For businesses and individuals seeking to contract with the federal government, obtaining a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code is a requirement. A CAGE Code is a “standardized means of identifying a given legal entity at a specific location. An entity is defined as a company/business/organization/agency”.
Steps to Getting a CAGE Code
A CAGE code is a unique five-character ID number issued for free by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). It is the only agency authorized to issue CAGE Codes. Obtaining a CAGE Code is a three-step process that must be done in the order listed.
Step 1 – Getting a D-U-N-S® Number
A Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S®) number is a unique nine-digit number issued by Dun & Bradstreet and is used to establish a business identity. Having one identifies your business as being unique from the 32 million U.S. and 225 million business entities globally listed in the D & B Data Cloud.
Lenders and potential business partners use the D-U-N-S® number of a company to predict reliability and/or financial stability of a company before doing business with entity. This number also is used to identify hierarchies and linkages between corporate entities, so one business has a better idea of the other one when considering entering into a business agreement.
Requesting a D-U-N-S® number is as simple as completing an online form or calling 1-866-594-2464. Allow up to 30 business days for a D-U-N-S® number request to be processed and assigned. Using this webform speeds up the process and can result in an assigned D-U-N-S® number in as little as two business days. Once approved, your D-U-N-S® number will be sent to the email address listed on your request form. With your D-U-N-S® number assigned, move to Step 2.
Step 2 – Creating a System for Award Management (SAM) account
All businesses must have an active registration in the SAM database to do business with the federal government. Registering for a SAM account is as simple as going online and filling in the form or calling 1-866-606-8220. At a minimum, U.S. registrants will need the following information:
- Legal Business Name, and Physical Address matching your D-U-N-S® record
- Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). Taxpayer Name associated with your TIN
- Bank routing number
- Bank account number and account type
Your TIN is either your Employer Identification Number (EIN) assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or your Social Security Number (SSN) if you are registering as a sole proprietor or individual.
Allow 12 to 15 business days after submitting your request for your account to be active in the SAM database. In addition, businesses must have an account at Login.gov to access their SAM account once it is created. A free account at Login.gov can be set up here.
Step 3 – Requesting a DLA CAGE Code
Once you have a D-U-N-S® number and a SAM account, now you are ready to request a CAGE Code. It also is as simple as completing an online form on the DLA website. Once it is confirmed that your business does not have duplicate registrations, the information will be processed within 10 business days.
You may be contacted by telephone or email for additional verification or to request additional documentation needed for processing; if contacted, a response of the information requested is required from you within five days.
Once this verification process is completed, DLA will submit the CAGE CODE record to the SAM database to identify your entity as now active and eligible to compete for federal government contracts and/or grants.
CAGE Codes issued after August 26, 2016 have an expiration date of five years from date of issue. Renewing before the expiration date keeps the CAGE code current and valid in the SAM database.
Other Contracting Scenarios
Individuals seeking government contracts also need a CAGE code, but do not need to get a D-U-N-S® number. They instead use either their Tax Identification Number (TIN) or Social Security number (SSN).
NOTE: If you require a CAGE Code as part of a Security Clearance application, a SAM account is not needed. Instead, complete DOD Form 2051, “Request for Assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code.” Complete instructions for form completion are included as part of the form.