How to Complete the Form I-9

The Form I-9 is an employment eligibility verification form. 

Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires employers to have an I-9 form on file for every employee hired since that date. 

An I-9 form verifies newly-hired employees are eligible to work in the United States. 

The form changed in 2013 from a one page form to a 2 page form. The new form I-9 is available on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

The following are some of the key differences between the new revised 2 page form (not including the “List of Acceptable Documents and the instructions) and the old I-9 form.

The Church Accounting: How To Guide devotes a whole section of the book to payroll for churches. It covers payroll terminology and forms and then takes you through the steps necessary to set up a payroll, calculate and file the necessary taxes and forms, and even details how to handle the minister's payroll. It also includes sections on filling out IRS forms: 1099, 1099-NEC, and 1096.

If you have QuickBooks or are considering using it in the future, go ahead and purchase the QuickBooks for Churches and the How To Guide combo for a complete package on setting up and administering a payroll using QuickBooks.

QuickBooks for Churches & Church Accounting Combo Bundle

In Section 1:

  • There is a place for email address and telephone numbers. The form doesn't state that these fields are optional; however, the instructions states that if the employee chooses not to provide such information, they can simply mark “N/A” in those fields.
  • There is a new line asking for an I-94 number for individuals with temporary work status. They will also be required to provide their passport number and country of issuance.

In Section 2:

  • Additional boxes have been added to the “List A” documents column. 
  • Some documents have been added to “List A” and some have been removed, so look over the list carefully.
  • The fields in List B and List C columns are easier to tell apart and complete.
  • Large boxes have been provided for employers to input contact information about their organization and the person certifying the form.

In Section 3:

  • This section is for reverification and rehires. It is basically the same as the old form, but the instructions are a little clearer on what information they are wanting.

Remember, as with the old form …you MUST:

  • Have the employee complete and sign Section 1 of the I-9 form no later than the first day of employment.
  • You, the employer, must complete Section 2 within 3 days of starting work.
  • You still must physically examine each original document (no photocopies) presented by your employee (either a List A document or a combination of List B and List C documents) and complete all the required fields to verify work eligibility. (You can make photocopies of the original document(s) (not required) and file them with each employee’s I-9; however, make sure if you do decide to do do it for ALL employees)
  • The employee chooses which document(s) from the List of Acceptable Documents (either a List A document or a combination of List B and List C documents) they wish to provide.
  • If the document(s) have an expiration date on it, you MUST make note of it in your employee record keeping system and make sure your employee provides you with a new document showing a future expiration date at that time. If they do not, that employee is no longer eligible to work in the United States. 
  • If you make an error on the I-9 form, do NOT use whiteout or erase the mistake. Draw a line through the mistake (make sure you can still read it), make the change, and date and initial the change.
  • Use only blue or black ink…any other ink color is unacceptable. Can fill out form online and then print out for signatures. 
  • Do NOT use highlighters or make any marks or notes in the margins or white space on the Form I-9.
  • Do not file the I-9 with the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) or any other U.S. government agency. 
  • Employers must have a completed Form I-9 on file for each employee.
  • Form I-9 must be retained and stored in a safe secure location by the employer either for 3 years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later.
  • The form MUST be available for inspection by authorized US Government officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, or Department of Justice.
  • If your organization is inspected and you do not have an I-9 on file for each employee or a document with an expired date listed, or have errors and/or may be subject to fines and penalties.

Tip: If you did not know of this regulation, go ahead and have employees complete an I-9 form now. Date it the day it was completed and signed by employee.

If you want to DIY your payroll, I highly recommend you look at using Gusto! It is very user friendly and their support is awesome! Plus they know how to set up and maintain payrolls for churches and nonprofit organizations.

Note: I am a "partner" of Gusto, but as I have told you before ... I never recommend anything that we or our clients have not tried and love =)

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