Skip to main content
Northwestern University

Using Internet Retailers (such as Amazon)

Beginning February 1, 2015, internet retailers began collecting sales tax in Illinois. Northwestern University is a private, not for profit, coeducational institution that is exempt from sales tax. This change in Illinois law has caused many questions and heightened the need to put better controls in place regarding the use of Amazon and other internet retailers.

Policy Reminders

Use of membership clubs and setting up on-line accounts like Amazon is generally discouraged, purchases over the internet should be minimized, and individuals are not to advance their own personal funds to purchase supplies and services on behalf of Northwestern. Cardholders should confirm whether the product or service needed is available from a Northwestern Preferred Vendor or could be purchased through iBuyNU before using Amazon.

Background on Amazon.com

We acknowledge that there are times when Amazon may be the best option for hard to find items or items not available from Preferred Vendors. However, Amazon has historically not made it easy to establish an enterprise level relationship to support business to business transactions and has not positioned itself to qualify as a Preferred Vendor at Northwestern or at any of our peers. They also are often not the low cost provider for the item needed.

To continue using Amazon for occasional Northwestern purchases, please note the following:

Northwestern's tax exempt status can only be used for authorized University business purposes. Personal or other unauthorized use may result in disciplinary action and could affect our tax exempt status.

Back to top