name, business name and business address before signing and dating the document in dark ink.

SBA 159 form screenshots

Step 7. Applicant’s certification

Carefully review the information provided. If you notice mistakes or have any questions, reach out to your agent before signing the document. Submitting false information can result in criminal prosecution of you or your agent.

Write the same applicant name you indicated in the above Applicant’s name.

If you’re the applicant, sign and date the form. Chances are, however, that your business is the applicant. In that case, a company representative must sign and print their name above the Authorized representative fields. If the business is a partnership, a partner must sign and date this field.

SBA 159 form screenshots

I filled out Form 159. What happens next?

After you’ve completed your part of the form, take your form to your lender or CDC. If you’ve applied for anything other than a Disaster Assistance Loan, your lender or CDC must complete the final step itself.

SBA 7(a): Lender’s certification

Before signing and dating the form, a representative of your lender must complete:

  • Your lender’s name.
  • The name of an authorized representative of your lender.
  • Any referral fees it paid to have you as a client.
  • The name of the agent that referred you.
  • The agent’s business name.
  • The referral agent’s business address.

After you’re approved for the loan, your lender inputs your SBA loan number at the bottom of the application.

SBA 504: CDC’s certification

Before signing and dating the form, your CDC must complete the rest of the form with:

  • Your CDC’s name.
  • The name of an authorized representative of the CDC.
  • Any referral fees your CDC paid to have you as a client.
  • The name of agent who referred you.
  • The business that referred you.
  • That business’s address.

If your CDC is a referral agent, it must complete the next section before signing and dating the form again, indicating:

  • Your CDC’s name.
  • The name of an authorized representative of the CDC.
  • The fee the CDC paid to another lender as a referral.
  • The name of agent who referred you.
  • The business that referred you.
  • That business’s address.

Like with the 7(a) loan, your CDC inputs your SBA loan number at the bottom of the form after you’re approved.

Compare SBA loan options

Rates last updated May 20th, 2018
Name Product Product Description Min Loan Amount Maximum Loan Amount Requirements
SmartBiz SBA Loans
Get funding for your small business with a government-backed loan and extended repayment terms.
$30,000
$5,000,000
Personal credit score of 650+; US citizen or permanent resident; Business must be 2+ years old; Annual revenue of $50,000+; No outstanding tax liens; No bankruptcies or foreclosures in past 3 years.
National Business Capital Business Loans
Get a large business loan to cover your financing needs, no matter what the purpose is. Startups welcome with 680+ credit score.
$10,000
$5,000,000
Your company must have been in business for at least 6 months and have an annual revenue of at least $180,000.
Excel Capital Management Small Business Loans
Get personalized financing options that suit your unique business needs in just a few simple steps.
Varies by loan type
Varies by loan type
Your business must operate in the US, be at least 1 year old and have monthly revenue of $15,000+.
LendingTree Business Loans
Compare multiple business financing options in one place including: small business loans, lines of credit, SBA loans, equipment financing and more.
Varies by lender and type of financing
Varies by lender and type of financing
Varies by lender, but you many require good personal credit, a minimum business age and minimum annual revenue.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

SBA Form 159 itself isn’t complicated, but completing it correctly can be tricky. If you’re not sure how to proceed with a section, consider reaching out to your lender for help. It’s likely experienced with SBA loans and Form 159. Otherwise, contact the SBA at 800-827-5722.

Read our guide to SBA loans to learn more about how SBA programs work. Or read our business loans guide to see about other business financing options you might qualify for.

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