If you own an LLC and work as an independent contractor, you may receive a request from a client to complete a Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification (Form W-9). This form, commonly referred to as a W-9, requires only some basic information to complete. Follow these steps to complete and file Form W-9.
1. Obtain the form.
Typically, you complete Form W-9 at your client's request. Your client uses this form to obtain your Social Security number (SSN) and identifying information for your LLC so it can then submit an informational return, Miscellaneous Income (Form 1099-MISC), to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reporting how much it has paid you during the calendar year. You also receive a copy of Form 1099-MISC.
Often, your client sends a blank Form W-9 to you. In some cases, they may ask you to complete the form electronically. If your client does not provide you with a form, you can find one on the IRS website.
2. Provide the LLC's information.
Complete the first section of the form using your full name, your LLC's name, and your address. On line 1, enter your individual name as it appears on your personal tax return form. Line 2 is the place for your LLC's name. Use the address where you want your client to send your copy of Form 1099-MISC for lines 5 and 6.
The form also requests information about how your LLC is taxed. The IRS treats single-member LLCs as a disregarded entity for tax purposes. This means that your company does not file a separate tax return. Rather, you report your LLC's income on your personal tax return. If your LLC has multiple members, the IRS treats it as a partnership by default. Alternatively, you may elect to have your LLC taxed as a C corporation or an S corporation.
On line 3, if you have not elected corporate tax treatment for a single-member LLC, check the box for "Individual/sole proprietor or single-member LLC." If your LLC has multiple members or is taxed as a corporation, check the box for "Limited liability company" and write in the appropriate designation in the space provided.
Line 4 is for claiming exemptions from backup withholding or reporting requirements under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. The IRS notes that, in general, individuals are not exempt from backup withholding. Most likely, you will leave this area blank.
3. Complete and return the form.
In the section labeled "Part I - Taxpayer Identification Number," enter your individual SSN if your LLC is a single-member LLC taxed as a sole proprietorship—even if you have obtained an employer identification number (EIN). You only need to provide the EIN if the LLC has multiple members or is taxed as a corporation.
In the section labeled "Part II - Certification," sign and date the signature line certifying the truth of the affirmations stated in that section.
Once the form is complete, return it to the person or company who requested it. You do not file Form W-9 with the IRS.
In part because of its tax flexibility, an LLC offers a variety of advantages over a sole proprietorship and is simple to set up. If you have not yet established your company, an online service provider can help you with the necessary steps.
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