For many small businesses, prepping for the holiday season involves more than just displaying some seasonal décor. Stocking up on inventory, designing the implementation of marketing campaigns, and organizing schedules for current employees are critical business functions that will be taken into consideration.
Depending on the industry, certain small businesses may also expand their staff with the addition of seasonal employees. As with any new hire comes the mandatory new hire paperwork that helps your business stay compliant. One of the forms that involves information from the employee and the employer is Form I-9.
Below is a brief breakdown of how to properly complete Form I-9:
What is Form 1-9?
The federal Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) requires employers to hire only individuals who may legally work in the United States. To comply with the law, Form I-9 is required for all U.S. employers to verify the employment eligibility and identity of each employee hired to work in the U.S. (including U.S. citizens.) Employees are directed to complete the first section of the form and employers must complete the second section and third if necessary.
There are three kinds of documents that can be presented to an employer to verify an employee’s identity and authorization to work in the United States.
List A Documents-
List A documents show both identity and employment authorization. Employees who present a List A document do not need to present any other document. Find List A here.
List B Documents-
Documents in List B show identity only, so employees who choose to present a List B document must also present a document from List C. Find List B here.
List C Documents-
The documents in List C show employment authorization only, therefore employees who choose to present a document from List C must also provide a document from List B. Find List C here.
Three Sections of Form I-9 explained
- Employee Information and Verification
Your newly hired employees are responsible for completing this section no later than the first day of work for pay.
2. Employer Review and Verification
Employers-it’s your responsibility to complete and sign Section 2 of Form I-9 within three business days of the employee’s first day of work for pay. If the job lasts less than three days, you must complete Section 2 no later than the first day of work for pay.
3. Updating and Reverification (If necessary)
This section is needed if: An employee’s employment authorization or documentation of employment authorization has expired, an employee is rehired within three years of the date that the Form I-9 was originally completed or an employee changes his or her name.
Where to File
Unlike W-2s or other IRS documents, employers must keep completed Form I-9s on file for each person on their payroll. Form I-9s must be stored with the employer for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated (whichever is later). It must be available for inspection by authorized U.S. government officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor or the Department of Justice.
Quick Tips for Completing Form I-9
Employers should ensure that:
- The information on the form is clearly readable.
- The date entered in Section 2 and the date the employee began work for pay matches the date in the payroll records.
- Abbreviations used are widely known.
Need even more help with completing these forms? I-9 Central is a free platform that provides employers and employees easy access to resources, tips and guides to better understand the process.