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Form W9 for Nonprofits

Last modified: September 28, 2020
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Definition

IRS Form W9 is used by a taxpayer, usually a business, to obtain the Social Security number or Federal Employer Tax ID number from a person or business entity.  This is most often for the purposes of issuing them an annual Form 1099-MISC for any contract payments made by the requesting party.

Find the Form

https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-w-9 

Nonprofit-Specific Considerations

A nonprofit organization has a few lines that should be answered differently than a typical company.  If you are requested to complete a Form W9, pay particular attention to these:

Line 1:  Name of the organization

Line 3:  Select OTHER, and then write in “nonprofit corporation”

Line 4:  By Exempt Payee Code, enter “5”

Lines 5 and 6:  Official address of the organization

Part 1:  Enter the nonprofit’s federal EIN number, not anyone’s Social Security Number

Part II:  Ensure that an officer of the organization signs and dates the form

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This Post Has 45 Comments

  1. My company routinely asks for a W-9 whenever we set up a new vendor oin our AP system. We are making a donation to a church in lieu of flowers. A past employees died and it was their general request. Are required to ask for a W-9 to substantiate that the organization is a non profit organization?

    1. No, you’re not. In fact, a W9 doesn’t substantiate that in any way. You can always look them up on the IRS website at IRS.gov/EO or ask them for a copy of their 501(c)(3) determination letter. Keep in mind it is possible they don’t have official IRS determination, since all churches have provisional 501(c)(3) status. See our recent video on this topic here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIWqwFwwZ8s

  2. I’m part of a club that is a 501c3 newly and I’m curious about something. It’s a fish club and we are planning an auction. The members of the club will bring fish and we will raffle off the fish and the buyers will pay the club directly and when it’s over the club will pay the sellers who consigned the fish to the auction. Do the sellers need to provide W9 or something similar and how does the club need to handle that?

    1. In many charity auction situations, the person or company providing the auctioned item doesn’t get paid for it. It’s usually a donation, so no W9 or 1099. In this case, however, it sounds like your members who are getting paid for their fish should have that reported on 1099-MISC, meaning you’ll need a W9 from each of them. Since we aren’t privy to the entire set of facts, check with your accountant or tax-preparer to make sure.

  3. Hi,
    The organization I volunteer for (as Treasurer) puts on periodic society meetings. A local tech school is sending their students to our upcoming meeting, but they have asked for a current signed W-9 from us (not less than 6 mo old). I’m really not sure what all that means. Any insight would be helpful.
    Thanks!
    Joel

  4. I volunteer for a small charity that sometimes pays bills for our clients (electric, internet…). Do we need to issue a 1099 (or anything else) to the utilities providers that we paid to on behalf of our clients? These payments are usually no more than $250 per client.

  5. IF I was paid 200 dollars cash (twice) for a total of 400 dollars to build a website/video for a non-profit; what would I need in order to file my taxes? Thanks.

    1. Since it’s less than $600, there’s no requirement for the nonprofit to give you a 1099-NEC, though they could choose to do so. You don’t need anything other than to self-report the income on Schedule C when you file your taxes.

  6. My nonprofit was asked by a venue to fill out A W-9 form because they’re paying us a weekly fee to bring in entertainment which is in fact a fundraising event for our charity. They refuse to write it off as a donation and insist on a W-9.

    Can a non profit in California be hired by a corporation and if so, are we required to submit the requested documents?

    1. Yes, and yes. The venue is treating you as a vendor, which is fine. In their business model, they don’t see this as a donation. For your own recordkeeping, just treat the income as fundraising income. If they give your nonprofit a 1099 for the fees, it won’t cause your organization any headaches.

