What is the W-9 and what is its purpose?
The W-9 is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form in which a taxpayer provides their correct taxpayer identification number (TIN) to an individual or entity (Form W-9 requester) who is required to file an information return to report the amount paid to a payee, or other amount reportable on an information return. A TIN may be a social security number (SSN), individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN), or federal employer identification number (EIN/FEIN/FEIN/FEIN).
The UW requires the W-9 form for all tax reportable transactions as of January 1, 2010.
Implementation of the W-9 reporting process (January 1, 2010)
- The UW needed to have a signed legal document on file to support and document the tax information when it makes a tax reportable payment. The required document is the IRS W-9 form. The W-9 captures all the required tax information for tax reporting. This includes (1) name, (2) business name, (3) type of entity, (3) exempt status, (4) address, (5) taxpayer identification number, and (6) signature.
- Effective January 1, 2010 the UW requires a completed and signed form W-9 (or W-8BEN for Nonresident Aliens (NRA)_ be attached to all tax reportable payments made through all payment mechanisms (PIR/DP/PO, etc.). Tax reportable payments and associated Account Codes are posted at 1099-MISC and 1042-S Tax Reportable Payments.
- As of August 9, 2010, Business Services has incorporated the W-9 indicator field in the WISDM Vendor Search. When processing tax reportable payments through any UW payment mechanism please check the WISDM Vendor Search to determine if a W-9 (or W-8 BEN for Nonresident Aliens (NRA)) is on file at Business Services. If a W-9 is on file, you will not need to include a W-9 with your payment requests. If a W-9 is not on file, you will need to include a W-9 with your first payment request to a vendor so the vendor can be set up at Accounting Services and the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) can be verified with the IRS TIN Matching Program. For tax reportable transactions, if a W-9 is not on file per the WISDM Vendor Search and you do not include the W-9 with your payment requests, Business Services will put your payment request on hold and inform you that you need to get a W-9 before the payment is released for processing.
How is the W-9 used?
The W-9 form is required by an individual or entity (Form W-9 requester) who is required to file an information return with the IRS and must obtain the payee’s correct taxpayer identification number (TIN) to report on an information return the amount paid to a payee, or other amount reportable on an information return. A TIN may be a social security number (SSN), individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN), or employer identification number (EIN/FEIN).
Who can sign a W-9?
The person who signs a W-9 must be a U.S. person, an individual who is a U.S. citizen or a U.S. resident alien. The signer should have the organization’s consent to sign a W-9 on its behalf.
IRS Form W-9 is most commonly used by individuals when they are working as a freelancer or independent contractor. If you ever find yourself filling out a Form W-9, it generally means a business or person who is paying you money needs your U.S. Taxpayer Identification number (TIN)–which can be the U.S. Social Security Number (SSN), Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), or Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN/FEIN)–so the business/person can notify the IRS of the amount.
Minors: In the case of a minor, the W-9 should be completed with the minor’s name and the minor’s Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) since they are the owners of the payment being made. The signature can be either the minor’s signature or the legal guardian’s (parent or court appointed legal guardian). A minor cannot sign a contract, but the W-9 is not a contract. The W-9 is just giving the name and TIN of the minor, therefore a legal guardian is not required, but is only encouraged.
Is a digital or electronic signature acceptable on a W-9?
See Financial Managers Meeting (FMM) 2/8/22 presentation slides (PDF) pages 43-44.
How often does the W-9 need to be obtained?
Form W-9 remains valid unless a change in circumstances makes any information on the form incorrect; examples: a change in name or a change in type of entity. Please note a change in address does not require a new W-9.
What versions of the W-9 will the UW accept?
The UW will only accept current versions of any Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Wisconsin Department of Revenue forms. These can be found at the IRS Forms webpage and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue Forms webpage.
Use of a non-current form will delay payment processing because the non-current form has to be returned to the preparer. The current form must be completed before the payment can be processed so the university can be in compliance with IRS and WI DOR regulations and forms.
Where can the W-9 and associated instructions be found?