What is Form W-9?
A Form W-9 is used by the IRS for taxation purposes. They are not filed directly with the IRS, but they are collected by companies that hire freelance workers or independent contractors, or for earnings by financial institutions.
The Form W-9 isn’t used by the employee; rather, it’s used to get information about them. A properly filled form will contain the independent contractor’s address, name and social security number. An alternate form can be used if it is similar enough to the standard W-9 form. The company uses the information contained on the form to create a 1099 form that lists the earnings that the contractor has received for the year. Copies of the 1099 are sent to both the IRS and the contractor.
The W-9 differs from the W-4 in that it does not withhold any taxes. As it is used by freelance workers, the worker is responsible for the taxation of their income. They are usually required to pay a quarterly estimated tax to the IRS and/or their state tax authority, via the 1040-ES form. W-9 is only used for independent contractors that are United States citizens or resident aliens. Foreign freelancers might have to fill out a W-8 form, but in most cases they just file the W-9.
Form W-9 needs to be signed, but unlike the W-4, the signing does not have to be witnessed by the employer. Most freelance workers send in a copy of the W-9, and most employers only need to keep them if they pay the contractor more than $600 per year. Amounts less than that do not require a W-9 filing; the form can be easily found on the IRS website.
Download Form W-9 at: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf