I did a website design for another company (Basically, I sold them a completed website) for a flat $500. They're telling me I need to file a W-9, but I don't see why because I'm not a contractor for them or under their payroll, they simply bought a website from me.

Are they correct in this, and if so, what are options I can take to avoid giving them any form containing my SSN?


They are correct in asking for a W9 because you are their vendor (not an employee). They will issue you a 1099 at the end of the year and you need to report the income on your tax return. It's very normal.

If you really want to avoid giving them your Social Security Number you can apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number). Then you would put your EIN instead of your SSN on the W9 form. The income will still be reported to the IRS and you will still get a 1099 and you still need to include the income on your tax return on Schedule C.

|improve this answer|||||
  • 3
    Thanks, I'll obtain an EIN. Identity theft far too rampant these days. – Justin Beale Feb 10 '15 at 23:04
  • 1
    Start your own LLC. It's not that difficult and I find that companies and people treat you with a bit more respect and seriousness, which allows you to get things done quicker and looks more professional. – ConfusedDeer Feb 11 '15 at 19:09
  • Isn't $500 below the threshold requiring a 1099 from the company? I thought you have to hand out over $600 in a year to the same vendor to necessitate filing. – Preston Feb 15 '15 at 15:34
  • Yes, but while it's below the $600 threshold for requiring (by law) a W9 and issuing 1099, the company is still within its rights to request/require a W9 from the vendor for smaller amounts. And in either case the vendor has to report the income, so it's not much of an extra burden. – Rocky Feb 15 '15 at 18:07

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.