Legal and Paperwork Requirements: Employees

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Once you are legally ready as an employer, you can hire your first employee, and… fill out more forms. Hiring an employee requires more paperwork than hiring an IC. Fortunately, most of the paperwork is fairly simple, and you can find the forms online. When you hire an employee, you must do all of the following.

Have the employee complete IRS Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. On this form, the employee provides basic identifying information and the number of exemptions to use when you calculate how much tax to withhold from each paycheck. You must have this form in your files, but you don’t have to send it to the IRS.

Finding the forms. You can download W-4 forms from the IRS website, or get them by contacting your local IRS office (you can find a list of offices at the IRS website) or by calling 800-TAX-FORM.

Complete USCIS Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. This form confirms that the employee is eligible to work in the United States. The employee must complete a portion of the form and then show you documentation that proves his or her eligibility. The form tells you what kinds of documents are considered acceptable. A U.S. passport, or a driver’s license and birth certificate or Social Security card, are the typical forms of proof provided by U.S. citizens. You don’t have to file the Form I-9 with an agency, but you must keep it on hand for the later of three years from hiring the employee or one year after the employee quits or is fired.

Finding the forms. You can download I-9 forms from the website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service, or INS).

Report the employee to your state’s new hire reporting agency. Employers must submit basic information on new employees to the state, which uses that information to track down parents who owe child support. At a minimum, you must submit your employee’s name, address, and Social Security number, and some states require additional information, such as the employee’s date of birth or first day of work.

Finding the forms. To get the information and forms you need, start at the Employer Services website of the Administration for Children and Families, a subdivision of the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Click the tab for New Hire Reporting, to learn more about your state reporting requirements.

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