Upon being hired, there are several documents that new employees must fill out before they can get started working for their new employer. The forms are designed to verify eligibility to work in the United States, obtain social security numbers and determine how much income tax should be withheld from their income.
First is Form I9, which documents that each new employee (both citizen and noncitizen) hired after November 6, 1986 is authorized to work in the United States. There is no fee associated with filing this form, but it must be held onto by the employer and made available to government officials upon request.
Employers must also get new employees' social security numbers. Employers are allowed to ask to see the actual card and make a photocopy for their records. Once obtained, employers will use the numbers to complete the employee's W-2 form, which reports annual wages and the amount of taxes withheld from their paycheck. The W-2 form is sent to the employee and Internal Revenue Service at the end of each year.
The final required document is a W-4 form, which is the Employee's Withholdings Allowance Certificate. The form ensures that theemployer is withholding the correct federal income tax from a worker's pay, based on factors such as marriage status and number of children.
Employers who do not receive a completed W-4 form from a new employee should withhold taxes as if he or she is single, with no withholding allowances. The document remains in effect until an employee provides a new one. Employees who claim exemption from income tax withholding must give their employer a new W-4 form each year.
The IRS encourages employers to direct new employees to their online withholding calculator to best determine how much they should be withholding.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.