What Is a W-9 — And Do You Need To Fill One Out?

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When a business hires an independent contractor and pays them a total of $600 or more annually, the IRS requires the business to submit Form 1099. In order to collect the contractor’s information to turn in the 1099 form, the business must request the contractor fill out Form W-9.

Here’s what you need to know about the W-9 form, one of the most common tax forms.

What Is a W-9 Form?

Independent contractors provide their personal information, including their taxpayer identification, on a Form W-9 — the Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification — so that the hiring agent can report to the IRS all of the money that they paid to freelance employees over the course of the calendar year.

The hiring agent will also use the details on the W-9 form to complete Form 1099, which is then used by the independent contractor to fill out their income tax return.

Who Needs To Complete a W-9 Form?

Any non-employee who is receiving pay and classified as a U.S. citizen or resident alien will need to fill out a W-9 form. Freelancers and independent contractors are the most common classifications.

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Classes can also include individuals receiving income from the following:

You may also need to fill out a W-9 for an estate or domestic trust.

How To Fill Out a W-9 Form

To complete a W-9 form correctly, you’ll need to provide the following information:

The IRS issues penalties for false or incorrect information on W-9 forms, so contractors must ensure all information supplied is accurately reported.

Where Can I Get a W-9 Form?

You can get a W-9 from the following sources:

Individuals who fill out a W-9, unlike those who have to fill out Form W-4, will not have any taxes deducted from their pay. Instead, freelancers who expect to owe taxes of $1,000 or more when their returns are filed will need to estimate taxes quarterly and remit them to the IRS using Form 1040-ES.

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Joel Anderson contributed to the reporting for this article.