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Amazon Business Account

The University has established a master business account with Amazon.com to allow units to eliminate additional (and unallowable) costs for Amazon Prime memberships and still save on shipping. The intent of this arrangement is not to add new Amazon users nor to drive new business to Amazon.com. U Market remains the preferred source for all goods calatogued in U Market.

Amazon Business Features

  • Free two-day shipping on eligible orders sold by or fulfilled by Amazon.
  • U tax exemption information automatically associated with all users under business account.
  • Amazon Business features lower pricing on over 8 million items, prices lower than those charged to individual accounts on Amazon or Amazon Prime.
  • Accounts are associated with a PCard rather than with a personal credit card.
  • No annual Prime membership required (and no additional fees for membership).
  • Ability to create shopping list for frequently purchased items.

Amazon Business Contacts

  • Amazon Business Customer Support: (866) 486-2360
  • University's contact at Amazon: bbl@amazon.com

Amazon Business workmark

This account may not be used for personal purchases. Amazon automatically applies our sales tax exemption to eligible purchases and University employees (faculty, staff, or students) may not use the sales tax exemption for personal purchases--this is Minnesota state sales tax law requirement. Even if you want to use personal funds to buy something with the University's Amazon Business account, don't do it. The activity shows as occurring on the University's account. As audits occur, your activity shows up--our purchasing data is public.

A PCard must be associated with your University of Minnesota Amazon Business account.

Amazon automatically applies our Minnesota sales tax exemption to eligible purchases per state law, the University must pay directly for goods in order to qualify for any tax exemption. See also the Tax Management Office's information on sales tax.

Multiple PCards and shipping addresses with a single Amazon Business Account

This is allowable. Also, if you have already established PCards and shipping addresses as part of your existing account profile, all that detail will transition over to your new Amazon Business account.

U Market remains the preferred site for all goods that are cataloged within U Market as it is the most efficient process available. You may not use Amazon.com for goods that are in U Market. Our frequent analysis and price monitoring shows that U Market has significantly lower pricing than Amazon on our most commonly used items. 

Now that we can purchase from Amazon Business, what about our existing eProcurement suppliers?

Faculty and staff should always use U Market first to meet their purchasing needs. In the event that the product they are looking for is not available from U Market or any of our existing U Wide contract suppliers, Amazon is a great resource to locate those hard-to-find or specialized items.

Please let us know at purchase@umn.edu if you find identical items from U Market that are less expensive at Amazon. We will contact the U Market supplier to see if we can obtain matching pricing moving forward. Please document the price difference (screen shots of both the U Market item and the item on Amazon are acceptable).

If you found a U Market item cheaper on Amazon and would like to know if you should purchase it through Amazon:

  • Be sure you are comparing the exact same item.
  • Consider that with U Market, the item is automatically processed and paid for all the way through EFS, taking less administrative time. In most cases, U Market will deliver next day if the item is in stock. The University has well-established relationships with these suppiers and it's easier to address any potential problems.
  • Ensure your chief financial manager, RRC contact, EFS cluster director, or other financial leader is comfortable with purchasing from Amazon rather than U Market. Some units have more strict policies about when purchasing from Amazon is allowed.

Some of the features of the University's master Amazon Business account:

  • Free two-day shipping on eligible orders sold by or fulfilled by Amazon.
  • U tax exemption information automatically associated with all users under business account.
  • Amazon Business features lower pricing on over 8 million items, prices lower than those charged to individual accounts on Amazon or Amazon Prime.
  • Accounts are associated with a PCard rather than with a personal credit card.
  • No annual Prime membership required (and no additional fees for membership).
  • Ability to create shopping list for frequently purchased items.

Convert to the Business account

All current Amazon accounts associated with University business must be converted to the new University Amazon Business account.

If you are currently using an Amazon account to make purchases for your department and have not already converted to the University's Amazon Business account, email controller@umn.edu requesting an invitation to convert. The process is simple and straight forward, much like the Amazon shopping experience. Once you've completed the conversion, any of your existing account details like payment methods and shipping address should transfer from any existing account to the new Amazon Business account.

A PCard must be associated with your Amazon Business account. Contact your department, if you don't have a PCard. They may provide a departmental card number for use or may direct you to apply for a PCard of your own. You may also contact pcard@umn.edu for advice or assistance.

