Independent Contractor Procedure

revised October 17, 2013

In order for faculty, staff or a department to engage the services of an individual that is believed to meet the guidelines for an independent contractor vs. employee, the following steps must be followed:

  1. Prepare a Professional Services Agreement*; complete the form in its entirety. Obtain signatures of the consultant, department chair, program director or director, as applicable. Submit to the Dean or the Director of the unit who will forward the agreement to Academic Personnel. The Professional Agreement is not actionable until reviewed and signed by an authorized representative of the Provost’s Office. (HINT: Consider preparing the form early and have it ready for signature so that if a decision is made quickly and in person, the individual is there to sign.)
  2. Director of Academic Personnel will determine if services to be rendered and the individual’s current status with Miami meets the guidelines of an independent contractor. If the determination is that the services may be rendered as an Independent Contractor, the agreement will be authorized and two copies of the Professional Agreement will be returned to the department.
  3. One copy of the Agreement will be sent to the Contractor with the OPERS form, Independent Contractor: Acknowledgment. The other copy is for the department file.
  4. The Contractor may begin the service.
  5. Within 30 days of the date on which the individual commences services, the OPERS form must be signed and returned to the department. This form must be retained and a copy must be submitted to OPERS at the address specified on the form. Full compliance of this requirement is the responsibility of the department. OPERS requires that the Acknowledgment forms be retained for 5 years.
  6. The Contractor must submit a W-9 form.
  7. Complete the OPERS Independent Contractor/Worker Acknowledgment** (see form code PEDACKN under Memberships)
    • Employer is Miami University
    • Employer Code is 1633-00
    • Employer Contact is Gary Kraft
    • Phone Number is 513-529-6223.
  8. Payments are initiated through the BuyWay system. The Professional Agreement, OPERS Acknowledgment form, and a W-9 form (if multiple payments, attached W-9 to the first one submitted) must be attached to the request for payment or the request will be rejected.

*The Professional Agreement may be routed electronically but requires signatures; therefore, the form can be printed, signed, and scanned to send forward. For auditing purposes, it is a good idea to retain the email from the individual on which the form is attached to confirm the sender. If you do many of these, consider a separate folder in your email organization for these emails.

**The OPERS form must be returned to the department with original signature, although we are checking with OPERS to see if electronic signatures would be acceptable. Once we have fully implemented this regulation and have some experience with the process, we may be able to consider making some adjustments.

Hiring and Paying an Independent Contractor

For positions that do qualify as an Independent Contractor, departments should do the following:

  1. Complete the Professional Agreement, including all required approvals, as described above.
  2. Academic Personnel will determine if the intended services and the individual's current status with Miami meet the guidelines of an Independent Contractor. If Academic Personnel approves the use of an Independent Contractor, the Professional Agreement will be authorized and returned to the department.
  3. The department must then send a copy of the completed agreement to the Independent Contractor, who must then complete the following hiring documentation:
    • IRS Form W-9
    • OPERS Independent Contractor/Worker Acknowledgement (see form code "PEDACKN" under "Memberships")
      • On the form, the Department needs to input the following information and then provide the form to the Independent Contractor:
        • Employer: Miami University
        • Employer Code: 1633-00
        • Employer Contact: Gary Kraft
        • Phone Number: 513-529-6223
      • Within 30 days from the beginning of services the contractor must complete and return this form to the hiring department.
      • The department must retain a copy of the completed form, and must submit original to OPERS at the address specified on the form. OPERS requires that departments retain the form for 5 years.
  4. The Independent Contractor may then render services to the department.
  5. Departments may initiate payments for these services through the BuyWay system.
    • Please note: The Professional Services Agreement, OPERS Independent Contractor/Worker Acknowledgment form, and the W-9 form must be attached to the request for payment or the request will be rejected.