Employers Resource

New Hire Paperwork Checklist: W-4 & I-9


Before the excitement of your new employee settles down, you need to cover some bases. Our New Hire Paperwork Checklist will cover everything you need to know from tax forms to employee handbooks.

In this article, we’ll explain the importance along with some of the rules you should be aware of regarding the W-4 and I-9 tax forms.


On or before the first day of employment, your new hire must complete and sign a W-4. This is how you will know how much to withhold from the employee’s paycheck for federal income taxes. You must then submit the Form W-4 to the IRS. You are required to implement new W-4 forms by the start of the first payroll period ending on or after the 30th day from the date you received it.

This form includes information on marital status, number of dependents, and additional withholding amounts. You should not give employees advice on how to complete this form, but you can direct them to resources that will help, such as this guide to filling out your W-4 by SmartAsset. 

Depending on the state your employees work in, you will need them to fill out different paperwork for their State Income Tax withholdings. 


You must verify every employee’s eligibility to work in the U.S. within three days of their hire date. To do this, you’ll need to obtain copies of documents that confirm the employee’s citizenship (driver’s license and social security card, birth certificate, or green card) and fill out the Form I-9.

You don’t have to submit this form to the federal government but you are required to keep these forms on file for three years after the employee is hired, or one year after termination. You can verify your new hire’s employment eligibility electronically through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ E-Verify system. 

If you do not complete these forms in the required time frame, your business could be audited and you would receive fines for this tiny slip-up. As a good rule of thumb, don’t let any employees start work until these forms are finished and returned to you and/or the federal government.

Download Our New Hire Paperwork Checklist

Download our New Hire Paperwork Checklist for a full list of the documents you need to successfully onboard a new employee.

Download the New Hire Pocket Guide for Employers Here

By following this guide, you can be sure that you didn’t miss anything while onboarding a new hire! Finding and hiring the right candidate is already a big enough task, so don’t let paperwork or compliance concerns make things worse. We’ve got you covered!

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