What forms do I need as an independent contractor?
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I’m assuming you’re planning or starting to work as an I/C. The forms you need depend on if you have clients lined up on your own or you’re working through a third party provider to gather clients.
The most important forms you’ll need are tax forms. Submit IRS Form W-9 (or 1099) to each business you’re providing a service or product to. This form outlines your basic information: name, address, tax ID, and alerts the IRS that the company is paying you without making any tax deductions on your behalf. As an independent contractor, you are required to make your own tax payments, typically quarterly. Some I/C’s make their tax payments annually, depending on the amount of revenue you generate.
Your tax identification number (tax ID) can be your social security number, or if you don’t want to disclose your SSN, you can apply for a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). The IRS website guides you through the process of getting an EIN, which is free and immediate. The site lets you apply for one that is appropriate to your status – as an individual or sole proprietor, a partnership, or a limited liability company, etc. You’ll provide every company that you service with a copy of that form, as well.
If you’re working through a third-party provider to get clients, they will probably have these forms on file for you to submit. If you’re getting clients on your own, the IRS website has the forms you need.
Some clients may ask you to sign an NDA or non-disclosure agreement. These forms affirm that you will not reveal any company or trade secrets they provide to you in the course of your work for them. Typically companies will have their own NDAs on file, so you won’t need to have your own.
Some clients will ask that you sign a non-compete contract. These prohibit you from working for the competition if you stop being in their employ. Depending where you live and the work you perform, these may be allowed or prohibited. Some states have made non-competes illegal, others allow them. You’ll want to thoroughly read and research any NDA or non-compete a client asks you to sign.
These are the major forms you’ll need to have, or be ready to sign, as you move to I/C status. Best of luck!
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