In November 2009, USAC released a new version of the Form 498. The new Service Provider Identification Number and General Contact Information Form includes format and substantive changes with hopes of simplifying the process. Service providers submitting a revised form will need to provide all of the newly required information.
The new formatting changes were made in an effort to simplify the form. For example, the new Form 498 does not require a certification letter. Additionally, a new checkbox has been included for SPIN deactivations and mergers. Now, when merging SPINs, a service provider will only need to supply the front and signature pages.
The substantive changes include new information that is now required. Service providers are required to provide a Dun and Bradstreet number, also known as a D-U-N-S number. There are multiple ways to obtain this number from the Dun and Bradstreet web site (www.dnb.com), including a free option.
An important change to note is that if a service provider files a Form 499-A, the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) must be the same as the TIN on the Form 498.
Another important revision is that service providers will be required to provide electronic banking information to the SLD. In September of 2009, the FCC announced that payments made under the E-rate program must be made by electronic funds transfer (ACH). For service providers that have not yet provided this information, a revision to the Form 498 must be filed and include the required banking information. The FCC will announce the deadline by which service providers must have the information on file with USAC. No payments will be made to service providers that have not supplied the ACH information by the end of the deadline period. Electronic BEAR payments began in January 2010 for those service providers who had already furnished their banking information. Now, when a BEAR payment is issued, an e-mail is sent to the service provider to assist in BEAR payment tracking.
There have also been some substantive changes to the E-File System. Only the Company Officer (Block 15) and the General Contact (Block 2) will be able to see the Form 498 information. The General Contact can continue to submit the revisions; however they must now be certified by the Company Officer. If the Company Officer changes then the new Company Officer must re-authorize all existing authorized users.
The new Form 498 instructions can be viewed here.
For more information, please contact your Funds For Learning Account Analyst.