For other entities, it is your employer identification number (EIN).
If you do not have a number, see How to get a TIN on page 3.
If you are a sole proprietor and have an EIN you can use it, but the IRS prefers that you use your Social Security Number.
It tells you to use this Form SS-4 to apply for a EIN.
If the account is in more than one name, see the chart on page 4 of the full 4 page W9 form for guidelines on whose number to enter.
Apply using this Form SS-5.
Purpose of the Form
References are to the IRS code unless otherwise noted.
A person who is required to file an information return with the IRS must obtain your correct taxpayer identification number (TIN) to report, for example, income paid to you, real estate transactions, mortgage interest you paid, acquisition or abandonment of secured property, cancellation of debt, or contributions you made to an IRA.
Use Form W-9 only if you are a U.S. person (including a resident alien), to provide your correct TIN to the person requesting it (the requester) and, when applicable, to:
1. Certify that the TIN you are giving is correct, (or you are waiting for a number to be issued)
2. Certify that you are not subject to backup withholding, or
3. Claim exemption from backup withholding if you are a U.S. exempt payee. If applicable, you are also certifying that as a U.S. person, your allocable share of any partnership income from a U.S. trade or business is not subject to the withholding tax on foreign partners share of effectively connected income.
Note. If a requester gives you a form other than Form W-9 to request your TIN, you must use the requester’s form if it is substantially similar to this Form W-9.
Definition of a U.S. person. For federal tax purposes, you are considered a U.S. person if you are:
Partnerships that conduct a trade or business in the United States are generally required to pay a withholding tax on any foreign partners’ share of income from such business. Further, in certain cases where a Form W-9 has not been received, a partnership is required to presume that a partner is a foreign person, and pay the withholding tax. Therefore, if you are a U.S. person that is a partner in a partnership conducting a trade or business in the United States, provide Form W-9 to the partnership to establish your U.S. status and avoid withholding on your share of partnership income.
From here go to "W9 Form - Part 2 Certification."
A lot of folks panic when they are asked to fill out a W9 form.
My first episode with one left me with a feeling of confusion because I did not read the instructions to be sure of what I was doing.
I just had at it without reading anything and it was overwhelming - never again.
Take a little time to read the instructions and it is very simple to deal with.
Now when I fill one out I simply do it in about a minute.
It gets very simple to deal with these and if you do them often enough it is a breeze!