What is W-9 Form?
Whether you work as an employee, or a freelancer, you must work with Form W-9.
A W-9 is used to request the taxpayer tax identification number (TIN) of a US person, and to certify that the number is correct. Your TIN is either your Social Security Number, or your company’s Employer Identification Number (EIN).
A “person”, according to the W-9 instructions, includes:
- An individual who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien
- A partnership, corporation, company, or association created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States
- Any estate (other than a foreign estate)
- A domestic trust
A requester is anyone required to file an information return, and a payee is anyone required to provide a taxpayer identification number (TIN) to the requester. As the IRS explains, there are a number of reasons why a requester may need your TIN to file tax-related documents:
- If you work as an independent contractor or a self-employed person, you’ll receive a 1099-MISC that documents your earnings. Starting in tax year 2020, your earnings will be reported on Form 1099-NEC.
- If you receive interest income, the payer must send a Form 1099-INT. You’ll also receive Form 1099-DIV for any dividend payments.
- Form 1099-S is generated for proceeds from the sale of real estate.
- Mortgage interest you paid is reported to you on Form 1098.
- Form 1099-A is issued for the acquisition or abandonment of secured property.
- Cancellation of debt requires a 1099-C form.
- If you make contributions to an IRA, you’ll receive Form 5498.
In each case, the entity that creates the tax form (requester) needs your TIN.
How to Complete the W-9
Here’s the top portion of a W-9:
On lines 1 and 2, you enter either your name or your company’s name. You indicate your federal tax classification on line 3. If you’re filing a W-9 for your company, verify your firm’s business structure (C corporation, LLC, etc.) and complete line 3.
Check the W-9 instructions to determine if line 4 applies to your situation. Your address is posted to lines 5 and 6. Line 7 and the requester’s name and address are optional.
Below are parts 1 and 2 of the form. Note that your signature is your certification that the information you provide is correct.
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