W’s, D’s, 9’s, 4’s and even dashes—what do all these mean and how is a person to keep them straight?
If you’re in charge of HR at your nonprofit, chances are you have encountered a combination of these hieroglyphics at some point in your career. Whether it’s hiring employees or processing independent contractors, there is a lot to learn.
The biggest area of inquiry I receive from nonprofit employers centers around hiring employees. “What forms does my new employee need to complete?”
For the State of California, remember these forms, and have a supply on-hand. They include:
1. DE4: California Employee’s Withholding Certificate. All employees must complete this California tax withholding form if they want different federal and state tax withholding. If not, the same federal withholding claimed on their W4 will be applied to state withholding as well. Keep the form in the employee’s personnel file.
2. Form I-9: Employee Eligibility Verification. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly known as the INS) requires employers to use this form to verify that every employee they hire is eligible to work in the United States. You are not required to file this form with USCIS, but you are required to retain it for three years in the event an inspection needs to take place.
Note that completed I-9 forms should be kept in a separate folder for all employees — not in each employee’s personnel file.
3. DE34: New Employees Report. This form must be completed and submitted by the employer within 20 days of hire. If you use a payroll company to process your paychecks, they may file this form for you. Check with your provider to confirm.
4. IRS Form W4: Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. Using this form, employees tell you how many allowances they are claiming for tax purposes, so that you can withhold the correct amount of tax from their paychecks. You do not need to submit this to the IRS-simply keep it in an employees’ personnel file. Remember to ask an employee to fill out a new W4 each year they want to change their allowances.
Of course, there are many more things an employee must be given upon hire, such as pamphlets, policies, notices and more. But being aware of the above forms will give you confidence that your new employee is on his/her way to a successful (and legal) employment relationship.