Student Organizations

A Registered Student Organizations (RSO) is defined as a group of enrolled students, faculty, staff and/or individuals from the community whose primary purpose is to support the goals and mission of the University.

To be an RSO it must meet the following requirements:

  • Be comprised of at least 4 UW-Madison students who are enrolled at least half time
  • Be composed of at least 75% UW-Madison students
  • Be controlled and directed by UW-Madison students
  • Be related to student life on campus
  • Be not-for-profit, which means no individual or group may profit from the work/activities of the student organization. Additionally, not-for-profit does not mean that the student organization is automatically exempt from state or federal taxes because a student organization is not required to be a federal or state-registered non-profit to meet our definition of not-for-profit.

RSOs are recognized by the university, but not official entities of the university; therefore, they cannot use the UW’s tax-exempt status or documents.

CAN STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS USE THE
UW W-9 AND TAX EXEMPTION DOCUMENTS?

Only entities with UDDS and university funding strings can use the UW’s tax-exempt numbers.  By having a UW UDDS and funding string, it assures that the payments are made or received by the UW and are going through the UW’s financial system.  This assures that the UW’s IRS and tax-exempt numbers are only used for UW exempt activities as the IRS approved for our exemption.  Any entity without a UDDS and university funding string cannot use our numbers and must obtain their own Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).

ARE STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR A
FEDERAL EMPLOYER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (FEIN/EIN) AND/OR EXEMPT STATUS?

  • If a student organization/club does not already have a TIN, they can apply through the IRS web page at Form SS-4 Application for Employer Identification Number.
  • If a student organization/club does not know if they have applied for or received a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) from the IRS, they must contact the local IRS office.  Contact for the local IRS offices can be found at https://www.irs.gov/help-resources/contact-your-local-irs-office.
  • If a student organization/club does not know if they are tax-exempt, they must contact the IRS local office.  Contact for the local IRS offices can be found at https://www.irs.gov/help-resources/contact-your-local-irs-office.
  • Student organizations/clubs are not by their nature tax-exempt entities.  The IRS determines the status of the student organization/club at the time of TIN application.  If the IRS determines that the student organization/club is tax-exempt, the IRS will provide the student organization/club written confirmation of their exempt status.

WHEN COMPLETING A W-9 WHAT
STATUS DOES A STUDENT ORGANIZATION CHECK?

If a student organization/club does not know their federal tax classification for Box 3 on the W-9, they must contact the IRS local office.  Contact for the local IRS offices can be found at https://www.irs.gov/help-resources/contact-your-local-irs-office.

CAN STUDENT ORGANIZATION OFFICERS USE THEIR PERSONAL SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS (SSN) FOR THE STUDENT ORGANIZATION?

Members or officers of student organizations/club must not use their personal Social Security Number (SSN) when completing W-9’s or when conducting business on behalf of the student organization/club.  Only the IRS assigned/registered Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) can be used for the student organization/club.

DOES THE UW WITHHOLD TAX ON STUDENT ORGANIZATION PAYMENTS?

If a student organization cannot provide a W-9, with an IRS assigned TIN, and they are being paid a tax reportable payment, then they can still be paid but the UW is `required by the IRS to withhold 24% backup withholding.  Instructions for processing payments with the 24% backup withholding can be found at Backup Withholding for Tax Reportable Payments to U.S. Tax Residents.