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What is Form W-9 | How to Fill Out Form W-9

Form W-9 is different from most other tax forms in that it is not sent to the IRS. The purpose of the form is simply to gather information from a business. (The business could be a sole proprietor/independent contractor, an LLC, a partnership, or a corporation.)

For example, Business A would send Form W-9 to Business B in order to request Business B’s legal name, address, and taxpayer ID (FEIN). Business B is then required to fill out the form and send it back to Business A. The information contained on the W-9 is then used by Business A to prepare the 1099 for Business B for the year. (Of course, if Business B is a corporation, no 1099 will be required.)

How to Fill Out Form W-9

Filling out a W-9 is pretty easy. On the first line, simply enter your legal name (if a sole proprietorship) or the legal name of your business (if an LLC, corporation, or partnership).

On the next line, enter your “Doing Business As” name, if applicable. (For instance, if you’re a sole proprietor doing business as “Jane’s Jewelry,” you would put your actual legal name on the first line and “Jane’s Jewelry” on the second line.)

In the next section, check the box that applies to your type of business (LLC, corporation, partnership, etc.). If your business is an LLC, you are then asked to indicate its tax treatment (ie, is your LLC taxed as a partnership, sole proprietorship, or corporation?).

What to put on the “Address” line should be pretty self-explanatory.

In the next section, if you’re a sole proprietor, enter your SSN in the appropriate box. If your business is anything other than a sole proprietorship, enter your Tax ID (a.k.a. FEIN) in the box labeled “Employer Identification Number.”

Now just sign and date the W-9, and you’re all finished. :)

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LLC vs. S-Corp vs. C-Corp Explained in 100 Pages or Less

Topics Covered in the Book:
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If you want to discuss this article, I recommend starting a conversation over at the Bogleheads investing forum.
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