Reimburse an Independent Contractor

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An independent contractor is a person who is contracted to perform services without having the status of an employee.

Classifying an Independent Contractor

It is illegal to knowingly classify an employee as an independent contractor in order to avoid Affirmative Action recruitment efforts, and/or to avoid payments such as employment taxes and fringe benefits. The IRS imposes fines and penalties for misclassification of service.

A previous determination received from the IRS places specific classes of individuals in two different categories — independent contractor or employee. This list is not meant to be all inclusive, but highlights some of the major classes of individuals.

Individual Classes
Independent Contractors Employees

Includes the following:

  • Research study volunteers and professional workers
  • Referees
  • Umpires
  • Sports camp counselors
  • Dental hygienists
  • Broadcasters
  • Coaches
  • Interpreters
  • Fellowships
  • Consultants
  • Theater set or costume designers
  • Composers
  • Construction personnel
  • Professionals engaged in employment outside the University (e.g., physicians, attorneys, engineers, architects)
  • Lecturers and instructors from outside of Buffalo
  • Persons providing professional services (e.g., persons who devise scientific testing procedures)

Includes the following:

  • Computer or keypunch operators working on research studies
  • Clerical workers
  • Graduate student employees and teaching assistants
  • Theater actors
  • Professionals not engaged in employment outside the University
  • Persons performing clerical and computer programming services

Reimbursing an Independent Contractor

Complete and submit:

  • A Disbursement Request form
  • A W-9 (Request for Taxpayer Identification Number)
  • The Independent Contractor Questionnaire form

for payment to someone who is an Independent Contractor (and is not an employee of UB, the Research Foundation or UBF).

This process is necessary in order to establish the relationship with the individual as being independent of an employer-employee type which would subject the payment to payroll taxes. An employee is defined as an individual who performs services for which the employer controls the method of what will be done, how it will be done, and the result of the services. Generally, people in business for themselves are not employees.

International Individuals Performing Services as Independent Contractor


There are varying requirements to provide payments or reimbursements to people who are in the U.S. under a visa, depending (in part) on the person’s exact status, and whether or not there is a tax treaty between the U.S. and that person’s home country.


Various requests are submitted to provide payments for service or expense reimbursements to guest lecturers and other visitors/students who are in the U.S. under a visa.

The Internal Revenue Service continues to impose more restrictive regulations relative to payments to non-citizen independent contractors. The following information is required in order to process a payment to a foreign individual.

Making a Wire Transfer

In some instances payment for goods or services can be facilitated via wire transfer.

The Wire Transfer form has been provided by the bank in order to insure that wire transfer requests can be completed in an accurate and timely manner. It must be filled out completely (especially Bank Wire Number) and submitted in order to complete a wire transfer. Please note that this form must be typed.

Contact an Expert

Consult With Your Unit Business Officer for Initial Clarification or Interpretation Questions.

For general questions regarding your UBF account or Disbursement Requests

For general system questions regarding the Concur expense report system

For general system questions regarding the ShopBlue purchase order system

Payables/Expenditure Processing Associates

Arts & Sciences, Engineering & Applied Sciences, Architecture & Planning

Susan Eiss.

Susan Eiss

Payables/Expenditure Processing Associate

UB Foundation

Phone: (716) 645-8724


UDSMR, Management, Law, Student Life, Graduate Medical Education, Graduate School of Education, Sponsored Programs, Social Work

Ingrid McCabe.

Ingrid McCabe

Payables/Expenditure Processing Associate

UB Foundation

Phone: 716-645-8723


Athletics, Student Housing, University Advancement

Reid Walton.

Reid Walton

Payables/Expenditure Processing Associate

UB Foundation

Phone: (716) 645-8745


Accounts Payable Coordinator

Stephanie (Stevie) Ruffino.

Stephanie (Stevie) Ruffino

Accounts Payable Coordinator

UB Foundation

Phone: 716-645-8748


Accounts Payable Manager

Rose Dommer.

Rose Dommer

Accounts Payable Manager

UB Foundation

Phone: 716-645-8749


Related Forms, Policies, Links