Filling out W-9 form

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How to Complete a W‐9 Tax Form

Two Parts:

A W-9 Form is a common IRS document. If you were hired by someone as a regular employee or independent contractor, you would have to fill out a W-9 Form. You would then submit that form to your client or employer. Employers and clients use the information contained in the form to report your earnings to the IRS and to provide you with a 1099 to calculate your income taxes.Keep reading to learn how to properly complete a W-9 tax form.


Filling Out the W-9

  1. Make sure you've got the right form.If you are the one being hired, then your employer is responsible for giving you the form. Any client who hires freelancers or independent contractors to do work needs to provide a W-9. You can access the on the IRS website.
  2. Complete the basic information in section one.Section one of the W-9 is where you will need to fill in your name, and>
    • For box 1, type or write your full name.
    • For box 2, type or write your business’s name (if you have one). If not, leave it blank.
    • For box 3, check the box that describes you or the legal status of your business.
      • If you are filling the form out for yourself and you are not being contracted through a company that you own or work for, check the “Individual” box.
    • For box 4, only complete if you have an exemption code. Leave it blank if you are an individual.
    • For box 5, type or write your street address.
    • For box 6, type or write your city, state, and zip code.
    • Box 7 is optional, only fill in this section if you have an account number that your employer will need.
  3. Move on to Part I.Fill in your Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number or Employer Identification Number. Fill in the section that applies to you and make sure to only put one number in each box
    • If you are an individual, type or write your social security number in the appropriate space.
    • If you are a resident alien, sole proprietor, or disregarded entity, type or write your Taxpayer Identification Number.
    • For all other entities, you will need to fill in your Employer Identification Number.
      • If you have a TIN/EIN/SSN but cannot remember it, you can call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 or the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213.
  4. Sign and date the form in Part II.Before your sign and date the form, make sure that you read over the completed form and check to see if everything is correct. Read through the “Certification” information in Part II as well, so that you know what you are signing off on. Only sign if everything is accurate. If everything is correct and you have finished reading the certification information, sign your legal name and include the date.
    • By signing Part II of the W-9, you are stating that:
      • the TIN you provided is correct
      • you are not required to have 28% of your income withheld for tax purposes
      • you are either a US citizen, resident alien, or business entity registered or recognized in the US, or a legal non-business entity recognized in the US
      • you have provided correct information regarding your FATCA (Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act) requirements
    • If you sign and one or more of these statements is false, you could face criminal charges, including perjury.
  5. Turn the completed form into your client.The person or company that gave you the W-9 will use it at tax time. The W-9 is for whoever will be paying you for the services rendered. It is unnecessary to send a copy of the form to the IRS yourself.
  6. Keep copies of the completed W-9 form.It's good to be on the safe side and make a copy for your own records. You can use it to compare to your 1099s and to contact a company or client if you are missing a 1099. Always contact clients if you haven't received a 1099-MISC come tax time.

Using the W-9 Correctly

  1. Fill out a W-9 for every client for whom you complete work.If you hire out your services to a business, they will need to have your information on file to help prepare their returns. Businesses will file a 1099-MISC for freelance or contracting work that totals more than 0 over the course of the year.
    • Clients use your W-9 to put the information you provide on the 1099-MISC, which will be sent to the IRS and to you, for your tax purposes, usually in late January.
  2. Fill out a W-9 for investment purposes.The W-9 form is also used in certain other less common circumstances, related to investment and debt-collection. You may also need to fill out a W-9 in the following circumstances:
    • Real estate transactions
    • Payment of mortgage interest
    • Acquisition or loss of secure property
    • Cancelled debts
    • Individual retirement arrangement (IRA) investments
  3. Understand what "backup withholding" means.While the form is super-straightforward, the discussion of "backup withholding" on the second page throws most people for a loop. In general, if you're not involved with any investment opportunities with the client for whom you're filling out a W-9, and if you're filling it out in the capacity of an independent contractor or freelancer, you don't need to worry about this part.
    • Backup withholding allows the IRS to claim income tax from investors' earnings, in the event that an investor attempts to claim this money before tax has been levied on it. The payment owed is called "backup withholding." Again, in most cases, you're exempt and it will be your client who owes the 28% income charge, not you.
    • If your clients choose not to collect information from you with a W-9, or if you include incorrect information on your form, your clients be liable to furnish backup withholding fees to the IRS. If you fill out the form and furnish it to the requesters, you won't be liable for making these payments under any circumstances. Keep track of your records and you'll be fine.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    I'm just an individual with no business. What box do I check? Other?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The first box applies for individuals, even if that individual has no business.
  • Question
    If I have an EIN and LLC number, do I include both my legal and my business names on a W9 form?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No, just your business name and number. Once you receive an LLC you use that number only because government offices can find your EIN using your LLC if necessary.
  • Question
    What does "exempt from withholding" mean?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It means that no taxes are being taken out of the money you are receiving. In other words, the one paying you is not responsible for paying your portion of taxes, as they are when you are an employee. You must pay your state and federal taxes yourself.
  • Question
    What should I write in Part II of the form?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Part II of the W-9 form is a statement that says that you filled out Part I properly and honestly. Here you would sign and date the form.
  • Question
    Do I include my personal address or business address?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Use the address of the name on the W-9. If you put your business name, then use that address. If it is for you, under your name, then use your address.
  • Question
    When would I need to fill out a revised W-9?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If any information has changed, you would fill out another W-9 completely with the current updated information as though you had never filled out a W-9 before.
  • Question
    What box should I check on Part 3 of my W9?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If you are a business, then the appropriate business would be checked. If it is just you, or you are the only one in your business, then check # 1 Individual/sole proprietor.
  • Question
    What do the classifications "C Corporation" and "S Corporation" stand for?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    A C corporation, under United States federal income tax law, refers to any corporation that is taxed separately from its owners. A C corporation is distinguished from an S corporation, which generally is not taxed separately. Most major companies (and many smaller companies) are treated as C corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
  • Question
    Are W-9s required for government entities?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    W-9's are used for persons (sole proprietors) or businesses that have their own workers comp insurances and pay their own taxes to the state or federal entity. If you are working on a government job, and you are hired as a sole proprietor because you have your own liability and workers comp insurance, AND you pay your taxes yourself, then they would use a W-9. If you don't, then they would/could hire you as an employee and cover you under their company insurance and take taxes out of the money that they pay you.
  • Question
    Who signs the form if the tax ID number belongs to a deceased person?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The form is not valid if it is filled out under a deceased name. You should contact the IRS with those questions.
Unanswered Questions
  • How do I file an Inc. on a W9 tax form?
  • How does the government get my FICA if this is my only job?
  • On #3 what does other mean and does the area need to be completed if none of the above classifications apply?
  • On the back of form W-9, it asks if I want both the Federal Tax Withheld and the State Tax Withheld under this policy. Should I check both as yes, or yes on the Federal and no on the State?
  • If I want my whole salary to go to withheld taxes, how do I indicate this on this form
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  • If you’re unsure of your EIN, TIN or SSN, you can call the Internal Revenue Service. They will be able to issue you the correct number or tell you which number to fill in.
  • If you have questions, talk to the person requesting the information. They should have an understanding of what needs to be filled in.


  • Make sure the information you provide is accurate and correct. If you are unsure about anything ask questions. This information must be precise and truthful. The information in the NAME field must be an exact match to the name the IRS has associated with the TIN/EIN/SSN. The tax identification number must be valid and correct so double check.

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Date: 09.12.2018, 07:07 / Views: 41285