W-9 Tax Form

The W9 tax form also called the Taxpayer Identification and Certification form, is a document that employees fill out as part of their onboarding process.

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What is it?

The W9 tax form also called the Taxpayer Identification and Certification form, is a document that employees fill out as part of their onboarding process. It provides the employer with information needed for tax reporting such as the employee’s name, social security number, and home address.

As an employer, you should have a W9 tax form on file for each employee. You won’t need to send these forms to the IRS, but you will need it to complete employee’s W2 or 1099 tax forms each year.

Why Do You Need It?

Independent contractors, employees, and companies all need to make sure that W9 tax forms are completed, filed, and updated.

  • Independent Contractors
    As an independent contractor, you’ll be required to pay taxes on the income you earn and file a tax return with the IRS each year. To do that, you’ll need a 1099 form from each company that you’ve completed contract work. To ensure that you receive your 1099s in time for tax season, you’ll want to fill out and submit a W9 tax form to each company prior to working on projects for them. This ensures that they have all of the information they need to file their taxes with the IRS, and to generate and send you your 1099 for your personal tax return.
  • Employers
    If you manage payroll or taxes for a company, it’s important that you keep a completed W9 on file for each active working employee and contractor. You’ll use W9 tax forms to set up payroll for employees and to create W2s and 1099 forms for all of your employees and contractors during tax season every year.

Tips and Instructions for use

The W9 tax form is a four-page document, but all fillable fields are on the first page. In the top section, the employee or contractor should write or type their personal information, including their name, business name (if applicable), address, and tax classification (individual, LLC, corporation, trust/estate, or other).

In the second section, the individual filling out the W9 tax form must add their social security or employer identification number (EIN).

Finally, the W9 needs a signature and date in the final section. Once the form is complete, send it back to the person or company who requested it, at which point it needs be completed entirely.

Helpful Information

If you’re a freelancer, it can be difficult to procure a 1099 form from everyone you work for in a given year. The IRS recognizes this, and as a result does not require companies to send you a 1099 if they paid you less than $600 in a single year. This means you won’t have to send a W9 tax form to companies that you do small projects for.