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Global Work Glossary

What is IRS Form W-9 and its importance?

In the US, Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, is a tax form used by US businesses to get information from independent contractors (freelancers) who are US citizens or US tax residents, regardless of their physical location.

Why do you need Form W-9?

Businesses in the United States working with independent contractors don’t withhold income tax or provide benefits, but the IRS still wants to know how much the contractors received to ensure they are properly reporting their income. For tax purposes, a business needs to file an information return through a Form 1099-NEC when they pay a contractor more than $600 in a year. The Form W-9 is the official way to obtain the contractor's tax ID. Form W-9 is for US taxpayers to complete. If a US business hires an independent contractor who is not a US citizen or a US tax resident, they collect Form W-8BEN (for individuals) or W-8BEN-E (for entities) instead.

What is Form W-9 used for?

A Form W-9 serves as a request for Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) of the person (or business) who needs to file an information return with the IRS report. You may be asked to complete a Form W-9 if you: Received income within a tax year Had real estate transactions (so you can get a 1099-S) Paid interest on a home mortgage or student loan (so you can get a 1098 form) Acquired or abandoned a secured property (so you can get a 1099-A) Had a cancellation of debt (so you can get a 1099-C) Made contributions to an IRA W-9 forms don't get sent to the IRS—the requestor just uses the information to prepare the 1099 form.

Who needs to collect and file IRS Form W-9?

Every business based in the United States who has contracted a US person as an independent contractor needs to collect a completed Form W-9. Every independent contractor (usually working as a self-employed person or a small business) in the United States needs to fill in the information returned through a Form W-9. A client, financial institution, or another payer will most likely ask you to fill in a Form W-9. You don't need to file this form to the IRS, only return it to the requester and keep a record of it.

How do I get Form W-9?

You can obtain a copy online. You can use a printed or an electronic version.

How to fill out IRS Form W-9?

To fill out a Form W-9 correctly, follow the instructions below. 1: Your legal name as it appears on your tax documents. 2: Business Name/Disregarded Entity Name. 3: Check the appropriate box to state the type of business entity for federal tax classification. 4: Exemptions. 5 and 6: Your street address, city, state, and ZIP code. Part I: Enter your business's correct TIN. Part II, Certification: Confirm the following before signing and completing the form.

When is the deadline to collect IRS Form W-9?

There is no official due date to collect Form W-9, but it's usually easiest to get this completed and filed before the first payment is made. That way, you're not scrambling to get the required information during tax season.

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