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Tax Exempt Update

December 3, 2021

As most of you know, the University’s tax-exempt status is not to be used for personal purchases by individual faculty, staff, or students.  Not only can misuse of Northwestern’s E-Number result in possible revocation of the tax exemption if an individual uses Northwestern’s E-number for personal use, the State of Illinois has implemented new rules that allow them to impose personal liability for the taxes due as well as impose criminal penalties on the individual.

This is a reminder that departments and schools should use official forms of payment from the University whenever possible for tax exempt purchases, such as the issuance of a formal Purchase Order or use of a Northwestern Corporate Card.

If a non-Northwestern form of payment must be used (such as cash, personal check, or personal credit card), the transaction must be less than $400 and you must now request a separate employee certification form from Procurement and Payment Services that will be provided to the merchant along with the One-Time Use letter.  To request the separate employee certification form, email the following information:

  • Vendor name
  • Vendor address
  • Detail of what will be purchased
  • Estimated amount
  • Explanation of why an official form of Northwestern payment cannot be used

Procurement will review the request and if approved, reply with the separate employee certification form that will need to be provided to the merchant along with the updated One-Time Use letter.  More information about tax exemption can be found on our Tax Exempt Status webpage.

For questions, please contact

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