Scope of Work (SOW) Form


Employee Services uses the scope of work form to determine if someone can be considered an independent contractor. It is important that this form is filled out, so CU can avoid any negative consequences of incorrectly classifying an employee. It is important that the form is filled out and approved by Employee Services before any work takes place.

When do I have to use a SOW form?

  • For service providers who are individuals/sole proprietors and operate under a Social Security Number
  • To determine if service provider is an independent contractor
  • To protect CU from significant negative consequences if service provider should instead be classified as an employee

What is an independent contractor?

The IRS defines someone as an independent contractor if “… the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done.” This is determined based on the nature of the relationship between the service provider and the university. If the service provider happens to be an international individual/sole proprietor or a foreign national inside or out of the U.S., then the SOW form is also reviewed by an international tax specialist.

What steps should I take?

  1. Prior to any work being performed: Read SOW procedures, complete SOW form (describing work, time period, all costs), and have the service provider sign the form. The form can be found on the link below.
  2. Scan and email the SOW form to Employee Services at
  3. ES determines if the service provider will perform work as an independent contractor. If the answer is yes, ES will approve the SOW form.
  4. If ES approves the SOW form, you can pay for the services through PSC (CU Marketplace).
    If ES does not approve the SOW form, you can pay for the services through payroll (HCM).

Note: Payments for services to current University of Colorado employees must be processed in HCM.

PERA Retirees

The process for hiring a CU retiree varies according to a number of factors, as outlined below.

EIN (Employer Identification Number) 

Note: Individuals/sole proprietors who operate under an EIN are not subject to Scope of Work review. However, active PERA retirees who operate under an EIN must complete the Disclosure of Compensation form (available online at, on page 15-16) and email it to Employee Services at

If an independent contractor fails to submit a Disclosure of Compensation form and PERA identifies them during its annual 1099-MISC audit, the department the retiree is providing services for is responsible for paying the PERA interest on the unreported compensation.

Independent Contractor – SSN (Social Security Number)

If the retiree is a proposed independent contractor, operating under a Social Security Number (SSN), the department follows the Scope of Work process outlined in the ES Procedural Statement Scope of Work (SOW)/Independent Contractor, including submitting the SOW form to Employee Services at

Employee Services evaluates the completed SOW form and determines if the retiree should be paid through CU Marketplace or through payroll.

If it is determined that the retiree should be paid through CU Marketplace, the department invites the retiree to register in the CU Supplier Portal.

Note: If the retiree is using a University email address (;;;, the department should not send an invitation directly to the retiree. (This is because the supplier portal blocks University email addresses at the invitation stage.) Instead, the department should email and request that a retiree profile be established (identifying the retiree’s name, email address, and employee ID). The PSC will create a retiree profile and notify the requesting department, who can then send an invitation to the retiree following the instructions provided. 

Also note: To ensure prompt payment, the retiree’s address in the CU Supplier Portal should match the retiree’s address in the University HCM system. If it is determined that the retiree should be paid through payroll (if an employer-employee relationship  exists), Employee Services notifies the department of the proper course of action to establish the retiree on payroll.

Related Procedure

Effective Date: 1/1/2015

Download the Scope of Work form and related documents below