How does a nonprofit fill out a W-9 form?

When you’re running a nonprofit, you need to complete many different types of forms. One of those forms may be the Form W-9, or the Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification.

A W-9 form is used to provide a taxpayer identification number to a person who must report information to the IRS, like paid income or a real estate transaction. In certain instances, your nonprofit may be required to complete one.

The importance of W-9 forms for nonprofits

W-9 forms are helpful when your nonprofit needs to report miscellaneous income. For example, if your nonprofit performs paid work for another nonprofit or business, like acting as a consultant on a project, you’ll need to complete a W-9 for the other nonprofit.

In contrast, if your nonprofit works with a freelancer and pays them for their services, the freelancer will need to complete a W-9 so your nonprofit can report the money you paid to them.

How to fill out a W-9 form as a nonprofit

Form W-9 is relatively straightforward, but it’s important to ensure that you fill it out accurately and completely. The explanation below will guide you through the various fields:

  1. Name: Provide your nonprofit’s name as it appears on your articles of incorporation and tax form.
  2. Business name: Identify any trade name or DBA (doing business as) that’s different from the nonprofit name listed on your articles of incorporation.
  3. Federal tax classification: Check the “other” box under the federal tax classification section. Then write, “Nonprofit corporation exempt under IRS Code Section ___,” and identify the appropriate code section for your nonprofit’s tax exemption.
  4. Exemptions: Leave the exemptions box blank if you’re a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Your accountant can provide you with additional information on the exemptions section of the form.
  5. Address: List your nonprofit’s mailing address.
  6. Taxpayer identification number: Provide your nonprofit’s employer identification number, or EIN. If your nonprofit doesn’t yet have an EIN, you can apply for one online.
  7. Certification: Sign and date the form.

Once you’ve completed the W-9, you can give it directly to the business or organization that has requested it.

FAQs about W-9 forms and nonprofits

My nonprofit is tax-exempt. Why do I have to complete a W-9 form?

The W-9 form allows a business to file the payments that they’ve made to your nonprofit with the IRS. Even if your nonprofit is tax-exempt, the business that paid your nonprofit still has to report that those payments were made. The W-9 form gives the business the information it needs to report that payment and stay compliant with IRS laws.

When should my nonprofit collect a W-9 form from others?

When you pay another nonprofit, an independent contractor, or any third party, your nonprofit should have that third party complete a W-9 form. Collect the W-9 forms and use them to submit your informational report to the IRS each year.

Does my nonprofit have to give our completed W-9 form to the IRS?

No, you can give the completed W-9 form to the business or organization that requested it. You don’t have to file the form with the IRS.

Jotform: An easier way to fill out a W-9 

You can find Form W-9 as a PDF on the IRS website, and Jotform can streamline and simplify the process of completing it.

With Jotform Smart PDF Forms, you can upload a W-9 form and convert it into a fillable online form. From there, you can easily complete the form and then convert it back into a PDF form if necessary.

If you need to collect completed W-9 forms from freelancers or other third parties who you’ve hired, that’s easy with Jotform, too. Jotform is already equipped with a W-9 form template. You can share the form with your freelancers or third parties through an email link or text or even by embedding it on your website. When a third party fills out the form field, their responses populate into a PDF of the W-9 form, so you can collect and store that data for submission to the IRS when you prepare your taxes.

Jotform can benefit your nonprofit in other ways, too. Whether you’re starting a nonprofit or running a well-established organization, Jotform can streamline the process of completing forms, collecting data, and storing data. Jotform features plenty of nonprofit forms and templates, including volunteer registration forms, donation apps, and more. You can customize these templates to your needs, publish your forms, and easily collect and store data.

When you run a nonprofit, every dollar matters. That’s why Jotform offers a 50 percent nonprofit discount on paid plans, giving you access to this powerful tool that can help you organize and streamline your nonprofit processes.

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

A journalist and digital consultant, John Boitnott has worked for TV, newspapers, radio, and Internet companies for 25 years. He’s written for, Fast Company, NBC, Entrepreneur, USA Today, and Business Insider, among others.

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