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A W-9 Form is a tax-related form that contractors and freelancers have to submit to businesses. Their signature is required to make the document official. Traditionally, these are printed documents that you can sign using a pen. But what if you filled up a digital W-9 form? Can W-9 forms be signed electronically?

The answer is yes; you can sign them electronically. To do so, you need to use an e-sign tool like Wondershare PDFelement.

In this article
  1. What Is the Difference Between a Signed W 9 and an Unsigned W 9?
  2. Does a W-9 Form Need To Be Signed Every Year?
    1. Create a Signed W-9 Form Using the Signature Feature
    1. Be Accurate
    2. Keep It Safe
    3. You Don't Need to Submit a W-9 Form Every Year
    1. Independent Contractors
    2. Sole Proprietors
    3. Vendors and Suppliers
    4. Landlords

Part 1. What Is the Difference Between a Signed W 9 and an Unsigned W 9?

A W-9 form is a document in the United States that is used to provide the necessary information for employment or other income-generating purposes. Suppose you are a freelancer and you struck a deal with a company. You need to send them a W-9 form to confirm your name, address, and taxpayer's identification number (TIN).

Are you required to sign them? In cases like this when you are receiving payments that you need to report to the IRS, yes. The signature signifies that the information you entered is correct. Also, the signature confirms that you are the one who filled up and submitted the form and it is not fabricated. Without your signature, the business will not know if they can rely on the information you submitted.

Just to clarify, not everyone needs to submit a W-9 Form. If you receive over $600 within a year from a business or individual, they need to file a Form 1099. They would need your information to do that, and so they'd require you to submit a W-9 Form.

Part 2. Does a W-9 Form Need To Be Signed Every Year?

Fortunately, you do not need to submit a W-9 Form annually. But there is a condition. The information on the form that you submitted must remain unchanged. Meaning, you should still have the same legal name, address, and TIN.

But please note that some companies may ask you to submit one every year. That way, they can ensure their records remain still up to date.

Of course, if you are now working with a different individual or company, you need to send them a new one.

Part 3. How To Sign a W9 Electronically?

To sign a W-9 Form electronically, you need a tool that can open the form and offers an e-sign feature. Wondershare PDFelement is one of the best tools that you can use. While it is a PDF tool, Wondershare PDFelement can open any document. On top of that, it provides you with two ways to sign your documents. You can use electronic signatures or certificate-based digital signatures.

Part 3.1. Create a Signed W-9 Form Using the Signature Feature

Under the Comments tab of Wondershare PDFelement, you can find the Signature feature. It is as simple as signing a printed document but done electronically. To sign W-9 Forms using this feature, follow these steps:

  1. Open the W-9 Form using Wondershare PDFelement.
  2. Click Comment > Signature.
signature feature under the comments tab
  1. Select Create New.

creating a new digital signature
  1. Create your signature. You can choose from three different methods:
    1. Upload - This allows you to create the perfect digital signature. Grab a piece of paper and sign it. Take a picture and upload it to PDFelement. Wondershare PDFelement will delete the background. For a seamless process, use plain white paper.
upload option for creating digital signature
    1. Draw - Choose this method if you can draw your signature perfectly using a mouse or stylus.

drawing a signature on wondershare pdfelement
    1. Type -This method is the least recommended. You must type your signature and select a font style and color.
creating a digital signature through typing
  1. Click Ok.
  2. Click the spot on the PDF where you want the signature to be.

signing the w9 form
  1. Save the document.

Part 3.1. Create a Signed W-9 Form Using the Sign Document Feature:

Suppose the company requires you to use certificate digital signatures when signing W-9 Forms electronically. It's done to add an extra layer of security and ensure the authenticity of the signed document. In this case, you should use Wondershare PDFelement's Sign Document feature instead. Here's how:

  1. Open your W-9 Form with Wondershare PDFelement.
  2. Click Protect > Sign Document.
sign document option under protect tab
  1. Click the spot on the PDF where you want the certified digital signature to appear.
  2. A pop-up window will show. Click New ID.

creating a new certified digital signature
  1. Check I want to create a new digital ID > Next > Next.
creating a new digital id
  1. Enter your name and email address > click Next.
entering the necessary information
  1. Set a strong password and click Finish.
setting a password
  1. You will be back to the Sign Document screen with the new ID automatically selected. Enter the password.
reentering the password
  1. Click Sign. The certified digital signature will appear on the PDF.
  2. Save the signed document.

Part 4. Important Reminders for Signing W-9 Forms

Here are some important notes that you need to keep in mind when signing W-9 Forms:

Be Accurate

Always review your W-9 form before signing it. Ensure that your name is spelled correctly and you entered the correct address and taxpayer's identification number. Your signature will signify that you have confirmed all the information is correct. If an error has been detected, you may be subject to income tax withholding. Not only that, but you may also face legal trouble.

Keep It Safe

W-9 Forms are important documents that contain sensitive information. It shows your full name, address, and TIN. That said, you should ensure you are using secure tools when signing and sending your W-9 forms. As much as possible, avoid using online tools to protect your data. If that can't be avoided, check the service's reputation before using their tools.

You Don't Need to Submit a W-9 Form Every Year

Again, depending on the company from whom you receive a payment of $600 in a year, you may not need to annually submit a W-9 form. But if any of the important information has changed, you always have to submit a new one.

Part 5. List of People Who Are Most Likely to Need to Sign W-9 Forms

Before you sign a W-9 Form, it is important to ask: "Is this really necessary?" Does the law require you to submit a W-9 Form to the requester?

To shed light on this topic, let's look at the various groups of people who may need to submit Form W-9 to requesters. Here are some common groups:

Independent Contractors

If you provide services as an independent contractor or a freelancer to businesses, you may be required to submit a W-9 form to the businesses that hire you. The business uses the information on the W-9 to report payments made to the independent contractor to the IRS.

Sole Proprietors

Sole proprietors who operate their own businesses may need to submit a W-9 form to clients or customers who pay them for goods or services. This allows the payer to obtain the sole proprietor's tax identification information for reporting purposes.

Vendors and Suppliers

If your work involves providing goods or services to other businesses, you may need to submit a W-9 Form. To whom? To your clients or customers. This allows the client or customer to obtain your tax identification information for reporting the payments made.


Do you have a property you rent to a business? If the business pays you $600 or more for rent within the tax year, they would need your TIN. Thus, you need to send them a W-9 Form.


Can a W-9 Form be signed electronically? Yes. But be careful with what e-signing tool you use. Your W-9 Form contains sensitive information, and you should protect it.

You can use tools like Wondershare PDFelement. It allows you to put electronic signatures or certified digital signatures on documents. You can also use Wondershare PDFelement to directly send the W-9 form to the entity or individual that needs it.

Audrey Goodwin
Audrey Goodwin Apr 24, 24
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12 years of talent acquired in the software industry working with large publishers. Public speaker and author of several eBooks on technical writing and editing.