What Forms Do You Need for a New Hire?
Your first responsibility for paperwork and regulations for new employees comes immediately after hire. Before the employee starts work and receives his or her first paycheck, there are some forms you are required to have the employee complete. These forms must be completed by every employee, according to both federal and state laws.
Federal, state, and local agencies can also audit your employee records for a variety of reasons, so keeping records is important.
Form W-4 for Federal Income Tax Withholding
All new hires must complete Form W-4 before receiving their first paycheck. This form includes information on marital status, number of dependents, and designated additional withholding amounts. It is used to calculate withholding for federal income taxes. You don’t have to keep copies of all W-4 forms, just the most recent one.
Employers should not give employees advice on how to complete this form, but you can direct them to an IRS article that helps them complete this form.
Be sure to use the most recent version of the W-4 form.
Employees may change their W-4 form as often as they like. For example, an employee may receive a bonus and want to change withholding. It is your responsibility as the employer to keep track of the latest change and to make sure employee paychecks reflect the wishes of the employee for withholding.
As an employer, you must document the eligibility of new employees to work in the U.S. The document you must use is Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, which must be completed by each new hire. The new employee must provide documentation of (a) identity and (b) work eligibility.
Job Application Form
The new hire process often starts with this essential form being filled out. Applications are often desirable even if you receive a resume because they are standardized and can be used to gather the same information from each applicant.
On the application form the applicant attests that the information on the application is true and correct, while other statements allow the employer to conduct reference checks and background checks.
State Withholding and Registration
Employers must register new employees with their state’s new hire notification system; this registration allows the state to collect child support payments from these employees.
Each state that collects income taxes has requirements for employers to report and pay those taxes. Contact your state department of revenue (or equivalent) for information on how to register as an employer in the state. This state agency will also give you information on withholding forms and requirements for reporting and paying withheld amounts.
For states that have an income tax, you will need to deduct these taxes from employee paychecks and send the withheld taxes to the appropriate state agency.
Create an employee handbook.
Although not required, it is an excellent idea to have a handbook describing your business’s employee policies and making it clear that employment is at will unless an employee has signed a written employment contract. A handbook may include work process descriptions and benefits in addition to policies and procedures.) All new employees should receive a copy of this handbook and should sign that they have read and understand it.
Set up personnel files.
For each employee you hire, create a file in which to keep job-related documents, such as job applications, employment offers, IRS Form W-4, performance evaluations, and sign-up forms for employee benefits. Medical records should be kept in a separate, confidential file, in a locked cabinet. And you should store I-9 Forms, which document an employee’s immigration status, in a separate file as well.