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A Guide to Common Payroll Tax Forms

Navigating the various tax forms needed to keep your business legitimate

can require some research to make sure you get it right. You can also

rely on professional payroll experts to guide you through the process.

Here are a few basics you need to know about the most common forms:

Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification

The I-9 form is completed

under the requirements of the Department of Homeland Security and U.S.

Citizenship and Immigration Services. It is used to document that any

new employee, citizen or noncitizen, is authorized to work in the United

States. For all applicants, it requires proof of both identify and

employment authorization. For U.S. citizens, a passport can prove both.

Without a passport, a new employee must provide a photo ID and a birth

certificate or a Social Security card. Specific requirements for

noncitizens are provided on page 5 of the form.

Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement (Year)

Employers provide completed W-2 forms to employees shortly after January

1 of each new year to document the gross wages paid to the employee and

the exact amount of federal taxes, Social Security taxes and Medicare

taxes deducted for the preceding year. There are multiple copies of this

document: copies for the employee to use in filing their tax returns and

copies for the employer for record-keeping.

An example copy of the W-2

form can be reviewed on the IRS site under Tax


The online version is not scannable when printed from the website, and

attempts to do so may result in fines or penalties. To order an official

form, contact the IRS at 1-800-TAX-FORMS, or order it


Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate (Year)

A W-4 is a standard document filed upon a new employee’s hire, in

addition to the I-9 form. The W-4, however, is an IRS form intended to

document the number of deductions, exemptions and the type of tax rate

for the employer to use in calculating the new employee’s payroll taxes.

Once completed, the W-4 remains “active” until changed, although many

employers offer their employees an annual opportunity to update their

forms. The law requires employees to make adjustments to their W-4

within a certain timeframe if their number of deductions changes—for

example, if their child turns 18 or if they get a divorce.

Form 1099, Miscellaneous Income

Form 1099s are used often to indicate income from independent contractor

work, prizes, awards and gambling.

Links to most IRS tax forms can be located on the IRS Tax


page. Other options include calling the IRS or ordering the forms

online. Hiring a payroll service provider such as Paycor also means

you’ll never have to search for a tax form or determine which form is

right for the situation. We guide you every step of the way with

intuitive payroll solutions backed by a team of payroll professionals.

Contact us today to get started.