Tax Form W-9: Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification

person filling out form w-9

This article was last edited on 02/18/2020. For updated information on Form W-9, visit

You’ll use Form W-9 is used to request the taxpayer identification number (TIN) from any person or corporation you plan to do business with. As a small business, you’ll typically send a W-9 to anyone you intend to file a 1099-MISC form to at the end of the year. Asking them to complete a W-9 lets them know that you will report how much you paid them throughout the year and allows the contractor to give you the info you need to file year-end forms correctly.

Read also: Tax Basics: Form 1099-MISC

When you first hire a new independent contractor, go ahead and send them a blank W-9 form. When they return it, make sure it includes their name, business name (if applicable), address, and TIN. Their TIN can either be a Social Security Number (SSN) or employer identification number (EIN). Don’t forget to check that your worker signed the form certifying that everything is correct.

What to do if the contractor doesn’t complete the form

If you’re entitled to a person’s TIN, they could be fined up to $50 per instance of not filling out a W-9 form. To make sure you’re not penalized for failing to include a TIN on a 1099-MISC form, ask the contractor for their TIN at least three times.

If the person does not fill out the form, immediately begin backup withholding at a rate of 24 percent on any payments made to the contractor and send that amount to the IRS. Learn more about backup withholding.

What to do with the form

Like Form W-4 that you receive from your employees, you don’t need to send Form W-9 to the IRS. Instead, you’ll keep it in your records and use the included information to create and file your 1099 forms at the end of the year.

Read also: How to Know if Your Employee is an Independent Contractor

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