Tax forms are an integral part of the United States’ taxation system. One such form that is frequently used is the W-9 tax form. This form is essential for tax purposes and is used to collect the necessary information from independent contractors and freelancers.
If you’re someone who has been asked to fill out a W-9 tax form, then you might be wondering what exactly it is, what information you need to provide, and why it’s important. In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know about the W-9 tax form, step by step.
What is the W-9 Tax Form?
The W-9 tax form is a document that is used by businesses to collect information from independent contractors and freelancers. It’s not an income tax form but rather a request for information to help businesses prepare Form 1099-MISC, which is used to report non-employee compensation to the IRS.
When a business pays a freelancer or independent contractor more than $600 in a tax year, it’s required by the IRS to report those payments on Form 1099-MISC. To do so, the business must first collect the contractor’s name, address, and Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), which is where the W-9 form comes in.
Step by Step Guide to Completing a W-9 Tax Form
Now that you know what the W-9 tax form is, let’s go through how to fill it out. The W-9 form is a straightforward document, and you can complete it in just a few minutes. Here are the steps you need to follow:
Step 1: Download the Form
The W-9 tax form is available on the IRS website. You can download the form by visiting the IRS website or by clicking on this link: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf
Step 2: Fill out your Name
The first thing you need to do is fill out your name. Make sure you use the name that appears on your tax return. If you’ve changed your name since your last tax return, you’ll need to provide your old name as well.
Step 3: Provide your Business Name
If you’re operating as a sole proprietor, you can simply leave this section blank. If you’re operating as a business entity, provide your business name.
Step 4: Provide your Address
Provide your complete mailing address, including your street address, city, state, and zip code.
Step 5: Provide your TIN
Your TIN is your Social Security Number (SSN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN). If you’re a sole proprietor, you can use your SSN. If you’re operating as a business entity, provide your EIN.
Step 6: Certify your Information
You need to certify that the information you’ve provided is correct by signing and dating the form.
Step 7: Submit the Form
Once you’ve completed the form, you’ll need to submit it to the business that requested it. Most businesses will accept the form electronically, so you can scan and email it.
Commonly Asked Questions About the W-9 Tax Form
Who needs to fill out a W-9 tax form?
Anyone who is an independent contractor or freelancer and expects to receive more than $600 in a tax year from a business needs to fill out a W-9 tax form.
What happens if I don’t fill out a W-9 tax form?
If you don’t fill out a W-9 tax form, the business that requested it will be unable to issue a 1099-MISC form, which could lead to problems with the IRS.
Can I fill out a W-9 tax form online?
Yes, you can fill out a W-9 tax form online. Most businesses will accept a scanned or electronically signed copy of the form.
Can I use a W-9 tax form for multiple businesses?
Yes, you can use the same W-9 tax form for multiple businesses. However, you’ll need to fill out a separate form for each business if you’re providing services as an independent contractor or freelancer.
What if I’m not a U.S. citizen?
If you’re not a U.S. citizen, you’ll still need to fill out a W-9 tax form if you’re an independent contractor or freelancer who receives payment from a U.S.-based business. However, you may need to provide additional documentation to prove your identity and eligibility to work in the United States.
What’s the difference between a W-9 and a W-4 tax form?
A W-9 tax form is used by independent contractors and freelancers to provide their TIN to businesses, while a W-4 tax form is used by employees to provide their withholding information to their employer.
How often do I need to fill out a W-9 tax form?
You only need to fill out a W-9 tax form once per business or client, unless your information changes.
What if I make a mistake on my W-9 tax form?
If you make a mistake on your W-9 tax form, you’ll need to fill out a new one with the correct information.
How long does a business need to keep my W-9 tax form on file?
Businesses need to keep W-9 tax forms on file for four years, according to IRS regulations.
Do I need to send a copy of my W-9 tax form to the IRS?
No, you don’t need to send a copy of your W-9 tax form to the IRS. The business that requested it will use the information you provided to complete and file Form 1099-MISC.