IRS Form W-9

Are You Collecting Needed W-9s?

Bay Area Tax Attorney, John Fraker, weighs in on the necessity of collecting W-9 Forms. If you use independent contractors to perform services for your business or rental that is a trade or business, and you pay them $600 or more for the year, you are required to issue them a Form 1099 after the end of the year to avoid facing the loss of the deduction for their labor and expenses. (This requirement generally does not apply for payments made to a corporation. However, the exception does not apply to payments made for attorney fees and for certain payments for medical or health care services.)

It is not uncommon to have a repairman out early in the year, pay him less than $600, then use his services again later and have the total for the year exceed the $600 limit. As a result, you overlook getting the information needed to file the 1099s for the year. Therefore, it is good practice to always have individuals who are not incorporated complete and sign the IRS Form W-9 the first time you use their services. Having a properly completed and signed Form W-9 for all independent contractors and service providers eliminates any oversights and protects you against IRS penalties and conflicts.