Skip

The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)

DUNS Factsheet Thumbnail

Download and print this informational fact sheet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

If your business or organization plans to apply for conservation program or grant funding through USDA’s  Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and you use an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also referred to as a Tax Identification Number (TIN), you will need to obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM).  The DUNS number is required for any federal contract application and applicants must register with SAM to receive payments.  If you apply as an individual and use your social security number as your EIN, you DO NOT need to obtain a DUNS number or SAM.

About the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)

A DUNS number is a unique nine-character identification number provided by the commercial company Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), a provider of  business information reports. The information required to obtain a DUNS number includes the business/organization name, type, location, number of employees, and contact information.  The federal government uses the DUNS number to maintain consistent name and address data about organizations/businesses. This helps maintain and organize applications and contracts across federal agencies.

Who needs a DUNS Number & SAM

All entities using an EIN and doing business with NRCS must have a DUNS number and current registration in the SAM database. This requirement pertains to ALL financial assistance, easement programs, and watershed programs, as well as grants, cooperative agreements, and contribution agreements. NRCS requires applicants to obtain the required registrations when applying for programs.  Applications cannot be fully processed without this information.  There is NO cost for registration. If you already have a DUNS number, you do not need a new one for NRCS.

The following table can be used to help determine if applicants need to complete the DUNS/SAM process based on their business and Tax ID type.
 

Business Type Code Business Type Tax ID Type DUNS/SAM Required
0 Individual SSN No
2 General Partnership EIN Yes
3 Joint Venture EIN Yes
3 Joint Venture SSN No
4 Corporation or Limited Liability Company EIN Yes
4 Limited Liability Company SSN No
5 Limited Partnership EIN Yes
6 Estate EIN Yes
7 Trust-Revocable SSN No
7 Trust-Revocable EIN Yes
10 Churches, Charities, & Non-Profit Organizations EIN Yes
17 Trust-Irrevocable EIN Yes
18 Individual Operating as a Small Business EIN Yes

References for EIN, DUNS Number & SAM

EIN Contact Information: Call the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assistance for businesses at (800) 829-4933.

D&B Contact Information:  The D&B toll-free request line is (866) 705-5711 and their website is, www.dnb.com.

SAM Contact Information: Their Customer Service line is (866) 606 - 8220 and their website is www.sam.gov.

Obtaining a DUNS Number

Obtaining a DUNS number is FREE for all entities doing business with the federal government. The process to request a DUNS number takes approximately one business day. Have the following information ready when requesting a DUNS number:

  • Legal name of the organization, headquarters name  and address.
  • Telephone number, name of the CEO or owner.
  • Number of employees at the physical location.
  • Legal structure and primary line of business.
  • Year the organization was established.
  • SIC Code: A US Department of Labor business classification system; you may look up your SIC code online at www.osha.gov/pls/imis/sic_manual.html

How to obtain a DUNS Number

You may request a DUNS number online at: http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform.

Effective Jan. 1, 2012, you can no longer complete the process over the phone.  However, you may contact D&B through their toll-free number for federal award applicants at (866) 705-5711 and request a 3-page application to fax back. The number above is staffed from 8 AM to 6 PM PST. 

When you request a DUNS number, identify yourself as a federal grant applicant or prospective applicant. After you provide the information listed above via fax or the on-line application, you should receive an email confirmation. D&B can assign a DUNS number within one business day. 

Managing your DUNS Number

There is no need to establish a new DUNS numbers in the future for specific programs or agencies, just be sure to update or validate the information on your current listing. 

D&B periodically contacts organizations with DUNS numbers to verify the information is still current.  D&B is only checking the information you have provided (listed above).  Please remain vigilant in protecting your personal information and do not provide social security, bank information, etc. to “cold calls” or questionable mail requests.

Also, obtaining a DUNS number may place you on D&B’s marketing list, which is sold to other companies.  If you DO NOT want your name or organization to be included on this list, simply request to be omitted from the list during the DUNS application process.

Registering with System for Award Management (SAM) 

Once you have a DUNS number, you must also register with SAM and complete other reporting requirements. SAM is a FREE government-wide registry for vendors doing business with the federal government which replaced Centralized Contractor Registration (CCR).  SAM centralizes information about federal financial assistance recipients and also provides a central location for you to change your organizational information. Upon receipt of the DUNS number, it is the participant’s responsibility to maintain current information with SAM.  If you had an active record in CCR, you have an active record in SAM. Unless a change in your business circumstances requires a change in SAM in order for you to be paid or to receive an award, no action is needed.

Tips for managing and establishing your SAM registration:

  • Your organization will need to renew their SAM registration every year.
  • Information for registering with SAM can be found on the SAM website at: www.sam.gov.
  • Before registering, applicants should consider reviewing information available under the HELP menu on www.sam.gov including the following: Quick User Guides, Full User Guide, Helpful Hints, and Demonstration Videos.
  • Entities applying for financial assistance from NRCS would use the Grants Registration process.
  • For additional privacy, consider to “opt-out” when completing this process in order to prevent your company information from being displayed in SAM’s public search.

What you will need to register with SAM

  • Begin the SAM registration process at www.sam.gov.  You will need your DUNS number to begin. After entering your DUNS number, SAM will retrieve the name and address information from D&B. You will then be prompted for the following information:
  • EIN number:  If you already have an EIN number, it will take 3 to 5 business days to clear the EIN/SAM match process.  A newly assigned EIN cannot be immediately validated in SAM. You must wait until you receive the
  • CP-575 notice from the IRS confirming that the EIN is active and valid for use before registration with SAM can be completed. This process may take 2 to 5 weeks. Once a match is confirmed, you can enter the remaining required information to complete your registration.
  • Statistical information about your business:  This may include information regarding receipts and number of employees.
  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT):  Information for payments and invoices, including the following;
    • ABA Routing number for your bank
    • Account Number and Type, or Lockbox number
    • Automated Clearing House (ACH) point of contact
    • Remittance point of contact
    • Accounts Receivable point of contact
  • For additional security, consider setting up a bank account primarily for federal funds electronic funds transfer.