Form W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification
How Do I Know When To Use Form W-9?
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 a presumption of foreign status. For federal tax 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 a presumption 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.
A participating foreign financial institution (PFFI) should request Form W-9 from an account holder that is a U.S. person. If an account is jointly held, the PFFI should request a Form W-9 from each holder that is a U.S. person.
Advise foreign persons to use the appropriateForm W-8 or Form 8233, Exemption From Withholding on Compensation for Independent (and Certain Dependent) Personal Services of a Nonresident Alien Individual. See Pub. 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities, for more information and a list of the W-8 forms.
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.
A payee’s agent can be an investment advisor (corporation, partnership, or individual) or an introducing broker. An investment advisor must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The introducing broker is a broker-dealer that is regulated by the SEC and the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc., and that is not a payer. Except for a broker who acts as a payee’s agent for “readily tradable instruments,” the advisor or broker must show in writing to the payer that the payee authorized the advisor or broker to transmit the Form W-9 to the payer.
Generally, the electronic system must:
- 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.
For Forms W-9 that are not required to be signed, the electronic system need not provide for an electronic signature or a perjury statement.
For more details, see the following.
Form W-9 (or an acceptable substitute) is used by persons required to file information returns with the IRS to get the payee’s (or other person’s) correct name and TIN. For individuals, the TIN is generally a social security number (SSN).
However, in some cases, individuals who become U.S. resident aliens for federal tax purposes are not eligible to obtain an SSN. This includes certain resident aliens who must receive information returns but who cannot obtain an SSN.
These individuals must apply for an ITIN on Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, unless they have an application pending for an SSN. Individuals who have an ITIN must provide it on Form W-9.
ITINs that haven’t been included on a U.S. federal tax return at least once in the last 3 consecutive tax years will expire. Expired ITINs must be renewed in order to avoid delays in processing the ITIN holder’s tax return. If the IRS deactivates the ITIN because it has expired, the ITIN may still be used on Form W-9. However, the ITIN holder will have to apply to renew the deactivated ITIN if there is a need to file a tax return. For more information, see the Instructions for Form W-7.
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,
- The payee is a U.S. person, and
- The FATCA code entered on this form (if any) indicating that the payee is exempt from FATCA reporting is correct.
You may provide certification instructions on a substitute Form W-9 in a manner similar to the official form. If you are not collecting a FATCA exemption code by omitting that field from the substitute Form W-9 (see Payees and Account Holders Exempt From FATCA Reporting, later), you may notify the payee that item 4 does not apply.
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 IRS.gov/pub/irs-irbs/irb96-08.pdf .