New I-9 Forms: Five Important Things To Know

(www.payrollcity.com) The I-9 form is a document that employers must keep on file to verify the identity of each new employee (both citizen & non-citizen). Employees fill this form out once, at the time they are hired (but not before accepting a job offer) along with providing the required identification. Employers must use the new I-9 form for all employees hired on or after May 7th, 2013. The new Form I-9 is available on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/i-9.

1. The differences between the old and new I-9 forms

It’s important to understand the differences between the two forms, so you can easily recognize whether or not you have the correct one on file. The new I-9 form is much more modern and user-friendly, and employers need not be afraid to use it. It was designed to eliminate some of the confusion from the old I-9 form. Now 2 pages long (plus 6 pages of instruction and 1 page of acceptable documents), the new I-9 form allows employees to provide additional information such as email addresses and telephone numbers. While some of these fields are optional, this is not expressly mentioned on the form itself, only in the instructions. Additionally, the new form no longer permits PO Boxes to be used as addresses. Much of the form has been re-formatted for simplicity, readability, and added clarification.

2. Existing employees should NOT fill out the new I-9.

You should not re-verify employment for existing employees unless you have a valid reason to question the authenticity of the original documents provided at time of hire. Doing so could be construed as discriminatory, and should be avoided.

3. Know what forms you should keep on file

All employers are required to keep a copy of the I-9 form and Federal W-4 form. Check with your state to see if there are additional requirements. For example: many states have an additional W-4 form, and some states, like Colorado, have a Verification Form. If an employee does not fill out a state W-4 form, make sure that the state allowances always match their federal allowances for payroll.

4. Understand the consequences of non-compliance!

In addition to fines as much as $1,100 per form, employers may be subject to criminal liability in some circumstances, as well. I-9 audits are on the rise, and even though 100% of your workforce may be legally allowed to work, you can still incur hefty fines simply by not maintaining valid records.

5. Make a To-Do List

In addition to downloading a copy of the new I-9 form, and carefully reviewing its instructions, you may wish to provide training to all employees and managers involved in administering the new I-9 form. Take care to take “smart steps” with regard to its implementation – especially if you do so prior to May 7th. You may wish to note any questions you have and consult with legal counsel where appropriate.

If you have any questions about how this change will affect your business, call BiggsKofford at (719) 579-9090.