Compliance · Irs

Customer Wants W-9

Tim Scott

May 3rd, 2017

I have a side project, which is a subscription website. This one: http://slotted.co


A potential customer is asking for me to send him a W-9 IRS form.


Besides be slightly annoyed he's is asking me to provide a form for a $50 subscription or two, I'm wondering: a) is this common, and b) is there any downside, such as increased scrutiny by the Feds?

Robert Gezelter Principal, Robert Gezelter Software Consultant

May 3rd, 2017

Tim, A small amount, but a routine request. Your posting did not mention how the business is organized. If it is a proprietorship, getting an EIN is far better than handing out your SSN. The above is from experience, it is not tax advice. Please confirm it with a tax professional. - Bob Gezelter, http://www.rlgsc.com

Susan Heider Enrolled Agent

Last updated on May 3rd, 2017

While the request isn't unusual when doing actual work for another party, it seems odd coming from a subscriber. I've never asked for a W-9 for any of the sites to which I pay a subscription fee however, your subscriber may just be covering his/her bases with the IRS if they plan on paying more than $600/year for your subscription. If they've been audited by the IRS, they may want to be able to substantiate who exactly they paid and that means they may send you a 1099-MISC for 2017.


Mr. Gezelter is absolutely correct that you shouldn’t give out your social security number. If you’re a sole proprietor (you complete a Schedule C when doing your taxes) and don’t have an Employer ID Number (EIN), you should get one even if you only use it for situations such as this. You can get an EIN online, for free, directly from the IRS at https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online , you don’t need to go through any other company unless you want to.

Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

Last updated on May 4th, 2017

It is less about the Feds and more about internal accounting controls.This is not about your $50. It is about the $50,000 expense. It is easier to make blanket policy than to to chase W9 forms at the end of he year. Download a W9, sign it, scan it, and email it Whenever asked. This is small stuff.