Overview: Selling Goods and Services

Departments generate income by producing a product or providing a service for which a fee is charged. If departments are generating any kind of income, even on a break-even or partial recovery basis, these receipts should be deposited in an appropriate parent account (See Overview: Processing University Receipts). In addition to meeting processing guidelines, merchants have two major considerations. First, the tax implications of the business activity, and secondly, the services available to merchants to support their trade.

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Tax Considerations

As a not-for-profit educational institution, Stanford University is exempt from income tax for activities that are substantially related to its educational and research missions. However, if Stanford were to carry out a trade or business activity that is not substantially related to its exempt purposes, generating what is called Unrelated Business Income, it would be subject to tax on the net income generated (See Resources: Unrelated Business Income Tutorial).

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Support Services

For units at Stanford that offer products and services for sale, there are a variety of support services available.

  • Credit Card Merchant Services
  • Stanford Credit Card Merchant Services is managed by the Treasurer's Office that enables Stanford's schools, centers and departments to establish themselves as merchants to market and sell products and services on the web and accept credit card payments. For more information, visit the Credit Card Merchant Services web site.

  • Banking Services
  • A variety of banking services are available to Stanford Schools and Departments (See Overview: Banking Services).

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