Tax Compliance

The Tax Services website is provided as a one-stop resource of tax information that is pertinent to university operations. The website is developed and maintained by the Financial Services department within Administration & Finance. Tax Services' mission is to encourage and facilitate campus-wide tax compliance. Tax Services' staff are here to assist departments with their tax questions and provide one-on-one and small group training sessions as needed. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

As prescribed by the Integrated CSU Administrative Manual (ICSUAM) policy number 3801.01, the Chief Financial Officer of Cal Poly has delegated responsibility to Financial Services to ensure the following:

  • Advise internal departments such as Contracts, Procurement and Risk Management, Accounts Payable and Payroll on tax implications
  • Advise campus personnel and affiliates of the university to resolve tax issues that are specific to their particular needs
  • Provide Auxiliaries on campus (CPF &CPC) with the information required to file their 990 tax return
  • Ensure that taxes are appropriately withheld and remitted
  • Work directly with vendors to structure transactions in a manner that minimizes any taxes
  • Assist student groups with university tax identification information for entities making tax-deductible donations on their behalf
  • Oversee all Non-Resident Alien Taxation issues for independent contractors and employees providing services to the university
  • File tax returns on behalf of the university
  • File necessary documentation to maintain tax exemptions

For helpful information on tax issues please see the frequently asked questions below. For Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) issues please contact Dee Louie, Assistant Director in University Accounting & Reporting and Financial Reporting at 805-756-5961 or For all other tax-related questions please contact the Tax Coordinator Marc Benadiba, University Controller, at 805-756-5864 or at

Frequently Asked Tax Questions

University Tax Status Questions

  • What is the tax status of the university?

    California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) as part of the California State University System (CSU), is an agency of the State of California (reference the California State Education Code Section 66600 et al) and, as such, is exempt from Federal Income taxes in a manner similar to IRC 501(C) Not-for-Profit organizations. The specific section of the law that provides the exemption is Title 26 United States Code, Section 115, which states, in part:

    Gross income does not include…income derived from any public utility or the exercise of any essential governmental function and accruing a State or political subdivision thereof…

    Cal Poly and the CSU operate similar to Not-For-Profit organizations, offering the same services as non-state 501(c) universities. However, State appropriations are the primary funding source for Cal Poly and the CSU. The IRS issues determination letters solely to qualified 501(c) corporations. Thus, since Cal Poly is an agency of the State of California and is exempt under section 115 of the Internal Revenue Code, we are not required nor are we able to obtain an IRS determination letter. Payments made to Cal Poly are not included in gross income for taxable purposes, as stated in the Internal Revenue Code and shown above.

    Cal Poly's federal taxpayer identification number is 77-0209717.

Fringe Benefits Questions

Mileage, Meals and Travel Transactions Questions

Sales and Use Tax Questions

Out of State Vendor Questions

  • Do vendors coming from out of state incur any additional taxes or withholdings that they should be made aware of?

    If an out of state vendor comes to California to provide services and does not have a business presence in the state of California then any payments made to them may be subject to a 7% withholding for state income tax. A vendor is deemed to have a California presence if they have an office in California or an address where they regularly receive and check mail. Out of state vendors without a California presence will have 7% state income tax withheld from any individual payment they receive that is greater than $1,500, or any payment they receive that puts their calendar year to date payments over the $1,500.

    For example; Let's assume we have an out of state vendor coming from Nevada to California to perform three service related jobs for the University and the vendor does not have a physical address in California. Assuming the vendor is paid 3 payments of $700 each for the calendar year, no taxes are withheld on the first two payments, but the third payment will have 7% withheld because the third payment puts the total for the calendar year over $1,500.

Non Resident Alien Tax Questions

Payroll Tax Questions

University provided housing questions

  • Is housing provided to an employee at no cost or at a discounted rate a taxable benefit to the employee?

    The value of employer-provided lodging will be excludable from an employee's gross income and not subject to payroll taxes only if: (1) the lodging is furnished on the business premises of the employer; (2) the lodging is furnished for the convenience of the employer; and (3) the employee must accept the lodging as a condition of employment. If the three tests are met, the value of the lodging is excludable and not subject to payroll taxes. For more information please contact the Tax Coordinator.


This website and related web page content are expressly intended as general guidance. Its purpose is to inform the Cal Poly campus community of potential tax risk exposures related to federal, state and local regulatory agencies.

While Cal Poly's Financial Services department has made every effort to use the most current and accurate data, tax laws change frequently, and it is possible that some of the information may no longer be accurate. The University disclaims all liability from the mistreatment of information and materials contained in the tax web page. Its function is for administrative purposes only for Cal Poly. Please keep in mind that no one in their official role at the university, can act as a personal tax consultant, give individual tax advice, or represent an individual dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Thus, any assistance the information on this website may provide is given as a courtesy to you, and should not be construed in any way as the rendering of legal or tax advice per IRS Circular 230.

The Tax Compliance Manager can only provide information from the IRS, California Franchise Tax Board, Board of Equalization, and other taxing agencies. Information regarding immigration and naturalization, employment, and tax filing regulations are the responsibility of each individual or entity who receives payment from Cal Poly or its auxiliaries.