Collecting W-9s and other documents requiring a Social Security number, EIN, or TIN

At times, the University needs the Social Security number (SSN), Employer Identification Number (EIN), or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) to process a transaction. Usually, in the student organization context, this involves paying an individual or a vendor for services they provided to the student organization.

These pieces of information are sensitive and private, and the University requires this information be handled accordingly. The ITS Sensitive Data Guide lists the approved software for handling SSNs, EINs, and TINs. Social Security Numbers / Sensitive Data Guide (

This guide will walk you through how to safely handle this sensitive data.


What you will need

  • A SignNow account. If you don't already have one, request an account from ITS here: E-signature Service - SignNow / E-signature Service - SignNow (
    • Note: Though it is currently free, SignNow requires a shortcode in case there is a charge in the future. Use your organization or department's shortcode. You will not be charged without notice from ITS. If you do not have a shortcode you can use, email for assistance.
  • A blank Substitute W-9, linked here, downloaded to your computer
  • The email address of the person or business you are paying


Steps to collect the information

  1. Log in to SignNow.
  2. Upload the blank Substitute W-9.
  3. Ensure that all of the necessary fields are fillable. You can speed up the process by clicking "Settings" on the top and then clicking "Magic Fields". You can use the bar on the left side to add fields that the system doesn't automatically add.
  4. Click "Invite to Sign"
  5. Enter the email of the person or business you are paying in the email box
  6. (Optional) If you want to customize the email that SignNow will send, click "Customize Signer Email" and you can customize the subject and body of the email.
  7. Click "Send Invite".
  8. You should receive an email once the person or business has signed the form. Click the link in the email to view the document. 
  9. Download the document to your computer. Do not store it in any folder that syncs to the cloud, including your U-M Google Drive or Dropbox accounts
  10. Upload the document to the request form with SOAS as an attachment. Find those request forms on your SOAS Dashboard. Purchase Requests | Student Organization Accounts Services (
  11. Securely delete all copies of the document other than the one stored in SignNow. Find out more about securely deleting files, including instructions, here: Securely Delete Files /

At no point in this process should you use your U-M or personal email or Google Drive to store this information. It is not an approved method of storing SSNs/EINs/TINs. Only use SignNow and TeamDynamix (the SOAS request forms). 


Questions, comments, concerns, or need assistance?

You can email the Student Organization Committee Director at as a first contact. If we can't solve the issue, or if you would prefer to contact them directly, Information and Technology Services' Information Assurance team is available to help. Visit for contact options.

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Article ID: 7190
Tue 2/8/22 9:05 PM
Mon 2/14/22 1:22 PM