What is W-9 form substitute?

W-9 is a standard IRS document that was developed to obtain information about taxpayer, including TIN, business name, entity type etc. All the data is then used to complete other forms like 1099-MISC. This way IRS controls the amount of taxes you’ve payed. A completed form is always filed to the requester.

Though the document has a standard form developed by the governmental agency, there is a possibility to make your own substitute. You can do that to gather information in a more efficient way and to make it easier to fill. Still, there are several criteria you have to follow when developing your own document.

What is a substitute W-9 from used for?

The purpose is the same as a conventional form has. It is used to collect the essential data for completing 1099-MISC. The requester just changes the structure to make it easier to collect and to systematize the data.

Let’s now look through the main requirements to the document’s blank. Here is what free fillable W-9 form has to have to be valid.

Criterion Description
1. The content has to be substantially similar The blank has to collect all the essential data, including TIN, entity type, address and other info.
2. Certification part has to be appropriate It should state the payee is US person, the entered TIN amd FATCA codes are correct, the payee is not a subject to backup withholding.
3. There has to be a separate place for signature The document has to have a clearly visible space for US person signature.
4. Instructions are not required You have to provide payees with instructions only if they ask you to do that.

In general, everything is pretty the same as in the conventional document. The overall structure might be different, but all the essential parts are always there.

How to fill out W-9 substitute?

The whole process includes all the steps you’ll do while completing the conventional blank:

  1. Enter all the personal data;
  2. Choose entity type;
  3. Enter exemption and FATCA codes (if any);
  4. Give your TIN (EIN or SSN in most cases);
  5. Cross out appropriate lines in Certification part (if necessary);
  6. Sign the whole document in the Signature field.

Note that some parts may look differently. For example, a substitute form issued by the City of New York has additional fields for phone number, more boxes for entity types, separate boxes for TIN type etc.

Where to get the blank?

The conventional form is available on IRS official website (the one with .gov ending). You can get a fillable PDF version there. As for substitutes, there are two possible options here. If it’s an official institution, then you can also go to their site. For example, you can download substitute form W-9 Bank of America this way. Otherwise, the requester has to provide you with the blank.

You have to file a completed document only to the company that asked you to fill the form. Don’t send it to IRS. Also, if any info changes, the law obliges the contractor or vendor to update the data and file a new document.