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Taxpayer Identification Number Form (W9) Requirement

Effective Date: September 19, 2008

POLICY STATEMENT

This policy formalizes the existing requirement for U.S. vendors doing business with the University to provide a completed and signed form W-9 to Accounts Payable. Vendor types include Individual/Sole proprietors, Corporations, Partnerships, Limited Liability Corporations, and Others specified by the IRS. This form must be received before payment will be issued to such entities. 

This policy ensures that we have on file an accurate certification from vendors regarding their U.S. legal name and address, incorporation status, and taxpayer identification number. This information is vital in determining the eligibility of certain vendors for annual income tax reporting via Form 1099. The integrity and accuracy of our vendor file is based upon the receipt of a completed and signed W-9 form from each vendor and serves as the data source for annual tax form issuance.

REASON FOR POLICY

This policy helps the University with its compliance with IRS regulations concerning the issuance and accuracy of annual tax statements to vendors. Additionally, two purposes are served:

  1. IRS reporting requirements are facilitated. Certain types of payments made to vendors must be reported to the IRS. Having a signed W-9 on file allows the University to report the correct combination of Tax Identification Number (TIN) and name, thus avoiding IRS penalties.
  2. Evidence of validity is documented. Having a signed W-9 on file is considered evidence that the payee is a valid individual or business. This helps the University to avoid making inappropriate payments to fraudulent entities.

PRIMARY POLICY TO WHICH THIS POLICY RESPONDS

This policy primarily responds to the regulations of the IRS, which governs the taxation and reporting responsibilities of U.S. based entities. On an annual basis, the University must issue 1099M tax statements to all eligible vendors regarding the income they received from Columbia. The University must also electronically transmit a file to the IRS with accurate data pertaining to those vendors including Name, Address, Tax Identification Number and Gross Income.

WHO IS GOVERNED BY THIS POLICY

All Columbia University employees and departments that seek to acquire goods and or services from a U.S. based individual/sole proprietor, corporation, partnership, LLC, or other entity specified by the IRS. All U.S. based entities doing business with Columbia University.

WHO SHOULD KNOW THIS POLICY

  • Senior Financial or Business Officers
  • Chairs of Departments, Directors of Institutes and Centers
  • Department Administrators
  • Divisional Administrators with financial responsibility and oversight
  • Program Directors
  • Faculty
  • Junior Officers and Non-Officers with financial responsibility and oversight
  • Administrative staff with Accounts Payable responsibility

 

EXCLUSIONS & SPECIAL SITUATIONS

A W-9 form is not required for the following:

  • Employees of the University including students receiving expense reimbursement
  • Nonresident Aliens or Foreign Entities
  • Petty cash reimbursements
  • Patient Refunds to Individuals

POLICY TEXT

For Full Policy Text, please use link in right-hand menu