What is a W-9 Form?

what is a w9 form


A W-9 form is a document used for tax purposes by businesses and individuals to provide their taxpayer identification number to clients or employers.

If you’re unsure about what a W-9 form is and when it’s needed, keep reading to learn more.


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As a business owner, there are several forms and documents that you must be familiar with to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations. One such form is the W-9 form. In this article, we will discuss “what is a W9 form,” its purpose, and when it’s required. We’ll also talk about the penalties for not using a W-9 form and how ZenBusiness can help you with your business needs.

What is a W-9?

A W-9 form, also known as a Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, is a tax form used by businesses to request information from vendors, contractors, or freelancers they work with. The form requires the recipient to provide their name, address, taxpayer identification number (TIN), and other information that may be necessary for tax reporting purposes.

What is a W-9 used for?

A W-9 form is used by businesses to collect the necessary information to report payments made to vendors, contractors, or freelancers to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The form is used to obtain the recipient’s TIN, which can be either a Social Security number (SSN) or an employer identification number (EIN), and is used to report income paid to the recipient.

When is a W-9 required?

A W-9 form is required when a business pays a vendor, contractor, or freelancer $600 or more for services rendered during the tax year. It’s also required when a business pays interest, dividends, or other types of income to an individual or a single-member LLC that hasn’t elected to be taxed as a corporation.

Penalties for Not Using a W-9

If a business fails to obtain a completed W-9 form from a vendor, contractor, or freelancer, it may be subject to penalties. The penalties can range from fines to legal action, and the business may also be required to pay taxes on the payments made to the recipient. It’s essential to ensure compliance by obtaining a W-9 form before making payments to vendors, contractors, or freelancers.

We can help!

At ZenBusiness, we understand that starting and running a business can be overwhelming. That’s why we offer an all-in-one subscription platform to help you with your business needs. We can assist you with forming your LLC, obtaining an employer identification number (EIN), appointing a registered agent, and providing ongoing compliance services to keep you in good standing. Additionally, we offer website and invoicing services to help run and grow your business with ease. Get started with a $0 LLC formation today.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

W9 Form FAQs

  • No, a W-9 and 1099 are not the same. A W-9 form is used to provide a taxpayer identification number (TIN) to someone who is required to file an information return with the IRS. On the other hand, a 1099 form is an information return that reports income earned from self-employment or independent contractor work. A W-9 form is used to request information, while a 1099 is used to report information.

  • Filling out a W-9 form does not automatically make you liable for taxes. It’s simply a way for a company or entity to obtain your tax identification number, which they will use to report any payments made to you that are subject to taxes. Whether or not you have to pay taxes on those payments depends on a variety of factors, including the type of income earned and your overall tax situation.

  • Any individual or business that receives income from another entity may be required to fill out a W-9 form. This includes independent contractors, freelancers, and other self-employed individuals who are not considered employees of the company or entity paying them. Additionally, banks and financial institutions may require W-9 forms from account holders to verify their identities for tax purposes.

  • A W-9 form is not required in every situation. For example, if you are an employee of a company, you would not be required to fill out a W-9 form since the company already has your tax information on file. Additionally, if you’re not receiving any income that is subject to tax, you would not be required to fill out a W-9 form. Finally, if you are a foreign individual or entity that is not subject to U.S. taxes, you would not be required to fill out a W-9 form.

Tax Information and Resources