  7. A nonprofit organization asked and paid me $400 for makeup services. Would I fill out a 1099 or w9 form for them? Are they needed? I am a freelance makeup artist and the nonprofit set the price for payment. As a new freelancer, should I look into getting a LLC or just file as self employed as well? I am not a full time makeup artist, I have 2 jobs (one with w2 other is a independent contractor as a substitute teacher)

    1. I would recommend checking with your personal tax advisor for the second part of your question. The decision to formalize into a business entity, such as an LLC, should be done in conjunction with looking at your entire income picture. As to the first part, they would need a W9 from you in order to give you a 1099-NEC at the end of the year to report the $400 payment.

  8. Do I need to fill out a W9 for a co partnered fundraising event. I partnered with a company that sells popcorn and splits the sales 50/50. So 50% of the sales are given to the us for partnering.

    1. Probably not, but there’s no harm if you do. Since your organization is the recipient of fundraising revenue, it’s not considered a contractor payment for the other company. Therefore, they shouldn’t need a W9 from you.

  9. Hi.

    I just started working at a refugee services organization. We provide services of many kinds to them, including housing. Different organizations provide us with grant revenue, and we pay direct client expenses on behalf of the refugees as they get settled. If we pay a landlord with grant revenue funds, I presume it would be correct to 1099 them, right?

  10. Coming up on the holiday season usually means gifts to nonprofits, and the requests for a W9. Is there any guideline or policy that would prevent us from providing a download on our website of our W9?

  11. Hi. I am on a PTA board. If we are paying an individual under $600 to do a small job for us do we need to obtain a W-9 from them?

  12. I am needing clarification on issuing Missionaries/other non-profit companies 1099’s. I read that I still need to issue them a 1099 at the end of the year if the amount issued to them is over 600.00, meaning I also need to get a W9. Is this true?

    1. Probably for the missionaries, yes. Without knowing more I cannot say for certain. As for the other nonprofits, probably not. They are most likely corporations, and probably do not need 1099s.

  13. I am on my elementary school’s PTO. We’ve asked several local companies for sponsorship donations to the PTO. One of them said they would only donate if we filled out a W-9 for them. Is this necessary? Is it legal, since we aren’t providing them with a service?

    1. It’s probably not necessary, but it also isn’t a very big deal. They may have internal financial control procedures that require them to collect this information. There’s nothing personal or risky about providing a W9. I wouldn’t let it stand in the way of a great donation.

  14. Thank you for this! It doesn’t seem to answer my question though. I’m a new employee of a non-profit and need to make some purchases for supplies (the money comes from a grant), all under $500 each. My boss said that with each purchase I make I need to collect a W-9 from the ‘vendor’. Why would I need to do that? Makes no sense to me, but maybe I’m missing something! Thanks!

    1. W9 is for business-to-business transactions where your organization may need to provide the vendor with a Form 1099 at the end of the year, assuming total expenditures are greater than $600 for the year. Form W9 provides you with the vendor’s tax ID number, which you would need to send them the Form 1099. If you are buying supplies from an established retail storefront, getting a W9 is probably unnecessary. You don’t need a W9 from Walmart, nor would you send them a 1099. But if you are doing business with an independent contractor, sole proprietor, or other similar business that is invoicing you for goods or services, getting a W9 is a good idea, and validates somewhat that you’re dealing with a legitimate company. Hope that helps!

  15. Hi. I am the treasurer of a non profit youth wrestling club. A power company has offered a monetary donation to our program but is requesting a w9. Is it necessary to provide one to them?

  16. Our nonprofit web host allows more than one website under our account. For 4 years we have allowed the county to park their communications volunteers website alongside our nonprofit’s. For 3 years, the county shared half the site expenses (web hosting and SSL certificate) and paid for their own domain name. Prices went up a year ago and the county ceased reimbursements, saying they would no longer accept responsibility for their volunteers’ site. Our nonprofit asked county volunteers to chip in and they did, defraying part of the expenses. Now, the county has said they will give our nonprofit a grant for the expenses for the next year. The county wants our nonprofit to fill out a W-9. I’ve used W-9s for other purposes, but never for reimbursement of expenses. Can a W-9 be used for this?

