How often do you have to update W-9 form?

W-9 is a tax form that is used to request TIN and other essential information mostly from independent contractors, vendors and freelancers. All the data is then used by companies to fill 1099-MISC and other documents that are filed to IRS. Information like business name or entity type may change due to various reasons. The question is whether you have to file a new document because of this.

When do I have to fill out updated blank W-9?

There are several requirements in the document instructions that answer the question. They state you have to furnish a new IRS updated W-9 form 2020 to the requester in such situations:

  1. Your backup withholding status has changed.
  2. You’ve selected a new entity type for your business.
  3. Your TIN or name change.
  4. You have got a different citizenship status.

Sometimes you can also get a request from a company that is just trying to keep their data up to date. It will be something like “we are updating our records” letter with W-9 blank attached to it. Companies usually use a sample letter requesting for Taxpayer Identification Number to create their own one. If you’ve received this kind of request, first check whether you really have to fill out the blank and then send an updated document back. Note that some businesses may use a substitute of W-9.

Are there any deadlines?

A common question on the web is “how often do you need to get updated W-9?”. Actually, it all depends on companies you work with. Some of them prefer to get new information once a year, no matter whether something has changed. Others will only ask you to send it only if essential data was altered.

As for deadlines, there are no strict rules for W-9. At the same time, you have to furnish it before businesses will send their tax reports to recipients and IRS. That will happen in January and February. If you fail to do that, you’ll be a subject for penalties from IRS.

How to send a completed blank?

The most secure way is hand-to-hand delivery, but it’s rarely possible to use this method. The document is commonly furnished via secure email, if it’s a web version with digital signature. As for printable one, you can use post service to deliver it.