Tax season is fast approaching! Are you ready for it? When filing taxes or managing payroll, understanding and using the right forms is essential. One form, in particular, is relatively common, yet often misunderstood. This article will explain what a W9 form is, who needs to fill one out, and why it’s important for businesses and individuals alike. Read on to learn more about this important document!

What is a W9 Form?

A W-9 form is an IRS document used to collect information from individuals or businesses. This includes their name, address, employer identification number (EIN), and other vital information. This information is used when filing taxes or preparing payroll documents. It’s important to provide accurate information on the form in order to ensure proper tax reporting throughout the year. The form enables any payments made to a business to be reported to the proper federal, state, and local agencies on time.

w9 form

Who Needs to Fill Out Form W-9 -Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification Form

Any supplier, contractor, or small business owner who receives payments from a company should fill out Form W-9. This form must be filled out in order to receive payment from companies that you do business with. In addition to this, all individuals claiming tax treaty benefits on their income tax return must also complete this form.

  • Independent contractors providing services to businesses. Independent contractors are self-employed workers who are not employed by a company but instead provide freelance or contract services to businesses
  • Payments from various income sources. Individuals that are receiving money and payments from real estate transactions, cancellation of debt, dividends, mortgage interest, and other income sources such as royalties must provide a W9 to the payer.
  • Employees of a business. If the business does not withhold taxes from their income, an employee will need to fill out a W9 Form. This allows the payer to know how much taxes must be paid.
  • Investment advisors and financial institutions. Investment advisors and financial institutions such as banks and credit unions must provide a W9 Form to every customer in order to properly report any income received.
  • Limited Liability Companies. Any LLCs must fill out a W9 Form for their owners in order to report any income received. This ensures that the proper taxes are paid.
  • Estates or Trusts. If a person has received funds from an estate or trust, they will need to report those funds via a W9 tax form. While a trust or estate does not have to issue a payment, any payments made need to be reported.

How to Fill Out a W9 Tax Form

When filling out a W9 tax form, it is important to pay close attention to all of the information requested. Incorrect information could delay your tax return. Below are the items you will need to fill in to complete the form:

Download the W9 tax form here

Your Name

Enter your full legal name in the appropriate box as shown on your income taxes. If you are an LLC, enter the LLC’s name instead to ensure compliance with tax laws. Make sure all names are spelled correctly and accurately.

Business Name

The business name should be included if it differs from your legal name indicated on line one. If it is the same, you can leave it blank.

Federal Tax Classification

In this section, you will need to check the box with the correct tax classification for the person listed in the name section of your form. Classification options include Individual/sole proprietor or single-member LLC, C Corporation, S Corporation, Partnership, Trust/estate, Limited liability company, and Others.

Exemption Codes

Here you will input the codes for any exemptions you will be claiming. These codes are only applied to certain entities and not individuals. An exempt payee code could be entered here if the payee is exempt from having taxes withheld.


Enter your company’s mailing address here, including any applicable suite number to ensure that tax documents are sent to the proper location. Make sure this information is up to date, as it will be used for tax reporting. Getting this wrong could cause problems for you down the road.

List Account Number(s)

This step is optional and allows you to list the account numbers associated with any payments you plan to receive such as from a vendor. This is helpful for tracking purposes and can make filing taxes easier.

Correct Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)

You will need to enter your company’s EIN, Social Security Number, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number in this section. The TIN must match the name given in box one in order to insure that there are no issues receiving your refund.

Signature and Date

Lastly, don’t forget to sign and date your form. When you sign this document, you certify under penalties of perjury, that you have provided correct information and that you are the taxpayer listed in box one. Make sure to proofread your form for accuracy before submitting it.

When Should You Ask for a W-9?

Generally, you should ask for a W-9 from any party that you have business transactions with, including suppliers, contractors, and small businesses.

This ensures that you can report any payments made to these parties in a timely manner, as required by federal and state tax authorities.

In addition, individuals claiming tax treaty benefits on their income tax return will also need to complete a W9 form.

Penalties for Non-Compliant Form W-9

There are a number of potential penalties for failing to provide a completed and accurate W9 form.

These include fines from the Internal Revenue Service, delays in receiving payment from your business partners, and negative tax implications.

It is important to take the time to fill out this form properly in order to avoid any of these consequences.

IRS W-9 Form Tips

It is important to fill out your IRS form W-9 accurately and completely. Here are a few tips that will help you fill in the needed information.

  • Review the instructions carefully and thoroughly. This will ensure that you understand all of the information required on the form.
  • Make sure to use the latest version of the form. The IRS frequently updates the form, so make sure you are using the most up-to-date version.
  • Make sure to include all required information, including your name, address, and tax identification number.
  • If you are claiming tax treaty benefits or backup withholding, be sure to submit a completed W-9 with your income tax return.
  • Double-check all of the information you provide in order to reduce your chances of errors.
  • To make life easier, make sure to research and use the best tax software for self-employed people.
  • Finally, keep a copy of your completed W-9 for your records. You never know when you may need it.

How Does a W9 Form Compare to Other Types of Forms?

Compared to other types of tax forms, the W9 form is unique in that it is used solely for reporting purposes. It does not require income to be reported; instead, it provides the IRS with information about who received payments and how much was paid.

