How to Fill Out a W9

If you perform any work as an independent contractor, you will undoubtedly be asked to provide customers with a W9. Businesses are required to submit a form 1099-MISC for contractors that have been paid $600 or more during the year. The contractor may be asked to fill out a W9. The W9 will provide the name and tax information of the contractor so the business can prepare the 1099.

Here is a guide on how to fill out a W9:

Line 1: Name. You should put your name (not your business’s name) here if you are operating as a sole proprietor or single-member LLC taxed as a sole proprietor. Partnerships, multi-member LLCs, S Corps, and C Corps should put the business name in line 1.

Line 2:  Business Name. Put your business’s name or DBA here if you put your personal name in Line 1 or if you are doing business under a name that is different from the name in Line 1.

Line 3: Tax Classification. Check the appropriate box for your business’s tax classification. Sole proprietors and single-member LLCs that are not taxed as a C or S Corp should select the box for “Individual/sole proprietor or single-member LLC.” If your business is formed as a corporation and taxed as a C or S Corp, select either “C Corporation” or “S Corporation.” If your business is formed as an LLC but taxed as a partnership, S Corp, or C Corp, select the “Limited liability company” box and indicate the appropriate tax classification. This applies for single-member LLCs that are taxed as an S Corp or a C Corp.

Part I. Taxpayer Identification Number. For sole proprietors and single-member LLCs, you can enter your social security number or EIN if you have one. The IRS prefers a social security number, but putting the EIN instead is also acceptable. For all other entities, enter the EIN.

The W9 does not need to be submitted to the IRS. It only needs to be given to businesses that have paid you $600 or more so they can then issue you a 1099 and report the income to the IRS. If you are not sure if you need to fill out a W9, request a W9 from your contractors, or if you do not know your business’s entity or tax classification, you should consult with an attorney or tax professional.