Forms You Must Have New Employees Complete at Hire

W-4, I-9, Job Application

Your first responsibility for paperwork and regulations for new employees comes immediately after hire.  Before the employee starts work and receives his or her first paycheck, there are some forms you are required to have the employee complete.  These forms must be completed by every employee, according to both federal and state laws. 

When these forms are completed, you should keep them in a specific location, available to employees and others who need to see them. The U.S. Department of Labor (under the Wage and Hour Division) has specific requirements for payroll and personnel records that must be kept on all employees. 

Federal, state, and local agencies can also audit your employee records for a variety of reasons, so keeping records is important. 

Form W-4 for Federal Income Tax Withholding

All new hires must complete Form W-4 before receiving their first paycheck.  This form includes information on marital status, number of dependents, and designated additional withholding amounts

Employers should not give employees advice on how to complete this form, but you can direct them to a link in the article that helps them complete this form. 

Employees may change their W-4 form as often as they like. It's the employer's responsibility to keep track of the latest change and to make sure employee paychecks reflect the wishes of the employee for withholding.  More

Form I-9 and E-Verify System for Employment Eligibility

As an employer, you must document the eligibility of new employees to work in the U.S. The document you must use is Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, which must be completed by each new hire.  The new employee must also provide a proof of eligibility, such as a birth certificate or "green card." You as the employer must verify that information. This form should be kept in the employee's record, but it doesn't need to be sent to a federal agency. 

 Larger employers (with many employees) can sign up for the E-Verify system and use it to check on the eligibility of new employees to work in the U.S.  The system uses the information on Form I-9 to compare with federal data bases.  More

Job Application Form

Each new employee must complete a job application form, even if this person has already submitted a resume for the job.  The job application form contains information about the new employee that can be verified, like previous employers and education.  It also includes several statements the applicant must sign. 

One statement attests that the information on the application is true and correct, while other statements allow the employer to conduct reference checks and background checks More

State Withholding and Registration

Employers must register new employees with their state's new hire notification system; this registration allows the state to collect child support payments from these employees.  A list of the state notification systems is included in this article.

Each state that collects income taxes has requirements for employers to report and pay those taxes. Contact your state department of revenue (or equivalent) for information on how to register as an employer in the state.  This state agency will also give you information on withholding forms and requirements for reporting and paying withheld amounts. 

For states that have income tax, you will need to deduct these taxes from employee paychecks and send the withheld taxes to the appropriate state agency. 

A Checklist for Hiring New Employees

This article provides a checklist of new hire processes, so you don't forget anything. It includes getting an Employer ID number, registering with the IRS for tax reporting and payments, and with your state (if state income tax is required). Other registrations and requirements are also listed.  More

One More Thing - Your Employee Handbook

 If  your business has several employees, you should have an employee handbook or policies and procedures manual. All new employees should receive a copy of this handbook and should sign that they have read and understand it. (This assumes that they actually read the handbook).

Having employees read the employee handbook can help prevent disgruntled employees, unmet expectations, and possible lawsuits.  More