Independent Contractor

An individual who is engaged by the University to provide a service could be considered an employee or an independent contractor. A person already hired as a permanent, full-time employee of the University or any other North Carolina state agency is not an independent contractor. Additionally, recent state employees (including UNC-Chapel Hill or any other UNC system campus within the past 12 months) are not considered independent contractors. 

An independent contractor is subject to the direction or control of the University only as to the end result, not as to the methods and means used to accomplish that result. The determination that an individual is an independent contractor is to be made prior to the individual's performance of service. Originating departments are required to seek confirmation of independent contractor status from Disbursement Services  prior to make any employment commitment or preparing any payment request form(s). Independent contractors will be issued a Federal tax Form 1099-MISC by January 31 of the year following their service if they were paid at least $600 in the prior calendar year. Please note that any individual who receives payment of at least $1,500 in one payment will be subject to 4% tax withheld by North Carolina.  The individual will receive a NC-1099 PS, which can be used to file for recoupment.

In order to gain approval to pay a proposed independent contractor for effort (such as honorariums or speaker fees) and Independent Contractor (IC) Form must be completed, signed, and approved at the university level prior to engaging in any services.  A form must be completed to cover every engagement by the individual.  The form should be completed and returned to the appropriate staff member four weeks prior to the actual engagement.  In addition, the individual must also complete and submit a W-9 federal tax form.  If a contractor will only be reimbursed or expenses with no payment for services an IC form is no required. There is no guarantee of payment for services rendered without prior approval by the university (via the independent contractor form.)

Independent Contractor Form completion tips:

A business does not qualify as an independent contractor.  A contractor must have a personal social security number.

The W9 form requires the SSN.  It is preferable that it is provided on the form, however it may be provided via other means as requested by the contractor.  However, the SSN must be provided for setup as a vendor for use in CABS.

After the service has been performed an expense reimbursement may be requested.  Please have the contractor complete the Non-Affiliate Travel Reimbursement form. NOTE: Credit Card copies in lieu of receipts are not accepted.  Also, per diem reimbursements are not available to non-state employees. 


To facilitate faster processing for a special category of Independent Contractors, the university has added an abbreviated checklist for speaking engagements.  In order to use the abbreviated checklist, the speaker must not be paid more than $5,000, serices must not exceed one week during a calendar year, and must be able to sign a W-9 as a US person.  If the speaker will provide more extensive services lasting more than one week, pay more than $5,000 or cannot sign the W-9 as a US person, the standard IC checklist is required. The W-9 form requires an SSN, the SSN must be provided for setup as vendor system.  The completed paperwork, to include the Speaker Checklist and W-9, should be submitted to the appropriate staff member for processing four weeks prior to the date of the event. 

Form 708.3f -Speaker Checklist 

Both Independent Contractors and Speakers are eligible for direct deposit if they prefer.  Direct Deposit Form We are required to submit a voided check, letter from the bank, or bank statement to tie the account number to the person submitting the form. IN ADDITION, we need a phone number where we can call the vendor to confirm the information we just received.