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.

  • 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 a federal regulation (IRS).

  • A PCard must be associated with your account. Amazon automatically applies our sales tax exemption to eligible purchases and per IRS regulations, the University must pay directly for goods in order to qualify for any tax exemption.

The intent of this arrangement is not to add new Amazon users nor to drive new business to Amazon.com. If you have an existing Amazon account, it should be transferred under the U's master business account (you don't need to create a new account, if you already have one associated with your @umn.edu address, contact controller@umn.edu with questions).

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. Our frequent analysis and price monitoring shows that U Market has significantly lower pricing than Amazon on our most commonly used items. Some of the features of the new master business account:

  • Free two-day shipping on eligible orders over $49.00 sold by or fulfilled by Amazon (the U averages $99 per Amazon order).
  • 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.

AmazonBusiness workmark

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 new 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.

Policy Changes

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Now that we can purchase from Amazon Business, what about our existing eProcurement suppliers?
  2. Are there any exceptions to the Amazon Business Two-Day shipping benefit?
  3. The U already paid for a Prime membership, will my department get a refund if I convert to the Amazon Business account?
    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?
  4. Are there any risks in buying from Amazon Business?
  5. I have a personal Prime account associated with my @umn.edu address. What do I do?
  6. How do I make sure the U's sales tax exemption doesn't end up on my personal account?
  7. We currently use a Prime membership to make purchases for our department, and we want to convert our order history and other account details into our new Business account. What should we do?
  8. I don't have an Amazon account now and I want one. How do I get set up?
  9. Can we store multiple PCard numbers and shipping addresses within an Amazon Business Account?
  10. What if our department already set up a separate Amazon Business account?
  11. What do I do when a third party selling on Amazon.com asks for a tax exemption certificate?
  12. What do I need to know when buying food products through Amazon.com?
  13. What is Amazon Business' support phone number and email?
  14. I am a student assigned responsibility for purchasing, what do I do?
  15. I think Amazon.com is cheaper than U Market, can I keep using it?
  16. How long does it take before my account is fully ready to use?
  17. Can I tell the difference between a regular Amazon receipt and an Amazon Business receipt?

 

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.

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Are there any exceptions to the Amazon Business Two-Day shipping benefit?

Yes, as with the Prime Two-Day shipping benefit, it is only limited to eligible items displaying "Free Two-Day Shipping" next to their price and your order must be for more than $49. 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.

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The U already paid for a Prime membership; will my department get a refund if I convert 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.)

Instructions for converting an Amazon Prime account to the University's Amazon Business account.

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Are there any risks in buying from Amazon Business?

Amazon Business provides an easy shopping experience, however, in the Amazon Business Accounts Terms and Conditions, they state 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.

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I have a personal Prime account associated with my @umn.edu address. What do I do?

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.

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How do I make sure the U's sales tax exemption doesn't end up on my 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.

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We currently use a Prime membership to make purchases for our department and we want to convert our order history and other account details into our new Business account. What should we do?

Anyone who is has a Prime 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.

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I don't have an Amazon account now and I want one. How do I get set up?

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.

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Can we store multiple PCard numbers and shipping addresses within an Amazon Business Account?

Yes, and if you have already established that as part of your existing account profile, all that detail will simply transition over to your new Amazon Business account.

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What if our department already set up a separate Amazon Business account?

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.

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What do I do when a third party selling on Amazon.com asks for a tax exemption certificate?

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).

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What do I need to know when buying food products through Amazon.com?

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.

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What is Amazon Business' support phone number and email?

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

This email address ajd+umn@amazon.com is for account-related questions.

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I am a student assigned responsibility for purchasing, what do I do?

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.

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I think Amazon.com is cheaper than U Market, can I keep using Amazon for that item?

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.

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How long before my account is fully ready to use?

The account is usually ready to use right away but you do need to be aware that the tax exemption takes a bit of time to get set up. It is a surprise to us but Amazon says it will automatically be applied to your account within 24-48 hours of accepting the invitation. Some accounts transitioning to Amazon Business 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. Should you need to place an order before this window, email Amazon's Tax Exemption Program directly at tax-exempt@amazon.com to ensure proper exemption. If you need a refund for taxes that weren't charged appropriately, contact tax-exempt@amazon.com.

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Can I tell the difference between a regular Amazon receipt and an Amazon Business receipt?

Yes, messages and receipts should contain the Amazon Business logo, as the sample below shows.

sample order showing amazon business logo

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Instructions for converting from an Amazon Prime account to the University's Amazon Business account

  1. Contact Amazon at: 866-486-2360 to seek a refund for the Prime membership. Explain that you will be transferring your account over to the University of Minnesota's Business Account. Amazon will work with you to credit the PCard that was charged using a prorated formula for what has been spent against the Prime Account and the time that has elapsed since the membership was purchased.

  2. Amazon will issue a credit to the PCard that was used to purchase the Prime Membership. Reconcile this credit transaction per the usual PCard business process.

  3. De-register the "@umn.edu" email listed in the Prime Account. To do that:

    Log on to your Business Account and download an order history report for the past 6-12 months. This is a recommended precaution in case there is any impact on your order history as a result of the account move.

    Then de-register your existing business/Prime account (Amazon's de-registration tool).

  4. Email controller@umn.edu to request an invitation to be added to the University's Business Account. We will send you the invitation. You will have seven days to accept the invite before it expires.

  5. Accept the invitation and make any University-funded purchases on Amazon via our Business Account. (If a University account is used to pay for Amazon purchase the University's Amazon Business account must be used, whether the funds are sponsored, non-sponsored, "discretionary", or any other source of funds/fund type.)

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