W-9 is an official form issued by the IRS. It is widely used in American income taxation system. If you are an independent contractor (freelancer, self-employed consultant, short-term contractor, owner of a small business), your employer will send it to request your taxpayer’s details and report about the income you received during a fiscal year.
The blank is also used by the taxpayers to report about taxable recurring revenue (i.e. residual income), such as dividends, affiliate payments, interests, etc. Another, not so common purpose of W-9, is backup withholding exemption and avoiding.
The document contains basic information about the independent contractor, his/her individual tax ID/SSN/EIN, information on backup withholding, and employer details (optionally). It is a simple one-page paper, easy to fill out, which has to be completed only once per year.
All you need to know about W-9: short FAQ on this blank
- What is W-9?
It is the official IRS paper, aimed to request taxpayer information from independent contractors.
- Where do I get this document from?
The company that employs you as a freelancer will provide you with IRS w-9 form 2018. Also, you can download printable w 9 form 2018 from official Internal Revenue Service website. If you decide to complete an e-copy, there is fillable w 9 form in pdf format. Downloaded PDF file is editable, so you can write in all your data to it and send it by email.
- Can W-9 expire?
No, it does not expire.
- Is there a deadline for W-9 submitting?
Yes, the document has to be mailed to a specific date. W-9 for the current fiscal year has to be filled out and sent before January 31 of the next year. For example, the deadline for submitting the docs for 2018 fiscal year will be January 31, 2019.
- How often do I have to fill out and submit this paper?
Normally you have to do that once a year. But in case if some of your personal or business details were changed (e.g. you changed your surname after marriage, your office moved to another address or your business entity type was changed), you are obliged to request and fill out a new one to update these details.
- Whom do I have to send the blank?
You have to return the document to your employer. Please do not try to send it to the Internal Revenue Service.
- What if I forget or refuse to submit my taxpayer’s info?
You will be subject to the monetary penalty ($50).
- Do I have to keep a copy of the paper?
You are not obliged to do that, however, it is recommended to keep copies to track your income from different sources.
- Can someone see or steal my personal data from the document I’m going to mail?
The IRS is a governmental organization, they protect all the data and do not disclose or transfer taxpayers’ data to third parties. To enhance security level, avoid completing the blanks online on the untrusted open source websites. If you still are concerned about privacy, use printed papers instead of e-docs.