How to Fill Out a W-9 Form for Your Small Business

by Isobel Phillips; Updated September 26, 2017

If your small business receives income from someone who needs to file an information return with the Internal Revenue Service, he might ask you to complete a W-9 form. The purpose of the form is to certify that your taxpayer identification number, or TIN, is correct; that you are not subject to backup withholding; or that you are claiming exemption from it.

Step 1

Obtain a W-9 form from the IRS.gov website. Type your information directly into the form and save a copy of it to your hard drive, or download and print out the form and then complete it by hand.

Step 2

Enter your name, as shown on your income tax return, on the first line. Enter your business name if different on the second line.

Step 3

Check the relevant box to designate your business classification as a sole proprietor, C corporation, S corporation, partnership, trust/estate or limited liability company. If you are an exempt payee, check the box on the right side of the form.

Step 4

Enter your address, including city, state and ZIP code, on the following two lines. You have the option to enter the W-9 requester's name and address to the right of yours.

Step 5

Enter your TIN. If you are a sole proprietor, enter either your Social Security number or your employer identification number. If your business is a corporation or partnership, enter its employer identification number, or EIN. If you are a resident alien who is not entitled to a Social Security number, enter your IRS individual taxpayer identification number.

Step 6

Complete Part II: Certification. Cross out the second item if the IRS has given you notice that you are subject to backup withholding. You do not have to sign the certification for most payments other than interest and dividends, and real estate transactions, but the requester may still ask you to sign.

Step 7

Deliver the form to the requester, not to the IRS.

About the Author

Isobel Phillips has been writing technical documentation, marketing and educational resources since 1980. She also writes on personal development for the website UnleashYourGrowth. Phillips is a qualified accountant, has lectured in accounting, math, English and information technology and holds a Bachelor of Arts honors degree in English from the University of Leeds.