Introducing the Form W-9
A few weeks ago I explained what an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form W-4 accomplishes and introduced why SimpleForms wants to simplify the W-4 during the onboarding process for full-time employees. You can read about the W-4 here. This week we are going to introduce the IRS Form W-9 and why SimpleForms wants to simplify this form for all freelancers and independent contractors (or contingent employees). The Form W-9 is arguably the most frequently used tax form out there because not only do independent contractors use this form to get paid, but most full-time employees are requested to provide a Form W-9 simply for their Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). Any organization that pays you income (legally) in the United States must furnish your TIN for payroll purposes (e.g. distributing paychecks, producing a W-2, reporting payments for independent contractors). To make matters a little bit confusing, an individual’s TIN is usually their Social Security Number (SSN). If you can get past that redundant use of language, than your on your way to successfully completing an accurate Form W-9. Other information requested includes your current address, your business name (if applicable), tax classification (usually Individual/Sole Proprietor, but there are exceptions), and an Employer Identification Number (if applicable). Like any of these tax forms, there will be individuals that have more unique situations that change your answers to the Form W-9 questions. Be aware of whether you are a nonresident alien, or if you are operating a partnership, corporation or estate. Another key concern is whether backup withholding is applicable to your situation, which means that the IRS requests you to ensure you have a percentage of your earnings withheld to pay federal income taxes.
Aside from some of the more “unique” situations covered, the Form W-9 should be far easier to fill out and submit when compared to the Form W-4. Regardless of the relative simplicity of the Form W-9, WTF is here to improve the aspects of this form that can still throw someone off. The key to handling the Form W-9 with ease is using the SimpleForms method for managing and submitting forms. We have spent a lot of time working to understand how to make the lives of employees and independent contractors simpler when it comes to dealing with these employee tax forms. As an individual, it takes two steps to complete a Form W-9 with SimpleForms. You select that you are filing as an individual and not a business, SimpleForms fills out everything else based on your registration information, and you submit your SSN to complete. One more tap of the screen allows you to submit the W-9 to the contact of your choosing. How many times did you have to print, fill out, scan and email forms to get paid as an independent contractor? Some folks may have gotten smart and saved a copy of a filled-out W-9 on their computer, but how safe is that?
In addition to files on your computer, you are now managing documents with an email platform which is becoming less than efficient. With SimpleForms your form is saved securely and available for submission with a single tap for as long as the information is good. If you move or change business structures, you simply update your registration information and re-answer up to five questions max and you’re back to sharing with a single tap! Not only will SimpleForms manage the form itself, but it will monitor who you have sent W-9s to and provide an estimate for taxes owed at the end of the year so there’s less surprise. I personally know freelancers that send out more than 30 W-9s per year as they contract with many different entities. SimpleForms was built to make these types of workers have one less headache when it comes to getting paid and dealing with taxes.