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W9 (Including Requirements)

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Disclaimer: Bonsai is not a law firm, does not provide legal services or advice, and does not provide or participate in legal representation

Nothing is more satisfying than ensuring you can sleep comfortably at night in peace because you don’t have to deal with the IRS; or that the IRS are not on your back because of tax evasion. Over the years, it has become evident that tax evasion is not only a problem faced by corporates but also individuals. In as much as corporates have the capacity and resources needed to file their tax returns on time, there have been cases where they haven’t and it has caused them lots of money. As such, it’s important for individuals to ensure their tax returns are filed every month and on time, to avoid legal issues and penalties.

Most times, however, individuals are more prone to tax evasion as they are not aware of the W9 requirements. Being in the know can help save you lots of money and prevent you from going to jail. Just in case you are wondering what the W9 requirements are, worry no more as we will explain that to you in-depth. The W9 form is also referred to as the Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification. As such, the W9 requirements are essentially your personal details. The first W9 requirement is your name and your Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number. Your Social Security Number is what identifies you on the IRS systems and is used to make payments to you. It’s important to get an SSN/EIN and ensure that when filling out the W9 forms, that your information is correct to avoid penalties. In the event that you don’t have a taxpayer identification number, you can easily apply for one from either the Social Security Administration, or the Internal Revenue Service. When filling out the W9 form as a business, you will be required to write the business name in the second section.

The second W9 requirement is to check the correct box for your federal tax classification. There are seven different types of tax classification and you will only be required to check one box. Most employed or self-employed individuals fall under the individual/sole proprietor or single member LLC federal tax classification. If you operate any real estate, partnership or corporation, you will be required to select the right box. This makes it easy for the requester to file and deduct the right tax. Any entity making any payment to you should pay what is called the backup withholding. The backup withholding is money that is withheld to you by the company paying you from any payment made to you. This is also one of the W9 requirements. The IRS will always notify you when you are subject to backup withholding. If you are, it’s important to let your requester know this so as to allow them withhold 28% of your pay otherwise you will be penalized.

Another key W9 requirement is your address or location. If ever you fill out a W9 form and later change your details, be it your address, name, or any other detail, you will be required to fill out a new W9 form to ensure that tour information is up to date. This also helps track all your payments and any tax returns filed on your behalf. You also have a section on the form where you are required to fill in your accounts and the requesters name and address. However, these are optional. Still, it’s advisable to fill out the requester’s details as this can help you keep track of who you issued your details to. After you have filled in all the sections mentioned above, the last and most important W9 requirement is your signature and the date you filled the form. Out of the four paged document, all the details you need to fill out are on the first page. The W9 form is so simple and easy to fill.