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IRS Form W9

IRS Form W9 is similar to the Form W-4 [1] that is used for employees, but does not lead to withholding.

What is a W9 Form?

Form W-9 is used to request a tax identification number and other information that can later be used to populate tax forms such as 1099s [2].

When do you Use a W9 Form?

Business Owners and other people who hire independent contractors use the Form W-9 to collect the contractor’s information. Independent contractors who are US Citizens or resident aliens fill out a Form W-9, while others may fill out a Form W-8. The IRS W9 is also used to collect information from trusts, estates and corporations who receive income from a business.

Typically business owners distribute W-9 Forms when they expect to pay out more than $600 in freelance income [3], thus requiring them to file a 1099 [4] with the IRS.

Financial institutions may also request the completion of Form W-9, and you may have to fill out an IRS Form W9 for mortgage interest [5] paid, acquisition or abandonment of secured property, cancellation of debt [6] or contributions to an IRA.

Requesting a Form W9

If you need someone to fill out a Form W-9, you may download the Form w9 pdf [7] and send it to them or have them download it and send it back to you. The business owner/employer who requests the form does not have to submit it to the IRS unless the IRS requests it. However, you should keep all completed Form W-9s on file in case that request comes.

How to Fill Out a W-9

  1. Download the 2013 W9 form from the IRS [7]. Check the appropriate box for your classification. Individuals serving as independent contractors should check individual/sole proprietor.
  2. Check the box if you are an exempt payee (exempt from backup withholding [8])
  3. Fill out your address
  4. Fill out your Tax ID number. For individuals this is your Social Security number. For businesses it is your Employer Identification Number. For trusts or estates it could be a different number provided by the IRS.
  5. Read the certification and sign the Form W-9.
  6. Submit the Form W-9 to the person or business that requested it.

IRS Resources