SAM, I Am…Legitimate: Tips for Navigating Your SAM.Gov Account

The System for Award Management (SAM) is a government-wide registry for vendors doing business with the federal government. SAM centralizes grant recipients’ information and provides a central location for changing organizational information. Any entity receiving federal funds must be registered in SAM and must maintain active SAM registration through SAM.gov.

To register or renew SAM.gov accounts, school officials must validate their school’s legal business name, physical address, start year, and national identifier. We have received many inquiries from school officials about how to determine their school’s “start year.”

Establishing the Start Year

SAM allows an entity to establish its start year by providing: (1) the year of incorporation, (2) the “established date,” (3) the year it legally began doing business, or (4) the year it received an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Michigan schools exist through legislative action and, therefore, have not been officially incorporated. In 1964, the Legislature passed the Reorganization of School Districts Act, which created a state committee to organize schools and bring uniformity to their boundaries, powers, and authority. In 1996, the Revised School Code converted many types of schools (e.g., primary school districts and districts of the first, second, third, and fourth class) into general powers school districts. Since then, some schools have undergone complex annexations and consolidations. Those organizational changes, as well as poor recordkeeping, may make it difficult to establish a school’s start year.

If your school cannot definitively establish its start year, we recommend using the date of EIN receipt for that purpose. If the school has its original EIN confirmation letter, the year provided can be used and the letter should be submitted to SAM. If, however, the school does not have this letter, school officials should follow the steps below:

  1. Call the IRS’s Business and Specialty Tax Line at 800-829-4933;
  2. Select Language: Press “1” for English or “2” for Spanish;
  3. Press “1” for EIN information;
  4. Press “3,” indicating that the official already has an EIN number, but needs a confirmation letter or other assistance; and
  5. Provide the school’s name and address, your position at the school, and the school’s EIN. The IRS agent will be able to identify when the EIN was obtained and may be able to provide confirming documentation.

Additional Documentation

SAM also requires supporting documentation. If available, the EIN confirmation letter satisfies this requirement. Guidance from the Federal Service Desk states that IRS forms marked as received by the IRS or processed by a CPA or e-filing software may also be sufficient. Some schools have successfully renewed their SAM accounts with documents that are less than five years old and contain the school’s physical address and full entity name (e.g., a utility bill or redacted bank statement).

For more specific questions about SAM, contact the Federal Service Desk at 866-606-8220 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.