What Is a W-9 Tax Form?

Taxpayers use the W-9 Tax Form to provide and certify their correct taxpayer identification number (TIN) and to certify that they are not subject to backup withholding. The form, officially called Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, is typically used when a person or entity is required to report certain types of income paid to the taxpayer.

Examples of the types of income paid include real estate transactions, mortgage interest the taxpayer paid, acquisition or abandonment of secured property, cancellation of debt, or contributions the taxpayer made to an IRA. If a taxpayer fails to certify their TIN and backup withholding status on IRS Form W-9, or similar statement, backup withholding may begin immediately.

IRS W-9 Form Terms

If you’re required to complete Form W-9, you may come across terminology with which you are not familiar. Review the list below for explanations to a few common terms found on this form.

  • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) – For individuals, this is generally your social security number (SSN). Business entities will complete the form using their employer identification number (EIN).
  • Backup Withholding – This is a percentage of income that is held from the taxpayer’s payments received and is remitted to the IRS. Backup withholding may apply when a taxpayer has not met TIN certification requirements or if they previously did not report income correctly to the IRS.
  • Exemptions – This section of the W-9 tax form applies only to certain entities, not to individuals. Entities that are exempted from backup withholding should enter the appropriate code found in the Instructions section.

For additional W-9 tax form details, you can review the Form W-9 Instructions, which are included with the IRS W-9 form on its website.

W-9 Tax Form Questions

Have additional questions about IRS Form W-9 or need help filing your return? Our Tax Pros speak the tricky language of taxes and are committed to helping you better understand your return.

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