Free Shipping on eligible items

As with the Prime Two-Day shipping benefit, free shipping on Amazon Business accounts is limited to eligible items displaying "Free Two-Day Shipping" next to their price. Items must be sold or fulfilled by Amazon to be eligible for Free Two-Day Shipping by Amazon. Gift cards and some oversized or heavy items are not eligible. Learn more about eligibility restrictions.

How to get set up to use the Amazon Business account

The intent of this arrangement is not to add new Amazon users nor to drive new business to Amazon.com. U Market remains the preferred site for all goods that are cataloged within U Market. You may not use Amazon.com for goods that are in U Market.

You must have the approval of your unit's finance leadership before you can be added to the Amazon Businesss account (your department card administrator, cluster director, RRC contact, or Chief Financial Manager).

If approved by your unit finance leader(s) for an Amazon business account, send the following information to controller@umn.edu:

You will be contacted by Amazon with an invitation to complete the setup process.

If you are leaving your department and you have an Amazon Business account which needs to be cancelled, please contact the University Financial Helpline at 612-624-1617 or by emailing controller@umn.edu.

None of the Purchasing policies have changed, nor have the PCard use and reconciliation steps. Those making purchases using the Amazon Business account are still required to provide the detailed receipt (not the confirmation of purchase summary email) as backup documentation for the PCard reconciliation process. People must still work with their unit administrative staff to complete the PCard reconciliation process.

Amazon Business provides an easy shopping experience but please note that in the Amazon Business Accounts Terms and Conditions, it states that they are currently not able to accept federal flow downs terms and conditions. Based on that, we advise departments to keep purchases with Amazon Business under the current direct buy limit.

Two-day shipping is limited to eligible items displaying "Free Two-Day Shipping" next to their price. Items must be sold or fulfilled by Amazon to be eligible for Free Two-Day Shipping by Amazon. Gift cards and some oversized or heavy items are not eligible. Learn more about eligibility restrictions.

All accounts should have the sales tax exemption available right away. Please watch your orders carefully and ensure you are appropriately being taxed (or not taxed) depending on the goods being purchased.

All sales using the University's Amazon Business account are treated as exempt from Minnesota sales tax, even for things where the University must pay tax. The University is not exempt from tax on prepared food, candy, or soft drinks, so there is an additional step you must take when buying these products.

If your order includes a food item, when you get to the "Review Your Order" page (checkout), look to see whether the food item has the words "Tax Exemption Applied" next to the food item. 

  • If not, no action is needed. 
  • If the food item shows that the tax exemption was applied, manually click "Remove" next to the words "Tax Exemption Applied" for any food item(s). 

The Amazon.com system will then add tax to your order for the taxable food items and retain the exempt status for non-food items. The University's Tax Management Office monitors our sales tax situation.

When shipping Amazon orders to non-Minnesota addresses, the corresponding state's taxes are applied to that order. For example: If purchasing books and shipping them to California, you will pay California state sales tax. (This is not a system error, it's the law.)

If you have questions about the University's sales tax exemption, review the information on the Tax Management Office's website.

If you have issues with sales tax on specific Amazon orders shipped to a Minnesota address (or need a Minnesota sales tax refund), email Amazon's Tax Exemption Program directly at tax-exempt@amazon.com to ensure proper exemption.


Personal Amazon accounts: The University sale's tax exemption should not be associated with personal accounts. If it is, navigate to the "Your Account" screen in Amazon, click on "Amazon Tax Exemption Program" and then click "expire" next to the existing tax exemption.

One of the benefits of having a University-wide Amazon Buiness account is that the University's ST3, Minnesota Certificate of Exemption, has already been submitted to Amazon. Individual University purchasers will generally not need to resubmit the ST3 to obtain exempt status. Be aware though that Amazon.com also makes sales for third-party sellers. Many third-party sellers participate in the Amazon.com exemption program, so the process will be the same as if you were purchasing directly from Amazon.com. But if a third-party seller does not participate in Amazon's exemption program, the third-party seller may require that an ST3 be sent to them or the third-party seller may not have a process in place to treat sales exempt from sales tax.

This means you will still need to review your order when you are buying items from a third-party seller to make sure our exempt status is applied to your order. The Amazon Business customer service team will work with you to contact the seller to process a refund for tax charged in error.

The University-wide Amazon Business account has been set up to treat all sales by Amazon.com to University purchasers as exempt from Minnesota sales tax (even those where the University must pay tax).

