Contracted individuals or businesses that receive payment for work done for another business entity are required to file a Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification with the company who hired them. In most cases, the hiring company then provides an information return to the Internal Revenue Service, often on Form 1099, and reports the amount it paid to these entities. Form W-9 contains the company's name, address and taxpayer identification number.
Any contractor or other business entity that you paid to do work for your company should supply a Form W-9 to you upon request, so you can feel confident you are reporting the accurate information to the IRS.
Asking a business entity for their taxpayer identification number (TIN) is a simple process. You can download and print the W-9 directly from the IRS website and mail the form to the company with your request. As an option, you can also provide the link to the downloadable and fillable form on the IRS website. The form itself is a legal and standardized way for individuals and businesses to provide this information.
Include a brief letter explaining why you are asking for the information. Let payees know that by providing the information they are not only ensuring that you have their correct identifying information, but that they are also certifying their status as a U.S. citizen or other U.S. person. Also, be sure to request a W-9 from S-corporations and C-corporations even though you are not required to report payments to them on Form 1099. The W-9 provides proof that the vendor is not an employee and also verifies its eligibility as a U.S. citizen or other U.S. person as defined by IRS tax code.
Companies are allowed to create their own form requesting the pertinent required information as long as it is substantially similar and contains the correct certification information as worded on the official form. Companies may choose this option if they are already gathering this information for account signature cards or other business forms. Check the official Form W-9 for the correct language to use in the certification section.
If you have a preference, specify how you would like the payee to return the form to you. Due to concerns about identity theft and information security, use encrypted email or a secure dropbox so that Social Security numbers or TINs remain private. Payees can also return the form to you in person or via regular mail.
If entities refuse to return the form to you because they do not want to give out their tax identification number, make every effort to assure them of the security of their private information. Also, inform them that you are required to have the information to file your own company's tax documents. If they still refuse to provide the form, notify them that you may be required by the IRS to begin backup withholding on future payments. If this occurs, 24 percent of your payments to them are withheld by you and deposited with the IRS to achieve compliance.