If you’re a contractor, part-time employee, or freelancer, you need to complete a W-9 form before you can be legally contracted by an employer or company. In days past, that meant enduring the massive headache of printing and faxing the document(s). But nowadays you have the option to save time and sanity by filling out the form entirely online.
But before we get into the how-to details, let’s go over the basics of this particular tax form.
What is a W-9 tax form?
A W-9 form is a US tax form used by employers to request a contractor’s tax ID number. It must be completed and signed by a candidate before a company can legally pay the contractor for their services. The W-9 application is a standard IRS form which you can find on the Department of Treasury’s site.
Here’s what it looks like:
Freelancers, contractors, and part-time on-demand service employees will be especially familiar with W-9 forms, as they always receive these forms as part of their new hire paperwork. Now that you see what you're up against, here's how to fill out a W-9 online.
Step 1. Download a copy of a blank W-9 form
Your employer is usually responsible for sending you a blank copy of the W-9 form, but in the event you need to find one on your own you can always visit the IRS website and download a free PDF copy.
Step 2. Upload the document to Hellosign
Once you’ve have a copy of your W-9, you’ll need to upload the blank document to your Dropbox Sign account so you can begin filling it out online. You can use this link to sign up if you don’t yet have a HelloSign account.
After signing in, navigate to the "Who needs to sign?" menu to start the process of uploading your document. Since W-9 forms don’t require a signature or information from anyone but the contracted employee, select “Just Me."
After selecting "Just Me," it's time to upload the document!
Step 3. Format the document and fill in your information
After uploading the document, you can begin formatting the W-9 form by using special formatting boxes located at the top menu of your document view. These boxes include formatting options for things like text fields, signature fields, checkboxes, etc.
Format your document by dragging and dropping the relevant field into the appropriate area on the document. As you format, fill in the correct information. For instance, you’ll fill your name into the text field on the “Name” line, the date into the box on the “date” line, etc.
Here’s what the document looks like as it's being formatted:
The W-9 form will require you to format the document with text fields, a signature, a date field, and check boxes. It should only take you a couple minutes to format and fill out.
Step 4. Sign the document with a legally binding eSignature
To finish the form, you'll need to insert your signature on the “Signature” line. You can create your electronic signature in a variety of ways.
- Draw your signature on a touch screen using your finger or a stylus.
- Upload a photo of your signature.
- Type in your signature and customize from a selection of fonts.
- Take a picture of your signature using your smartphone’s camera.
Step 5. Submit the completed form to your employer
After you’ve completed the form, you have the option to save a copy to your computer as a PDF, making it simple to attach to an email.
You can also send the completed form directly to your employer from your Dropbox Sign account. Just enter their email address in the and include an optional message. Once sent, you’ll receive notifications when they open or view the document.
That's it! Time to try it out for yourself
If you’re employing contractors, visit our Marketplace & On-Demand Platform page to see how you can use the HelloSign API to embed W-9s into your application or workflow. Premium brand the experience so it looks no different from the rest of your branding, giving your contractors a completely seamless signing experience.