The University-wide Amazon Business account has been set up to treat all sales by Amazon.com to University purchasers as exempt from Minnesota sales tax (even those where the University must pay tax). Because the University is not exempt from tax on prepared food, candy, or soft drinks, there is an additional step to take when buying food products.

If your order includes a food item, when you get to the "Review Your Order" page (checkout), look to see whether the food item has the words "Tax Exemption Applied" next to the food item. If not, no action is needed. If the food item shows that the tax exemption was applied, manually click "Remove" next to the words "Tax Exemption Applied" for any food item(s). The Amazon.com system will then add tax to your order for the food items and retain the exempt status for non-food items. By following this procedure, you can rely on the Amazon.com system to charge tax on food items when appropriate. This additional step is essential to ensure that the University is paying tax when required and to avoid the time consuming process of self-assessing use tax.

Want to know more about sales tax and the U? Check out the Tax Management Office's website.

Do you have a Student Prime membership, or do you plan to get one in the future?

If no:

Your @umn.edu account may be associated with the University's Amazon Business account.

If yes, and:

You are a student and an employee (or "student worker"), your department may need to obtain a sponsored email address in order for you to be part of the Amazon Business account. Contact us at controller@umn.edu with your unique situation. The intent of this arrangement is not to add new Amazon users nor to drive new business to Amazon.com. If there remains a need for you to purchase on Amazon.com, your department should work with IT to get a sponsored account that can be associated with the Amazon Business account. Do not share personal IDs. Sharing IDs is a violation of University policy. There is also the option of setting up a departmental email account as the Amazon Business member, and sharing the departmental account for Amazon, keeping in mind one person (the PCard cardholder) is responsibile for the activity on that account.

It can be difficult to determine the difference between a regular Amazon receipt and an Amazon Business account receipt. Messages and receipts should contain the Amazon Business logo, as the sample below shows but they don't always have that information. Please remain vigilant!

sample order showing amazon business logo

View history of orders...

If you'd like to view the history of purchases made with your Amazon Business account, follow these steps in the Amazon Business website.

1. Go to the dropdown in the upper right corner next to "YOUR NAME Account for Business".

Shows Amazon Business dropdown for your account

 

2. Select "Orders".

Shows moving to Amazon order history page

3. Or select "Business Analytics" (allows export of data).

Shows Amazon business analytics page

4. From the Business Analytics screen, there is also a link to Order History Reports tool.

Amazon business analytics screen, link to order history

5. From here you can request different reports.

Amazon business analytics screen report options

Anyone who has a Prime account will need to contact Amazon Business Customer Support for a refund, based on Prime shipping benefits that have been used to date. You will also need to convert to the U's Amazon Business account. Instructions for converting an Amazon Prime account to the University's Amazon Business account.

Amazon Business Customer Support: (866) 486-2360.

If you use your personal email address for a Prime membership that was paid for by the University, regardless of funding source, you will need to use an @umn.edu email address and set up the Business Account.

Personal Prime accounts should be used for personal shopping only.

If the Prime account was purchased with personal funds and not used for University business, you don't need to do anything but consider associating a personal email address with the account instead of your work email address. Make sure you do not have the U's sales tax exemption associated with your personal account. From the "Your Account" screen in Amazon, click on "Amazon Tax Exemption Program" and then click "expire" next to the existing tax exemption. Note that there may be a delay of up to 48 hours for the tax exemption to be applied to your account when transitioning to the Amazon Business account.

If you have recently purchased a Prime membership for the sole purpose of your departmental purchases (not personal), Amazon will provide a prorated refund.

If you are near the expiration of your Prime membership, we recommend that you let the Prime membership expire and instead of renewing, set up an Amazon Business account.

Anyone who is seeking a refund for Prime will need to contact Amazon Business Customer Support. Refunds are based on Prime shipping benefits that have been used to date.

Amazon Business Customer Support: (866) 486-2360.

Related questions, same response as above:

  • I didn't know Prime memberships were not an allowable expense and I just got one for work, how do I get a refund?
  • My boss told me it was ok to buy a Prime membership for work with my own funds and said I would be reimbursed, how do I get a refund? (Prime memberships have never been an allowable expense.)

Amazon will contact the person who manages the account. If Amazon hasn't already contacted you, you should contact us at controller@umn.edu to convert to the University's Business account. Your existing account must be de-registered so you can be invited to join the University's Business account.

Programs, projects, departments, colleges, or administrative units are not allowed to establish their own separate Amazon Business accounts. Each account must be part of the University's Amazon Business account.