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What is a W-9 form?

Form W-9, “Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification”, certifies the payee’s name and TIN, that the payee is not subject to backup withholding, and they are a U.S. person, including a U.S. resident alien.

A company required to file an “information return” like a 1099 form must obtain the correct taxpayer identification number (TIN) and name from the person or company (payee) that they paid.  In some instances, this information must also be “certified” with a signature in Part II.

The W-9 form, “Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification”, is used to gather this information from all US persons, including companies.  Foreign persons, including companies, would submit Form W-8 or Form 8233.  In addition, the W-9 form also communicates whether a payee is exempt from backup withholding and FATCA reporting.   There are 6 pages of instructions for the payee in determining the correct name, federal tax classification, exemption status, TIN and certification to use.