I've sent my Employment Authorization Document (EAD) renewal to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services about two months ago, and I haven't received a new card yet. Is it illegal if I file a W-9 form now?
When completing a W-9, you are required to provide a Social Security number (SSN) or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). An ITIN and SSN are connected to your identity and provide a way to allocate income and withholdings to you. ITINs expire and would have to be renewed for tax return processing purposes, but an expired ITIN can still be used on Form W-9. When a vendor uses the W-9 to gather your information, it is to make sure the payments are allocated to the right person. If you complete the form wrong, you may have an issue with your tax return.
If you are unable to provide an ITIN or SSN, you must fill out a Form W-8. There are several versions based on what you are completing the form for. Once you submit the W-8, whoever is paying you will then withhold 30% of what you earn to the IRS. Depending on tax treaties and what you are doing, you may be able to reduce the withholding percentage.
To find out whether something is legal or illegal, you must consult an attorney. CPAs do not practice law and cannot provide legal advice.
For more resources, check out PICPA’s Money & Life Tips, Ask a CPA, or CPA Locator.
Answered by: Christopher R. Cicalese, CPA, MSTFP, is a manager at Alloy Silverstein Shapiro Adams Mulford Cicalese Wilson & Co. in Cherry Hill, N.J.