TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Jobs and Career / What is the Purpose of an IRS W-9 Form?

What is the Purpose of an IRS W-9 Form?

Updated for Tax Year 2015


OVERVIEW

Form W-9 - Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification - is one of the most commonly used IRS forms.


Form W-9—Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification—is one of the most commonly used IRS forms. If you’ve ever been an employee of a company, you’ve probably completed a Form W-9. True to its name, individuals and entities use the form to provide their taxpayer identification number to entities that will pay them income during the tax year. Your employer uses your W-9 for payroll purposes but doesn't send the form to the Internal Revenue Service. The information is used to prepare employee paychecks during the year and W-2 forms at the end of the year. If you have your own business or work as an independent contractor, a client may request that you provide a W-9 so they can accurately report the payments they make to you.

Completing Form W-9

To complete Form W-9, you’ll need to enter your full name as shown on your federal income tax return on the first line. If you are operating a business under a separate name, you should enter that on the second line. In the next section, you select your tax classification. Most employed and self-employed taxpayers will select “Individual/Sole Proprietor”. Professionals who operate partnerships, corporations or estates should select the appropriate classification for their situation.

Taxpayer identification number

After you complete the mailing address section, you’ll need to enter your taxpayer identification number, or TIN. Generally, this is your Social Security number. Nonresident aliens who do not have Social Security numbers should enter their assigned TIN in this field.

If you’re running your own business and you have an employer identification number, you should enter that number next to the EIN field. Sign and date the form at the bottom.

Backup withholding

The IRS sometimes requires the person or entity requesting the W-9 to withhold a percentage of your earnings to pay your federal income taxes. This is known as backup withholding. You will be notified by the IRS if you are subject to backup withholding. If so, you need to inform the company that you are providing the W-9 to that they need to withhold taxes from the money that they pay you.

Submitting Form W-9

If you are an employee, you’ll usually submit your completed Form W-9 to your supervisor or your company’s human resources department. Your employers typically will keep the completed form in your personnel file for reference during the payroll process.

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $54.99$34.99*
Start for Free

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Free 1040EZ/A + Free State offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; Offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or efile and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected 3/18/16. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal efile of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for efiling state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected 3/18/16. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with efile and direct deposit; tax refund timeframes will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice service is available via phone for your toughest tax questions; fees may apply. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2014 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • Benefit Assist: After you file, TurboTax automatically shows you a full list of government benefits you may qualify for, like Food Stamps or reduced phone & utilities. Plus, we help you apply, saving you time and making it easier than ever to get more money! Estimate based on calculation of Benefit Assist users from tax year 2013 and published reports of average benefit and savings amounts from federal and state programs. Benefit Assist users who received one or more federal or state benefits received on average $576 (based on survey March-June 2015). Actual amounts and qualifications based on your individual situation; some individuals will not qualify. Feature may not be available for all customers.