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Filling Out Forms - W-4 and I-9

Filling Out Forms - W-4 and I-9

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When you start a new job, the amount of paperwork you are asked to fill out can be daunting. This blog can help you get through all those forms.


Basic Information Employers Keep on File Regarding Employees

Employers must keep files on all their employees. They must keep a record of your full name, your employee number (if the employer assigns employees numbers), your home address including zip code, your date of birth, your gender, your job title, and your basic payroll records.

They must also keep your completed job application, your W-4 form, and your I-9 form. 

 

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The W-4 Form

What is a W-4 Form?

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires every employer to give new employees a W-4 form to complete. The W-4 form relates to the U.S. Income Tax. You fill out the form so your employer can calculate how much money the IRS will take out of your take-home pay for taxes.

Another name for the W-4 form is Federal Withholding Allowance Certificate. You are allowed to withhold a certain amount of money from the IRS. This means you are allowed to keep a certain amount of your take-home pay -- the IRS can't tax that amount. You may claim "allowances" on the form. "Allowances" are the same thing as "deductions." A "deduction" is a sum of money that the IRS does not tax. The more allowances you claim, the less money the IRS takes out of your checks. 

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What allowances does the IRS accept?

Here are some examples of the allowances on your W-4 form that the IRS accepts:

1. You may claim one allowance for yourself, unless someone else can claim you as a dependent on his/her tax return. For purposes of the W-4 form and tax forms, a dependent is someone who is financially supported by someone else.

2. You may claim one allowance if you are single and have only one job.

3. You may claim one allowance if you are married and your spouse does not work.

4. You can claim one allowance for each child you list as a dependent. If you are married and both you and your spouse are employed, only one spouse can claim the child on a W-4 form.

There are other allowances, too. Again, they will be listed in the instructions you will get with your W-4 form.

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What happens if I claim more allowances than I am entitled to?

It is important to be accurate when you claim allowances; if you claim more allowances than you are entitled to, the IRS can fine you later on. The allowances the IRS accepts are listed on the instructions that you get with your W-4 form.

What happens if I claim fewer allowances than I am entitled to?

If you claim fewer allowances than you are entitled to, your paychecks will be smaller than they should be. You might get a refund after you file your income taxes.

What happens if I don't fill out a W-4 form?

If you don't fill out a W-4 form, the IRS requires your employer to withhold money from your take-home pay at the highest rate possible (the same rate as a single person with no other allowances).

Can my employer or my company's human resourses director tell me how many allowances to take?

Your employer and your company's human resources director cannot tell you how many exemptions to take, because that is a personal decision.

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What should I do if I need help filling out my W-4?

If you need help with the W-4 form, the Internal Revenue Service gives free help on the phone and in person.

For help with your W-4 on the phone, you can call: 800-829-4477.

To locate taxpayer assistance center for face-to-face help: http://apps.irs.gov/app/officeLocator/index.jsp

Professional tax preparer's services or accountants can also help employees fill out W-4 forms. It is a good idea to make sure the tax preparation service or accountant is reputable. You can check with the Better Business Bureau if you are not sure about a particular service or accountant.

 

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The I-9 Form

What is the I-9 Form?

All employers must verify that their employees are eligible to work in the United States. To do this, they require employees who are not U.S. citizens to fill out the I-9 Form. The full name of the I-9 form is the Immigration and Naturalization Service Form I-9,  Employment Eligibility Verification Form."

After I am hired, how much time do I have to complete the I-9 Form?

I-9 forms must be completed within three business days of the date an employee is hired. 

What happens to the I-9 form after I complete it?

The I-9 form is not sent to the U.S. government. Your employer must keep it in a file in case an INS (Immigration Naturalization Service) inspector asks to see it.

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Can I get help filling out the I-9 Form?

You can ask your employer or your company's human resources director to help you fill out the I-9 Form.

You can also contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for help. On their website, they list their phone number for employees as 888-897-7781.

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Other Information employers may keep on file

The following information is not listed in the federal requirements about information employees must keep about their employees. However, many employers will keep the following information in your employment file.

1. benefit enrollments (a record of your employment benefits)

2. disciplinary records

3. performance evaluations and commendations

4. record of sick days and vacation days

5. reports of reference checks

6. work history (a list of jobs you do for the company and when you do them)

 


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Comments

Barbara Myers's picture
  • by
  • Mon, 12/22/2014 - 09:59
These forms aren't always easy to fill out but if u read them or ask someone to explain them to you they are common sense..