While the information collected on this form may be used for other tax-related purposes, the W9 itself is not used for filing tax returns or calculating tax debt.

Form W9 Vs Form W4

Unlike Form W4, which is used to calculate tax withholding for individuals, the W9 form is strictly for reporting purposes.

While both forms require information about an individual’s name, address, and tax identification number, the W9 form is typically used by businesses to report payments to other businesses, while the W4 form is used by individuals to report their income and tax-withholding status.

Other key differences between the W9 and W4 forms include the fact that the W9 form is generally only completed by businesses, while the W4 form may be completed by both individuals and businesses.

IRS W9 Form Vs IRS W2 Form

The dissimilarity between the IRS W-9 form and the IRS W2 form is that the W2 form is used to report wages and tax withheld for employees, while the W9 form is used to report payments made by businesses to other businesses or individuals.

Another difference is the fact that the W2 form must be sent to the IRS by an employer, while the W9 form is typically completed and sent directly to a payee by the payer.

Additionally, the W2 form also includes information about an employee’s tax withholding status and social security number, while the W9 form simply collects basic payment information.

Overall, the W9 and W2 forms are both important for ensuring tax compliance and reporting payments made throughout the year.

1099 Form Vs W-9 Form

The primary difference between the 1099 form and the W9 form is that the 1099 form is used to report payments made only to an independent contractor.

Both forms require some of the same basic information but the 1099 form requires more detailed reporting. Make sure you’re aware of the 1099 rules for employers.


How often does the W-9 need to be obtained?

The W-9 form must be obtained every year, or in the case of a new business or employee, whenever their information changes. It’s important to keep an updated and accurate record of this information in order to ensure proper tax filing and reporting throughout the year. Regardless of the frequency, it is good practice to obtain a new W-9 from your payees on an annual basis, in order to ensure that any changes to their information or tax status are reflected accurately. This is simple and it can save you a lot of time and hassle.

Do I have to report my W9 to the IRS?

No, you do not need to report your W-9 directly to the IRS. However, it is always a good idea to keep a copy of your completed W-9 for your records in case you need to refer to the information later on. If you’re not sure how to file taxes properly, you can get free tax advice from the IRS toll-free customer service line.

What Is the Most Secure Way to Submit Internal Revenue Service Form W-9?

The most secure way to submit a W-9 to the IRS is typically by e-file or via a secure online portal. This ensures that your sensitive personal and financial information remains protected at all times. You may also want to consider using encryption software or other security measures to further protect your data during transmission. Whatever method you choose, it is important to practice good online safety and security practices, such as using strong passwords and never sharing sensitive information via email.

Should I Enter My EIN or SSN on Form W-9?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the IRS may use either your EIN or SSN when reporting payments made to you. However, in general, it is best practice to always enter your EIN on the W-9 form, since it provides an extra layer of protection against identity theft and fraud. If you do not have an EIN and you are an individual or a sole proprietor, you can always use your SSN instead.

Can I Refuse to Fill Out a W9 Form?

Yes, you can refuse to fill out a W-9 Form. However, if you do so, the person or business who requested it may be obligated to withhold and pay taxes on the payments they make to you. Therefore, it is usually in your best interest to comply with the request for a W-9 Form and provide the necessary information.

Who Might Ask Me to Fill Out a W9 Form?

A W-9 Form request is typically sent by any entity that pays another person or business in a taxable year. This might include employers, banks, financial institutions, lenders, and other businesses which make payments to individuals or entities for services performed or goods purchased. Individuals may also be asked to fill out this form if they are receiving income from a company for rent payments, royalties, employment, etc. If you have any concerns or questions about why it has been requested, you should contact the entity directly for more information.

Do you have to report w9 on taxes?

Yes, if you receive income or payments for which a W-9 Form has been requested, that income must be reported on your tax return. This includes any payments received from employers, financial institutions, and other businesses for goods purchased and services performed. Rent payments, royalties, salaries from employment – all of these must be included in your taxable amount when filing taxes. Subtract any applicable tax deductions or credits to arrive at the total amount due.

Is a W-9 Used for Self-Employed Individuals?

Yes, a W-9 form is typically used for self-employed individuals and independent contractors. This is because they are typically responsible for paying their own taxes and reporting their income, instead of having it withheld by an employer. Whether you are a freelancer or a small business owner, it is important to understand the W-9 and how it can help you to ensure tax compliance and reporting. Be sure to research answers about estimated tax payments for small business owners and self-employed.


Final Words

In summary, the W9 form is a vital document for businesses and individuals. It allows them to accurately report payments made throughout the year and helps ensure that taxes are properly withheld or paid. While it may seem like an intimidating task at first, taking the time to understand what information needs to be provided on the form can help reduce potential penalties for mistakes or omissions.

Understanding how this form compares with other IRS forms such as Form W4 and 1099 will help you better prepare your tax returns in accordance with current regulations. With these tips in mind, completing a W-9 should no longer feel daunting but rather become part of your regular accounting routine. You can also relieve the anxiety of filling out the form by looking into the best tax software for self-employed individuals to make sure you are doing it right.


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This article, “What is a W9 Form and How is it Used?” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source: Small Business Trends

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