State and federal forms for new employees are mandatory and should be completed as soon as possible. And you must submit most completed forms to the appropriate government agency.
Form I-9 (Confirmation of Fitness for Employment)
Form I-9 is required by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security. It is the form of government with the strictest compliance requirements – and the fines for non-compliance can be significant.
Your employee must complete and sign Section 1, Employee Information and Attestation no later than on the first day of employment (but not before accepting the job offer).
You must complete and sign Section 2, Review and Verification by Employer or Authorized Agent, within three business days of your new employee’s first day of employment.
You must also physically examine the document or documents presented by your new employee to determine their identity and work permit, which demonstrates their eligibility for employment in the United States. This means that you must see original documents or notarized documents, although certain receipts are acceptable.
Identity and work permit documents
Employees must submit either one document from List A in the acceptable document lists, or one document each from List B and List C. The lists of acceptable documents are on page three of Form I-9.
For example, a US passport or US passport card is considered a List A document, while a voter registration card and state-issued birth certificate may be presented as List B and List C documents, respectively.
In certain situations, the following receipts are acceptable in place of a document from the list of acceptable documents:
- A receipt showing that your employee has requested a replacement for a lost, stolen or damaged document.
- The arrival portion of Form I-94 or I-94A, which includes both a temporary I-551 stamp and your employee’s photograph.
- The departure portion of Form I-94 or I-94A with a refugee admission stamp.
However, your employee must also submit the actual documents for your examination within a certain period of time.
If you are enrolled in E-Verify, a web-based system administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and USCIS, you can verify your new employee’s identity and employment eligibility through the E-Verify system. Although the system is voluntary, you should check with your state to see if it has mandated use of the system.
Form W-2 (Salary and Tax Statement)
You must also complete Form W-2 and submit it to the SSA. To fill out this form, you will need your new employee’s social security number. If your employee does not have a Social Security card, you can use the SSA’s Social Security Number Verification Service.
Form W-4 (Employee’s Withholding Tax Statement)
The IRS requires employees to fill out a Form W-4 when they start a new job. The form includes instructions on how to fill it out, and there is also an online tax deduction estimator that you can use for greater accuracy.
The form contains information your payroll department needs to calculate how much of your new employee’s salary will be withheld for income tax purposes. However, you do not have to file this form with the IRS. Employees should consider completing a new Form W-4 if their financial situation changes.
State Withholding Tax Forms
Your state may also require your employee to fill out a state tax withholding form. Contact your state tax or revenue office if you are unsure whether a separate tax withholding form is required for your employee.
Reporting on new state hires
Under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), all employers are required to report new hires within 20 days of the hire date, although individual states may impose stricter reporting requirements.
To see what your state’s new hire reporting requirements are, the Office of Child Support Enforcement provides state-specific information on each state’s requirements and contact information. If you have employees in more than one state, you can register with the Child Support Portal to choose a state to report all of your new hires to.