Form W-9: Definition and How It Works

w9 tax form meaning

For example, if an employer has five contractors and doesn’t give them 1099-NECs, the employer could pay fees of up to $2,850. The distinction between W-9 and 1099 tax forms lies in who provides them and what kinds of financial and tax information each form contains. A W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, is a tax form that companies use to request a tax identification number, or TIN, from a taxpayer with whom they’re doing business. These penalties can add up quickly, and interest can also accrue on unpaid tax amounts, making the total amount owed much higher over time.

w9 tax form meaning

You have 60 days to receive a TIN for interest, dividends, and tradeable securities transactions payments before backup withholding is deducted. The individual or business you are doing business with uses the W-9 to collect some of your personal information, the most important of which is your taxpayer identification number (TIN). The purpose of a W-9 is to gather tax information from a vendor.

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Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax, goes hand in hand with backup withholding. If a contractor’s payments are subject to backup withholding, use Form 945 to report the amount you collect from the independent contractor for the withholding. Any independent contractor performing services that will total more than $600 in a calendar year must fill out a W9 form. Individuals who receive miscellaneous income such as royalties, rent payments, or prizes and awards totaling more than $600 annually, must also complete a W9. Still, facing tax preparation season each year never gets any easier—after all, most people don’t open businesses because of a passion for filing out tax forms (unless, of course, you start an accounting business). If an individual receives income that doesn’t come from a salary or wages, they must submit a 1099-NEC with their tax returns.

Many of the best accounting software platforms and tax services make it easy to complete and file 1099 and W-9 forms. These platforms also may streamline the corresponding payments, and their compliance tools will keep you heeding regulations year-round. The result is invaluable time back for w9 tax form meaning other business needs and a near guarantee that your tax paperwork will be correct every step of the way. W-9s and 1099s are tax forms that are required when employers work with an independent contractor. Form W-9 is completed by the independent contractor and provides details on who they are.

W-9 Form: Who Has to Fill It Out?

A sole proprietor business operates under the owner’s Social Security number and hasn’t been registered as another type of business. A TIN may be a social security number (SSN), individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN), or employer identification number (EIN/FEIN). The person or business paying you is responsible for requesting the W-9 Form from you. However, the requester has no obligation to file the W-9 with the IRS.

The information is used to fill out Form 1099 and is used for independent contractors, freelancers, or unrelated vendors; not employees. The W9 is a required form that must be filled out to receive a 1099. As an independent contractor or freelancer, you’ll receive a W-9 form when you begin your work from the company using your services. Then in January, you’ll receive your 1099-MISC form that documents your annual earnings. When you file your federal taxes, attach each of the 1099 forms you have received. A Form W-9 must be completed by one party and furnished to a second party if the second party is going to furnish specific types of payments in the future.

Where do you send Form W-9?

When a payer receives a completed Form W-9 from a contractor or vendor, they should check that all information has been provided. We’ll handle your financial reporting for you, so when it comes time to file taxes, you have everything you need to make it a breeze. These same reports can be used every day to optimize your business and maximize your cash flow.

Even though there are no deadlines for Form W-9 submissions, independent contractors should be aware of the quarterly tax deadlines that come with freelancing. While learning about Form W-9, you may want a refresher on self-employed accounting basics and freelance tax deductions as well. You must collect a TIN if you pay a contractor or freelancer more than $600 annually. If the contractor hasn’t provided a TIN but has given a SSN, you can use that number to process a 1099.

How to Fill Out Form W-9

A W-9 form is crucial to filing your taxes if you’re a contract worker, a freelancer or self-employed. The companies you work with do not have to withhold paycheck taxes for you, and the W-9 serves as an agreement that you are responsible for paying those taxes on your own. At the end of the tax year, the business you did work for will use the information on your W-9 to complete a 1099-MISC. A financial institution may also require you to report interest, dividends and capital gains earned by their customers. The title of Form W-9 is officially Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification. Employers use this form to get the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) from contractors, freelancers and vendors.

w9 tax form meaning

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Who Must Complete a W-9 Form?

If you are a US-based company working with freelancers, this question is pertinent to your business. As you probably already know, staying on the IRS’s good side makes life much easier. If you do consulting or gig work for a business without being on its payroll, you will likely be asked to complete a W-9. The W9 form is one of a business owner’s most powerful tools for obtaining and storing accurate tax information. Check out our guide to the W9 form and make your next filing season manageable—and even, dare say, a breeze.

  • If you’re not sure what type of business entity you should select, the IRS has provided a summary table for guidance as part of the Form W-9’s instructions.
  • As a small business owner, it is important to collect a W-9 for any person or entity you pay more than $600 in a tax year.
  • Most employers pay independent contractors solely nonemployee income for services provided, though all of the other categories listed qualify as 1099 income if paid out.
  • The W-2 is what employers send to employees to provide pay records for use in completing a tax return.
  • An independent contractor is someone who completes work for your company but isn’t held to the same requirements as a full-time employee.

She is a former Google Tech Entrepreneur and she holds an MSc in International Marketing from Edinburgh Napier University. In this guide, we’ll explain the difference between W-9 vs. W-2 forms, who uses each and when to file them. Planning out your taxes is just one aspect of your financial plan. From tax deductions to direct deposit, BambooHR Payroll makes it easy to manage your team’s total compensation in a single, centralized system. Rachel Weatherly is a tax product specialist with Credit Karma. She studied accounting and finance at Western Carolina University and has also worked as a tax analyst.

Employers are nevertheless advised to use a W-9 to obtain a contractor’s TIN or SSN, because filing false information on a W-9 is illegal. Using the proper forms can protect employers from facing penalties for false information filed with the IRS. Independent contractors, not employers, are liable for incorrect information provided on Form W-9. It’s also a good idea to retain a copy of any tax form you complete throughout the year. There’s probably no one right answer for how long you should keep a copy of a W-9.

Be mindful of how you distribute the form to the requesting party, and take care of protecting your sensitive information and accurate tax reporting status. This might have happened if you didn’t report all your interest and dividends on a previous tax return. If you haven’t received this letter, and if you provide your tax identification number to the requester of Form W-9, then you are not subject to backup withholding. If you are subject to backup withholding, cross out item two in part two of Form W-9 before submitting it.

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