Disclaimer: Bonsai is not a law firm, does not provide legal services or advice, and does not provide or participate in legal representation
Different countries have different forms that they use to request the taxpayer for their personal information. The reason for this request is to ensure that individuals comply with the tax requirements of their countries. The IRS form W9 is what is also commonly known as the Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification and is a widely used IRS form. The Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification form is a must have for any US resident alien or US citizen. The form is used to verify your taxpayer information number, your tax classification and tax status. However, the Request for Taxpayer Identification Number isn’t what is submitted to the Internal Revenue Service but instead is what is used to record all payments that have been made to you for the services you have offered any entity.
You can download the Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification pdf form from the IRS Website. This form allows you to offer your services to different businesses as it has all your personal information in it. As an independent consultant or contractor or freelancer, most of your clients will issue you with a Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification form to fill and send it back to them, especially if they will be paying you $600 or more in any given financial year. Your clients are expected by law to withhold 28% tax from any payments made to you unless you are exempted form backup withholding by the IRS. In the event that you are subject to backup withholding, the IRS will inform you and it is then your duty to inform your clients. Your client will use the information on your W9 form to fill out the 1099-MISC form that they will then issue to the IRS. At the end of the financial year, the entity will also issue one to you.
The Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification form comes with instructions on how to fill it making the filling process easy. If however you require step by step filling guide, Investopedia’s article on filling out the W9 form, will come in handy. The four paged form will only require you to fill out your information on the first page. You will be required to fill in your name or your business name before ticking a box that defines your tax classification. After that, you will need to fill in your address details and your taxpayer identification number. If you are a freelancer or self-employed, your taxpayer identification number will be your Social Security Number (SSN). In the event that you own a company or any other entity, you will need to fill your Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Foreigners will need to apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) that will then be issued to them by the IRS. This only applies to US resident aliens who still need to fulfill their tax obligations to the federal state. You will also need to indicate whether you are subject to backup withholding or not and if you wish, write down the name of the requester on the form. The last section will require your signature and date. Signing the document is proof that all the information provided on the Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification form is correct. Once all this is done, you can then issue your requester with the form. It’s important to make sure that your requester and the purpose for requesting for your form are genuine. Keep in mind that the Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification carries all your sensitive information and if not carefully treated could lead to cases of identity theft. If you have doubts about your requester, you can hold on for a few days just to make sure you are not being made party of fraudulent deals.