    1. Yes, but no. The only purpose of a W9 is to provide a payer with the tax ID number of the payee, usually for purposes of preparing a 1099-MISC or 1099-NEC at the end of the year. In your case, it’s fine to give them a W9. They’re asking for it in context with the reimbursement plan, but it’s not really directly being “used” for it in any way. They probably intend to send you a 1099-MISC for the total reimbursements, which is fine also.

      1. Very much hoping you can advise as I believe I may get double taxed and my expenses will be written off as someone else’s.

        This year I applied for clean water/rain garden grant. I had the time but needed $ for the pipes, soil, plants, ex. We were awarded the grant and now I am being asked for a W9 which concerned me as I purchased the supplies with funds I earned from a job (already taxed as income)

        When I asked why, the city gave me a blanket statement from accounting that they needed W9 for 1099s (which type has not been clarified)

        Is this correct? Do I complete the W9? OR only for our labor/hours and not provide the original receipts as I believe I can put the $6k of landscaping and water drainage work we’ve installed into home improvement. The city may demand the originals even to process labor reimbursement but due to warranties AND because I’m not an employee I am resistant to this as they may also claim all my expenses as theirs…. frustrated and surprised there was no disclosure of this info prior.


        The reimbursement request must include:
         Receipts for materials and services purchased
         An itemized list of donated materials and their value needs to be provided
         Hours of labor documented in the activity log

        Thank you so very much for your guidance this is the first grant in what I hope to parlay into more with my other nonprofits.

        -MK

        1. What the city does with regard to giving you a 1099 isn’t completely in your control. Whether they should or not may be debatable, all things considered. Giving them a W9 only provides them with your SS number or EIN, nothing else. It doesn’t automatically mean they will issue a 1099.

  17. Our HOA receives donations from film production companies in exchange for allowing them to film in and around our building. Is this the proper form to use in order to avoid paying income tax on the donation?

    1. I don’t think so. A W9 simply provides the requestor (payer) your tax ID number. What they end up doing with that number, such as issuing a 1099-MISC to the payee, is what matters. If it’s truly a donation, as opposed to rent, then your HOA doesn’t need any documentation from the payer. The HOA may wish to provide the payer (donor) a donation acknowledgement, though you will want to include a disclaimer that your HOA is not a 501(c)(3) and donations are not tax-deductible to the donor.

  18. Thank you for this bit of information. My NP is new and we are on our way to filing our 1023ez and as of now we have fiscal sponsor. On line 1 are we to document our name or the fiscal sponsors name?

  19. I appreciate the succinct “How To” on filling in the W9. Now, may I ask what form the company is to provide the corporation for funds we received that were not donations?

    1. Without knowing precisely what the funds that were not donations were for, it’s hard to say. If it was for services rendered or products sold to your nonprofit, you’re probably referencing a 1099-MISC. Those are provided to vendors for the gross total of payments sent by the purchasing organization. Typically, 1099-MISC is only sent to non-corporate businesses like sole proprietorships and partnerships. Corporations and LLCs usually do not need to receive 1099s from customers.

        1. It doesn’t really matter what the contractor did with their money after being paid. The key point is that the church paid the contractor, and should issue them a 1099-NEC at the end of the tax year. The contractor should provide the church with a completed W9, so that the church has that vendor’s SSN or EIN.

  20. Thank you for this very helpful and detailed article. There is great confusion among 501c6 nonprofits about Section 3 and 4 of this form. I have personally been told by a few CPAs and have seen W9s from other 501c6 nonprofits that checked the “C Corporation” box because they believed a 501c6 that “C” meant “corporation”. Instead, checking “Other” and writing-in “Nonprofit Corporation” and writing “5” in the exempt code if valuable and accurate tip. Every 501c6 and 501c3 should pay close attention this instruction as it could have tax implications for the nonprofit and/or the companies providing payment or invoices to the nonprofit.

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