How To Fill Out a W-9 for Your Nonprofit: A Step-by-Step Guide


Your nonprofit may have hired freelancers for various tasks, but has your nonprofit ever been a contractor itself?

If there is another nonprofit in your area with a similar mission to yours, you might consider freelancing with it to form a symbiotic relationship. After all, two nonprofits working toward the same objective is better than one!

Just like with any independent contractor you may have hired, to become an official freelancer, you have to fill out the IRS form W-9 for nonprofit use and return it to the nonprofit you are freelancing for. You should also include a copy of it in your annual tax reporting. 

This guide gives step-by-step instructions for completing this form, going over:

Let’s go!

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What Is a W-9?

A business may use the IRS form W-9 to obtain personal information about the individual or organization it is hiring to do freelance work. This form is only required, though, if the contractor conducts $600 or more worth of work in a year. 

While most people think of W-9s for traditional businesses, it can apply to nonprofits as well. For example, two nonprofits that cater to a city’s homeless population might decide to work together. Let’s say that Nonprofit 1, a church, plans a 24-hour meal and shelter service during the winter holiday season. This nonprofit regularly houses the homeless, but it only provides meals occasionally. 

Fortunately, the other local nonprofit, a food bank, strictly focuses on feeding the homeless, so it has the resources to help. Nonprofit 1 could hire Nonprofit 2 to cook and serve meals during the holiday festivities. Nonprofit 2, therefore, would need to fill out a W-9. 

However, neither nonprofit will submit the W-9 form to the IRS. Instead, Nonprofit 1 would fill out a 1099 using the information collected on the W-9.

Pro Tip: At the end of each tax year, the contracting organization should file Form 1099 with its tax return — Form 990. They are due around the same time anyway, but this can also help keep filing processes and deadlines organized. 


How To Get a W-9

The organization that hires you should provide either a physical or electronic copy of the W-9 for nonprofit use. If it does not, a copy of the form is available for download on the IRS website. 

how-to-fill-out-w9-for-nonprofit-how-to-getMatt is checking out the IRS website to get his hands on a W-9!

Note that it is acceptable to fill out the form W-9 either electronically or by hand. 


How To Fill Out a W-9

The W-9 tax form has three parts with several steps within each part. As you read through the instructions below, you can also use this IRS document as a reference. 

Part I

The first part of the form includes general information about you and your organization. 


Write your nonprofit’s name exactly as it appears on your articles of incorporation. 

Business Name/Entity Name

This line refers to the name under which your nonprofit operates. Filling this portion out is only required if your nonprofit uses a different name than what appears on your articles of incorporation. 

Tax Classification

Check the "C Corporation" box. All nonprofits are considered corporations. You can also check "Other" and write "nonprofit corporation" on the line. 


501(c) organizations can leave this section blank.

Street Address

Write your organization’s mailing address with any apartment, room, or suite numbers.

City, State, and ZIP code

Write your charitable organization’s city, state, and ZIP code on the indicated line. 

Account Number

Charities, foundations, and nonprofits can leave this section blank. 

Part II

This part is easy! Since your nonprofit rather than a person is acting as the freelancer, provide your Employer Identification Number (EIN) instead of a social security number (SSN). 

Social Security Number

Leave the SSN section blank.

Employer Identification Number

Write your EIN in the provided space.

Part III

The purpose of this section is to certify that the information you provided is accurate.


Sign on the indicated line.


Add the present date on the indicated line.

how-to-fill-out-w9-for-nonprofit-how-to-fill-outEva is all finished filling out her W-9!


How To Submit a W-9

Phew! Great work on completing your W-9! Now it is time to give it back to the requester. Typically, it is a good rule of thumb to return a W-9 within a week of receiving it. 

Pro Tip: Your nonprofit’s treasurer, accountant, or financial advisor should keep a record of your filled-in W-9 for tax purposes. You never know when you might need to reference the document in the future. 


Final Thoughts

And there you have it! Now that you have filled out and turned in a W-9, your nonprofit can contract with another organization that has similar goals and ambitions. 

In many instances, these types of mutual relationships can provide years of beneficial assistance to each organization, which ultimately affects the greater community for the better. 

Remember, when in doubt, both the IRS and Springly boast a wealth of resources for nonprofits that have questions about taxes, grants, funds, payments, and other topics relating to tax-exempt status and compliance.

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💡Does my nonprofit have to fill out a W-9?

You do not have to fill out a W-9 unless another organization hires you to do freelance work. Find out more. 

🔑 Where can I get a copy of a W-9 for my nonprofit to use?

The organization that is hiring you should provide you with a copy of this form. However, if it does not, it is available for download on the IRS website. Find out more. 

📝 How do I submit my nonprofit’s W-9?

Once you fill out the W-9, return it to the organization that gave it to you. Find out more.


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