Amazon Account Creation for Business Use
If a Cardholder wishes to utilize Amazon.com for some of their buying needs, they may do so. However, the Cardholder must set up an Amazon Tax Exempt account using their University credentials (UMW email, etc.) so as not to intermix personal and business accounts. Mixing business purchases on personal accounts just to utilize any Amazon perks, such as Prime, poses a greater risk to the University for accidental misuse and charging business purchases to a personal card, and vice versa.
Amazon Tax Exempt Program
As an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, UMW is exempt from paying Virginia sales and use taxes for tangible personal property to be consumed by the University. In order to prevent being charged the Virginia sales tax for Amazon purchases, please follow the instructions found in the Amazon Tax Exempt Program (ATEP), which must be completed at an account level. This is only to be completed on an account for business use, not on a personal account. Visit the UMW Finance Tax Exempt page for additional tax exempt information, including the Sales Tax Exempt Form.
Amazon Prime Memberships
The University, per the Department of Accounts CAPP Manual, is not allowed to purchase store memberships such as to BJ’s, Costco, and Amazon Prime, with state funds. If a department would like to create an Amazon Prime account using their University credentials for purely business use, the following are the only ways this is allowed:
- The department pays with personal funds for the Prime membership without seeking reimbursement by the University.
- The department uses Foundation Funds to purchase the Prime membership.
Third-Party Vendor Tax Awareness
This tax exemption does not apply to all third party vendors who sell on Amazon. While Amazon will work to credit tax when charged to a tax exempt entity, it is not a guaranteed credit. If you chose to purchase from a vendor that does not recognize the tax exemption and a credit for tax payment cannot be obtained from Amazon or the seller, then the purchaser will need to pay back the tax amount to the university at the cashier’s office.
Best practice to ensure tax is not charged is to chose items that meet one of the following:
- Fulfilled by Amazon is indicated under the In Stock section.
- If the item is not fulfilled by Amazon, upon checkout ensure that tax is not being charged.
- If the vendor is charging tax, back out of the purchase, remove the item from your shopping cart.
- Choose an item that is either fulfilled by Amazon, or by another vendor who does not charge tax.
This example is Fulfilled by Amazon, so the purchase is tax free, as long as the Amazon Tax Exempt Program is complete. Verify at checkout.
This is an example where the purchasing needs to stop, the item removed and another vendor selected. If this tax were $0, then it would be ok to proceed.