Frequently Asked Questions - Vendor Authentication
NOTE: All questions and answers contained in this FAQ pertain only to non-Purchase Order Vendors. For FAQs related to PO vendors, please visit the Purchasing Services website.
As described in the memorandum distributed by Vice President of Finance & Administration, John Carnaghi, the vendor authentication process requires vendors to complete and certify relevant federal reporting requirements and to certify that there are no conflicts of interest and no employee-employer relationships between the vendor and the University or FSU department. The new Vendor Authentication Form is required to comply with IRS Taxpayer Identification Match rules and Form W-9 vendor certifications; it also reduces the University's exposure to penalties resulting from the misreporting of vendor information to the IRS.
The University reserves the right to decline a request to add a new vendor if the goods and/or services the vendor provides are already available from an existing University-preferred contract or Florida State eMarket-participating vendor or if the business has been identified as a Specially Designated National.
The process should normally take two days or less. If expedited handling is required, contact Disbursement Services at (850) 644-5021. Occasionally, the process may take longer, depending on the responsiveness of the vendor.
Disbursement Services will let the department know if a vendor cannot be entered into the system. Otherwise, the department should check OMNI after a few days to find the vendor number.
The vendor authentication form can be found in the is located in the Payables & Disbursement Services section of the Controller's Office Forms page. You may also access the form by clicking here.
For protection of confidential information, the vendor should mail or fax the completed forms to Disbursement Services. (Please Note: When mailing the forms, the approval process may take longer than two (2) days). The mailing address and the fax number are on the vendor authentication form.
A letter or invoice from the vendor that indicates the address change is all that is required.
Disbursement services will look up the vendor to see why they were inactivated. Depending upon the reason, the vendor may be reactivated by having the them fill out a new Vendor Authentication form to capture required federal reporting data, or reactivation may be denied due to a particular reason (e.g. vendor has been debarred; vendor is now using a different name and FEID #; vendor is listed on the National Designated Individuals List).
No. These individuals should contact FSU's Payroll Services department at (850) 644-3813.
If the business is a foreign entity, they should not fill out the Vendor Authentication Form. Instead, they should refer to the IRS instructions and forms for foreign businesses.
Consider the following, when choosing the proper W-8 form to use:
- Form W-8BEN (use if other W-8 forms are not applicable)
- Form W-8ECI – Applicable if the foreign entity has a trade or business in the United States;
- Form W-8IMY – Applicable if foreign entity acts in the capacity of a custodian, broker, nominee or any other person that acts as an agent for another person; or
- Form W-8EXP – Applicable primarily when the foreign entity is a foreign government, foreign bank, foreign tax-exempt organization or foreign foundation.
After completion of the required form, send the original, signed document to Disbursement Services. Note: The Vendor Relations team will check all the necessary resources to ensure no federal or state restrictions exist on the foreign entity before they are entered into the University's vendor file.
If the potential vendor is an individual and he or she is not a U.S. Citizen or a permanent U.S. Resident, the Vendor Authentication form should not be filled out. Instead, he or she should contact FSU’s Payroll Services Department at (850) 644-3813.
An entity is considered foreign if it was created or organized outside the United States. This includes entities that may have operations in the United States, but the parent company is organized outside the United States. All payments made to or on behalf of a foreign entity are generally subject to income tax withholding, unless specifically exempted either by U.S. tax law or by an income tax treaty. Generally, payments not exempt from withholding are subject to 30% federal income tax withholding, in accordance with IRS regulations.
Please contact Disbursement Services at (850) 644-5021 and these issues will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
The request for Social Security numbers or other Taxpayer identification information by the University is mandated by 26 U.S.C. 6041 and related IRS regulations.
Please be aware that FSU collects Social Security Numbers from individuals, in lieu of a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), if a FEIN has not been issued by the Internal Revenue Service for the individual/firm applying as a vendor with the University.
In order to establish a file for you or your firm as a vendor, you must provide your firm’s Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). If no FEIN exists, the Social Security Number of the owner or individual must be provided. To comply with Section 119.071(5) of the Florida Statutes relating to the collection of an individual’s Social Security Number, be aware that FSU requests the Social Security Number for the following purposes:
- Identification of individual account records
- To make payments to an individual/vendor for goods and services provided to the University
- Tax reporting purposes
- To provide a unique identifier in the vendor database that may be used for searching and sorting departmental records.
If you have any questions about the collection and use of Social Security Numbers at FSU, please visit: http://policies.vpfa.fsu.edu/bmanual/safeguard.html.
The new process only affects new vendors that could potentially be added to the vendor file, or are in the vendor file and have been made inactive for any reason.
Please have the individual fill out the Non-Duty Stipends, Fellowships, and Research Participant Vendor Form and send it to the address or fax number designated on the form. This is a streamlined version of the Vendor Authentication form and should simplify the process for these type vendors while capturing the necessary tax reporting information.
For potential non-PO vendors contact Disbursement Services at 644-5021.
For potential PO vendors contact Purchasing Services at 644-6850 or VendorRelations@admin.fsu.edu.