April 16, 2013

New Payroll Tax Form I-9

By Joseph Gross, Payroll Consultant, PAYCHEX

New Payroll Tax Form I-9

A revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification was released by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency on March 8, 2013.After a 60 day grace period, the new form will be required to be used exclusively, beginning on May 7, 2013.Form I-9 must be completed by all employers to verify the employment eligibility of every new hire.The new version of Form I-9 will be required for all new employees, as well as, for re-verification of existing employees. Existing employees whose work authorization status has not changed and who have completed I-9’s filed with their employer, need not complete the new form.

The form contains both changes to its format and content and has gone from 2 pages to 3 pages.The format change is designed to allow for greater clarity; while also allowing more space for additional data fields.

As before, Section 1 of form I-9 is required to be completed by each employee no later than the first day of employment.Completion of the form must occur AFTER acceptance of an offer for employment by the employee.

Section 1 now contains additional fields which can aid the USCIS in verifying information contained in the form. The new version has a field for “Other Names Used”.Per the form’s instructions, this box is intended for other legal names (ie: Maiden Names) which the USCIS can use to cross reference employee eligibility with other agencies. Section 1 also now includes optional fields for an employee’s e-mail address and telephone number.These fields are used for ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) to be able to contact the employee in the event of conflicting records regarding eligibility.Under the “Status Attestation” area of the form; employees are now required to enter the date on which his or her work authorization status expires (ie: Employees who are not U.S. citizens and are not lawful permanent residents).The new form requires that if U.S. Customs Border Protection (CBP) issued an Admission Number, that number must be included as well as the Employee’s passport number and passport country of issuance.

Section 2 of the form is requires the employer to provide detail on the proof of identification that was provided by the employee. Employers or their authorized representative must complete and sign Section 2 within 3 business days of the employee’s first day of employment. Per the forms instructions; employers must also examine one document from “List A” or one document from “List B” and “List C”, according to the “Lists of Acceptable Documents” on the last page of the I-9.

On the new form, The List of Acceptable Documents clarifies in list C the exact text that must be contained on a Social Security Card for it to be valid.It also advises which restrictions must not be contained in the text of the Social Security card (ie: “Not Valid for Employment,” “Valid for Work Only with INS Authorization” or “Valid for Work Only with DHS Authorization.”).

Employers should be proactive in complying with the new form, as a failure to properly and fully complete and maintain a Form I-9 can result in civil penalties including fines ranging from $110 to $1,100 per Form I-9.In the most egregious cases, criminal penalties may also be levied.

The updated Form I-9 can be obtained at USCIS website at: www.uscis.gov/I-9Central