Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, is used to request that someone provide a valid tax identification number. There are two situations in which a small business owner would use this form.

First, if you, as a small business owner, pay a non-employee more than $600, you must issue a Form 1099 reporting the payment. In order to correctly complete the 1099 form, you must know the recipient's tax identification number. You would use Form W-9 to request the TIN. If the person you pay is a foreign person, Form W-8 would be used instead of Form W-9.

Second, if you receive more than $600 from someone else, the payor will use Form W-9 to request your TIN. If you don't have a TIN, you must request one. For individuals, the request is made using Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. The form is available at the Social Security Administration's website. If you aren't eligible for a Social Security card, you would use Form W-7, Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, to apply for an ITIN, or Form SS-4, Application for an Employer Identification Number.

By completing Form W-9, you do the following:

  • certify that the TIN you have provided is correct
  • certify that you are not subject to backup withholding
  • claim exemption from backup withholding

In general, for an individual, the TIN is the Social Security number. For other entities, it is the Employer Identification Number (EIN).

The file is in Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf), and you will need the free Acrobat Reader to view and print the file.

Toolkit is providing these tools free of charge. Some of these forms contain technical language and create significant legal obligations. Do not use any form without first having an attorney review the form and determine that it is suitable for the purpose for which you intend it.
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