Tips on W-9: who has to fill the form?

W-9 is a special IRS form, which was developed to gather all the essential taxation data about US freelancers, vendors and independent contractors. Though the document is used in a few other cases. Let’s now find out who has to complete the form and who can request you to fill it.

When do I have to fill W-9?

There are a few situations when you will receive an appropriate request:

  1. You’re independent contractor or vendor and you supply companies and individuals with products and services. If you were paid $600 or more during the year, then you’ll have to complete the form.
  2. You rent property, which requires security deposit. The interest from it is your income, even if the actual holder is property owner.
  3. You get interest or any other income from financial institutions.
  4. You’ve received inheritance. In this case a will executor will ask you to fill the document.

Usually, the requester will provide you with a blank to complete. If not, go to IRS official website and download the latest version of the document. You can find form W 9 instructions on our homepage. Then you have to enter all the appropriate data and file it to the requester. A very common question here is “do I have to fill out social security for W-9”? Actually, your TIN (SSN or EIN) is probably the most important info in the blank. You definitely have to enter your correct Social Security Number. You also have to sign the form on a special separated field. If any questions occur, there is a special instruction in the end of the blank that will help you with all the issues. It might also happen that some info will change after you’ve successfully filed the blank. It means you’ll have to reissue it with new data and send it again.

Do employees have to fill out W-9?

The answer is NO, cause they will deal with W-4 instead. So, if you are an employee, do not complete the document that you’ve received from your employer until you’ll understand why you were asked to do it. Note that independent workers pay taxes on their own, which means the employer might try to reduce expenses this way. If you’re employee, the employer is obliged to withhold income taxes, Social Security and Medicare for you.

The problem is that it’s not always easy to verify whether you’re independent worker or employee. It all results in one more tip for employers who ask themselves “do I have to pay an independent contractor’s taxes”. The answer is NO again. There is no need to withhold them.

Employees are not the only ones who don’t have to fill W-9. If you’re a foreign person, you’ll have to use W-8 or Form 8233 instead.

How to send the form?

There are several ways to file the signed blank back. You can use email, post service, hand-to-hand delivery, special services etc. In any case, the channel you use has to be absolutely secure. The document contains important personal data, which may be used for fraud purposes if it leaks. Note that you shouldn’t send it to IRS. The form’s recipient is the requester.