The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a new version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, replacing the previous version 7/17/17/N which expired at the end of August. The Office of Management and Budget approved the changes last year and employers should begin implementing this new form as of January 31, 2020. As of May 1 this year, the new version of the form will be required for all new hires. The new form has a 10/21/2019 version date which should be located on the bottom of the form. Employers do not need to complete a new Form I-9 for current employees who have already properly completed Form I-9, unless re-verification applies.
According to the USCIS website, they revised the Country of Issuance field in Section 1 and the Issuing Authority field in Section 2 to add Eswatini and Macedonia, due to those countries recently undergoing name changes. In addition, the instructions of the form were revised to:
- Clarify who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer
- Update USCIS website addresses
- Provide clarifications on acceptable documents for Form I-9
- Update the process for requesting paper forms
- Updated the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Privacy Notice
The I-9 form is one of the most highly audited documents and the penalties can be in excess of $1,100 per form if absent or not filled out correctly. For a new version of the I-9, visit https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.
In addition, the IRS has debuted a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, for the new year. According to the IRS, they have issued a new design that is meant to reduce the form’s complexity and increase the transparency and accuracy of the withholding system. The new W-4 has the same underlying information as the old design, but it features more straightforward questions that make accurate withholding easier and more accurate based on the enacted of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act .
In order to increase transparency and simplicity, the redesigned form no longer uses withholding allowances. Law changes have made it so you cannot claim personal exemptions or dependency exemptions.
Employees are not required to fill out a new form if the reason is solely because of the redesign. The withholdings will be based on the existing W-4 information. Employees receiving their first paycheck in 2020, or employees who wish to make changes to their withholdings will have to complete the new form. For the redesigned version of the W-4, as well as information on how to complete the new form, visit https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf.
Kayla Vigorito, MBA
Kayla is a member of Cerini & Associates’ tax staff which provides services across a variety of industries including healthcare, construction, retail, manufacturing, service, and technology.