Why are clients asking for a W-9 and what the heck is it?

 
What is a W-9 and why are clients asking for one?
 

So your past or current client wants a W-9

and you're sitting there like...

I totally remember having that same face when someone asked me for a W-9 when I was a Virtual Assistant and didn't have a clue.

What is a W-9?

A W-9 is a form from the IRS that let's people know what type of business you have (sole proprietor, LLC, S Corp, C Corp, etc) and other important info like your business name, address, and EIN (Employer Identification Number).

SPECIAL NOTE: If you don't have an EIN and are using your social security number instead, PLEASE get an EIN! It takes 5 minutes and is totally FREE! You can apply here.

Here's a look at a W-9. You can download one here.

example of a w-9

Why do they need this information?

Have you ever heard of a 1099-MISC form?

It's the form a business has to file if they've paid a contractor to do services. It states how much the business paid the contractor to make sure that income gets taxed.

So if you are a sole proprietor or LLC and you were paid by cash, check, or ACH direct deposit, you will probably get a 1099-MISC.

Then why is there a place to check for corporations?

Most people don't want to remember what type of business you have!

So the W-9 becomes a blanket way for them to quickly figure out who needs a 1099-MISC form and who is in the clear.

If they're ever audited, they will have proof that all of their contractors were accounted for, and those that didn't get a 1099-MISC were in fact corporations.

Do I need to ask for a w-9 from someone?

Did you hire someone to provide you with services this year?

A coach, virtual assistant, ad manager, social media manager, designer, copywriter, etc - you need to ask all of these for a W-9 so you can know if you need to file a 1099-MISC form.

Need more info on 1099-MISC? We've got you covered with this post.

When do I need to ask for it?

The easiest way is to ask when you first hire someone. You can keep all of your W-9s in a cloud folder and refer back to them in January.

Most people will wait until December or even January to ask for W-9s.

Regardless of when you ask,

1099-Misc forms are due January 31, so you must have them before this!!

 


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