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IRS Form W9 (2023)

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IRS Form W9 (2023)

Updated September 13, 2023

An IRS form W-9, normally called a W9, is a document provided by individuals or entities to another individual or entity so that information may be reported for tax purposes. W9s are most commonly used for independent contractors but are also used in real estate transactions, by banks, and even in legal settlements.

Table of Contents

W9 Requirements

A W9 is used by individuals and businesses who are required to file information returns with the Internal Revenue Service. These are used to report income or other transactions that happen during the tax year.

W9 Required

  • Independent Contractors: Businesses hiring freelancers or vendors may request a W9 to obtain the TIN or SSN in order to report payments to the IRS using a 1099-NEC.
  • Banking: A W9 may be required by financial institutions in order to report income paid via capital gains, dividends, or interest. A 1099-DIV is normally submitted to the IRS.
  • Rental Income: If you have a property management company for your rental, the company will request a W9 to record payments made, later reported on a 1099-MISC.
  • Real Estate Transactions: In the sale of a property, a W9 for the buyer/seller may be requested to report transactions like the proceeds of a sale to the IRS via a 1099-S.
  • Legal Settlements: If you receive money for a legal settlement, the payor may need to request a W9 for tax reporting purposes, likely on a 1099-MISC.

W9 Not Required

W9s and succeeding 1099s are not required to be collected or payments to be reported under the following circumstances:

  • Employees: Employee-employer relationships require information about tax withholding that is completed through a Form W4.
  • Personal Payments: Payments to friends or reimbursing someone for personal services do not usually require reporting of payments.[1]
  • Tax-Exempt Organizations: Payments made to charities or qualified nonprofits typically do not require a W9 form.[2]
  • Under IRS Threshold: The IRS reporting threshold is different in some areas. Most commonly, businesses paying for services do not need to collect a W9 or report income under $600.[3]

w9 requirements

W9 Form Parts

A W9 form is broken into three areas — identifying information (including name and business classification), the TIN or EIN of the contractor, and the signature portion.

Identifying Information

On lines 1-7, personal identifying information is collected, including:

  1. Name
  2. Business Name
  3. Federal Tax Classification
  4. Exemptions
  5. Address
  6. City/State/Zip
  7. Account Numbers

Part 1

The contractor or business must enter their TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number), which must match the name given on line 1 and is usually the taxpayer’s SSN or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) for those that are ineligible for an SSN.

Part 2

A valid signature and date must be applied in order for the form to be legally valid. The date should be marked as the day the form is being provided to the requestor.

When to Collect a W9

Collect a W9 form before payments are submitted. If a business or individual makes business-related payments to an individual, a contractor, or another entity, information must be collected on a W9 to be later submitted via a 1099 Form during tax time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can a W9 be signed electronically?

The form may be signed, dated, and sent electronically and does not require a wet signature.

What happens if a contractor refuses to provide a W9?

Refusing to provide a W9 can create compliance and reporting issues for the paying party. Payors may address W9 submission refusals in the following manner:

  • Backup Withholding: Invalid TINs or refusal to provide a W9 require the payor to initiate backup withholding, whereby 24% of the contractor’s payment is withheld and paid to the IRS by the payor.[4]
  • Termination: The payor may terminate or suspend the vendor’s or independent contractor’s services.

What if the W9 is incorrect?

If a W9 provided by a payee has deliberately false information, such as a false TIN, the payee could face penalty of perjury.[5] If a submitted W9 has a name discrepancy or any other error, it should be resubmitted to the payor.

Are W9 forms different every year?

The IRS’s most updated revision of the W9 form was in October 2018. This form is the current version that is used for all succeeding tax years.

What happens if a W9 is NOT collected?

If W9s are not collected and transactional information is not reported to the IRS, penalties may apply.[6]

How long should the form be kept?

W9 forms should be kept for at least three years following the tax year for which the W9 was used.


  1. https://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/news/tas-tax-tip-use-caution-when-paying-or-receiving-payments-from-friends-or-family-members-using-cash-payment-apps/
  2. https://www.irs.gov/charities-and-nonprofits
  3. https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/reporting-payments-to-independent-contractors
  4. https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/backup-withholding#:~:text=What%20is%20backup%20withholding%3F,tax%20due%20on%20this%20income.
  5. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1586.pdf
  6. https://www.irs.gov/payments/information-return-penalties
  7. https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/how-long-should-i-keep-records
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