Use Form W-9 to request the taxpayer identification number (TIN) of a U.S. person (including a resident alien) and to request certain certifications and claims for exemption. (See Purpose of Form on Form W-9.) Withholding agents may require signed Forms W-9 from U.S. exempt recipients to overcome any presumptions of foreign status. For federal purposes, a U.S. person includes but is not limited to:
- An individual who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien,
- A partnership, corporation, company, or association created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States,
- Any estate (other than a foreign estate), or
- A domestic trust (as defined in Regulations section 301.7701-7).
A partnership may require a signed Form W-9 from its U.S. partners to overcome any presumptions of foreign status and to avoid withholding on the partner’s allocable share of the partnership’s effectively connected income. For more information, see Regulations section 1.1446-1.
Advise foreign persons to use the appropriate
Form W-8. See Pub. 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities, for more information and a list of the W-8 forms.
Also, a nonresident alien individual may, under certain circumstances, claim treaty benefits on scholarships and fellowship grant income. See Pub. 515 or Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, for more information.
Requesters may establish a system for payees and payees’ agents to submit Forms W-9 electronically, including by fax. A requester is anyone required to file an information return. A payee is anyone required to provide a taxpayer identification number (TIN) to the requester.
- Ensure the information received is the information sent, and document all occasions of user access that result in the submission;
- Make reasonably certain that the person accessing the system and submitting the form is the person identified on Form W-9, the investment advisor, or the introducing broker;
- Provide the same information as the paper Form W-9;
- Be able to supply a hard copy of the electronic Form W-9 if the Internal Revenue Service requests it; and
- Require as the final entry in the submission an electronic signature by the payee whose name is on
Form W-9 that authenticates and verifies the submission. The electronic signature must be under penalties of perjury and the perjury statement must contain the language of the paper Form W-9.
Substitute Form W-9
You may develop and use your own Form W-9 (a substitute Form W-9) if its content is substantially similar to the official IRS Form W-9 and it satisfies certain certification requirements.
You may incorporate a substitute Form W-9 into other business forms you customarily use, such as account signature cards. However, the certifications on the substitute Form W-9 must clearly state (as shown on the official Form W-9) that under penalties of perjury:
- The payee’s TIN is correct,
- The payee is not subject to backup withholding due to failure to report interest and dividend income, and
- The payee is a U.S. person.
You may not:
- Use a substitute Form W-9 that requires the payee, by signing, to agree to provisions unrelated to the required certifications, or
- Imply that a payee may be subject to backup withholding unless the payee agrees to provisions on the substitute form that are unrelated to the required certifications.
A substitute Form W-9 that contains a separate signature line just for the certifications satisfies the requirement that the certifications be clearly stated.
If a single signature line is used for the required certifications and other provisions, the certifications must be highlighted, boxed, printed in bold-face type, or presented in some other manner that causes the language to stand out from all other information contained on the substitute form. Additionally, the following statement must be presented to stand out in the same manner as described above and must appear immediately above the single signature line:
“The Internal Revenue Service does not require your consent to any provision of this document other than the certifications required to avoid backup withholding.”
If you use a substitute form, you are required to provide the Form W-9 instructions to the payee only if he or she requests them. However, if the IRS has notified the payee that backup withholding applies, then you must instruct the payee to strike out the language in the certification that relates to underreporting. This instruction can be given orally or in writing. See item 2 of the Certification on Form W-9. You can replace “defined below” with “defined in the instructions” in item 3 of the Certification on Form W-9 when the instructions will not be provided to the payee except upon request. For more information, see Rev. Proc. 83-89,1983-2 C.B. 613; amplified by Rev. Proc. 96-26, which is on page 22 of Internal Revenue Bulletin 1996-8 at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-irbs/irb96-08.pdf.