Before hiring your first employee, you need to register for things like an Employer Identification Number (EIN), state tax accounts, and workers’ compensation insurance. After your registration responsibilities are complete, you can begin hiring employees. But, there are required forms for new employees. What forms do new employees need to fill out?
What forms do new employees need to fill out?
Before an employee can work for you, you need to collect some information from them. Here are forms required for new employees to fill out during the onboarding process:
- Form W-4
- Form I-9
Here is a list of potential forms new hires might be required to fill out:
- State tax withholding forms
- Emergency contact form
- Employee handbook acknowledgment form
- Bank account information form
- Form SS-5
- Benefits forms
Some of the forms are required by the government. Others are necessary documents or payroll forms you need for your business. To learn more about each form, continue reading.
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As an employer, you are required to withhold federal taxes (income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes) from an employee’s gross wages and deposit the money with the IRS. An employee must fill out Form W-4 so you know how much federal income tax to withhold.
Employees can input information into Form W-4 to reduce the amount of tax withheld from their pay.
Form W-4 asks for the employee’s information (e.g., name, Social Security number, address, marital status) and tax withholding adjustments. Employees can change their claims on Form W-4 at any time throughout the year.
In rare cases, you might even have an employee who claims exemption from federal income taxes. What does tax exempt mean? If they write “Exempt” in Box 7 of Form W-4, do not withhold any federal income taxes.
After you receive Form W-4, use the tax tables in IRS Publication 15 to determine the amount of taxes to withhold. You can either use the wage bracket or percentage method for this determination.
Form W-4 is a necessary tax form for new employees. Without Form W-4, you cannot run payroll.
Among the forms for new employees is Form I-9. Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, is used to verify that your employees are legally allowed to work in the United States.
Form I-9 is divided into three sections. The employee fills out the first section, and you fill out the second section. The third section is only for reverification of employment eligibility or rehires.
The form asks questions like the employee’s name, address, Social Security number, and citizenship status. There is also a section in case the employee uses a preparer or translator to help them fill out the form.
The employee must bring in original documents to prove their identity and employment eligibility. You need these documents in order to complete the employer section of Form I-9. There are three lists of acceptable documents in Form I-9: Lists A, B, and C.
Employees bring in one document from List A that confirms their identity and employment authorization (e.g., U.S. passport). Or, they can bring in one document from List B that confirms their identity (e.g., driver’s license) and one document from List C that verifies their employment authorization (e.g., U.S. Citizen ID Card).
In the employer section, you will need to provide information about the document(s) the employee brings in. Then, you need to certify that the documents are genuine to the best of your knowledge. Include information like your name, business name, and company address, and sign Form I-9.
Starting May 1, 2020, employers are required to use a new version of Form I-9 for all new hires. Employers do not need to update current employees’ existing Forms I-9 they have on file, unless reverification is required. To stay compliant, use the October 2019 edition of Form I-9.
State tax withholding forms
What forms do employees need to fill out aside from the required Forms W-4 and I-9? If there is state income tax in the state your business is located, you need to collect state tax withholding forms from employees. Along with Form W-4, these are the tax forms for employees to fill out.
Not all states have state income tax. Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming do not have state income tax. Unless your business is in these states, your employee must fill out a state tax withholding form.
State tax withholding forms work similarly to Form W-4. However, many states continue to use withholding allowances, which were eliminated from the 2020 federal W-4 form. Allowances reduce an employee’s tax withholding. If your state uses allowances, your employee must enter their information and the number of allowances they want to claim. This determines the amount of money you withhold for state income tax.
For example, if your business is in California, your employee must fill out DE-4 Withholding Certificate.
Check with your state for more information.
Local income tax
You might also need to withhold local income tax from employee wages. Typically, local income taxes are a percentage of employee wages and are not determined by a withholding form.
Emergency contact form
Asking employees to provide emergency contact information is very important. If the employee were to be injured or have an emergency situation, you need to know who to contact.
An emergency contact form can be as simple as the employee providing their information and the information of two to three contacts. The emergency contact information should include the name, relationship to the employee, address, and home and work phone numbers of the contacts.
It’s a good idea for employees to choose emergency contacts who are somewhat near their work location. The information on the emergency contact form should be updated when necessary.
Employee handbook acknowledgment form
If you haven’t thought about having an employee handbook at your business, now’s the time to create one.
Having an employee handbook details information like employment laws, employee conduct, payroll, and other important business policies. Workers can consult the employee handbook when questions arise.
Provide an employee handbook acknowledgment form for the employee to fill out, verifying that they read through the handbook and understand your business’s policies.
Bank account information form
If your employee elects to be paid via direct deposit, or if you are in a state that allows mandatory direct deposit, you need to collect the employee’s bank account information.
Eighty-two percent of employees get paid with direct deposit, making it the most common form of payment. The bank account information form should ask for the following information:
- Employee name
- Name and routing number of the bank
- Type of account (checking or savings)
- Employee’s bank account number
The employee also needs to sign and verify that they want to receive their wages via direct deposit.
Once direct deposit is set up for your business and you have employee bank account information, you can start running payroll.
An important part of hiring a new employee is having their Social Security number (SSN) on file. As an employer, you need an employee’s SSN to put on Form W-2.
Both resident and nonresident alien employees need an SSN. If an employee does not have an SSN, they should fill out Form SS-5, Application for Social Security Card.
Once the employee has an SSN, you can make a copy of the card. The employee name on file needs to match their Social Security number.
You might choose to offer small business employee benefits. If you do, you must collect forms indicating their involvement in the programs. Employees need to give you forms even if they do not want to participate in the benefits program(s).
Here are some benefits you might offer at your small business:
- Health insurance
- Life insurance
- Disability insurance
- Retirement plans
You must provide information about the benefits you offer. In the benefits package, your employees must accept or deny participation in the program(s). Collect these forms from employees before enrolling them.
When should new employees fill forms out?
Before employees begin work at your business, the forms required for new employees need to be filled out. Have the employee come in and fill out forms at your business on their first day. Or, have them fill the forms out before their first day. Make sure the employee knows ahead of time what documents they need to bring in order to complete Form I-9.
Once the forms needed for new employees are complete, keep them in your records. Your employee can then begin work at your business.
Keep all employee forms in one place. Patriot’s small business human resources software is a great add-on to our online payroll software. With the HR Software, you can keep employee files online and give employees access to their documents. Try both for free today!