GSA’s SAM continues to frustrate contractors with system issues with improper tax id validation.

SAM's System errorsThe System for Award Management (SAM) System has been known to be plagued with system issues since its inception in middle 2012, and continues to frustrate its users with flaws that are out of the contractor’s hands.

The latest of SAM’s system issues have been coming from contractors who have been failing SAM’s validation check for the proper Taxpayer Name and Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) stored within the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) databases.

Consistent reports of validation failures started to appear in August/September timeframe and you may have submitted countless records based in suggestions from the SAM help desk and the IRS.  SAM has recently recognized this as a technical issue and has implemented a system update late last week that has allowed registrations to properly pass the validation.

Building on this frustration, you may have also experienced contract award delays, terminations, and payment issues with your Contracting Officers for your current contracts.  This glitch has already resulted in a substantial loss in contract dollars that were due to the affected contractors.

The penalties and repercussions of not having a valid registration, regardless if the contractor is at fault or not, are too severe to ignore.  If you have been affected in any way because of this matter, we suggest that you notify your Contracting Officers and the SAM help desk of this technical issue immediately!

Here are some helpful tips that you can do as a contractor that will reduce your frustrations with SAM and may mitigate any problems you may run into:

  • Be familiar with the terminology found within SAM; Entity Administrators, Legacy Systems, Account Migrations, etc.
  • Assign the Entity Administrator role, or the person responsible for your SAM registration, to someone who is responsive to any of SAM’s requests.  If this person leaves the role for any reason, replace him/her immediately!
  • Track the expiration dates for the SAM record.  These registrations are valid for one year.
  • Only officers of the company may talk to the IRS for any issues relating to SAM.
  • Retain official documentation from the IRS that clearly displays your Taxpayer Name and TIN number.
  • Keep records at Dun and Bradstreet, the IRS, and your company information at the DLA (more specifically your CAGE code) updated with the latest information about your company.

SAM, operated by GSA, was implemented as a mandatory requirement for all contractors wishing to do business with the Government and consolidates multiple systems contractors previously had to obtain registrations for, such as CCR and ORCA.  The system is designed to streamline efforts and reduce time and strain for both contractors and contracting officers.  More information on SAM may be found at and the SAM help desk may be reached at 866-606-8220.

If you have additional questions don’t hesitate to contact Coley GSA.

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