On March 8, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new version of the Form I-9, Employee Eligibility Verification. While employers may continue to use prior versions of the form, dated 02/02/09 and 08/07/09, they may also begin using the newly revised form. Effective May 7, 2013, however, the new Form I-9 is the only version of the form that employers may use.
The Form I-9, which employers are required to fill out for each employee hired, helps employers verify an employee’s identity and employment authorization. While there are no substantive changes to the law relating to the Form I-9 process, the USCIS hopes the revised form will minimize errors and enhance form completion.
Key revisions to the Form I-9 include:
• Changing data fields, including one for the employee’s foreign passport information (if applicable), telephone number, and email addresses;
• More detailed instructions on completing the form and to the list of acceptable documents; and
• Updating the layout of the form, and expanding it from 1 to 2 pages (not including the form instructions and list of acceptable documents)
Notably, if an employer already has a completed Form I-9 on file for a current employee, the employee is not required to fill out a new form. In addition, employers do not need to submit the Form I-9 form to the federal government, but instead are required to keep them on file for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date of the employee’s termination, whichever is later.
Any employer that fails to use the new Form I-9 and/or fails to use the form properly, may be subject to civil penalties.
Aside from the Form I-9, there are a variety of other forms that employers should make sure are filled out after each new hire, including but not limited to the required tax forms and reports of all new hires and rehires.
Report to Your State’s New Hire Reporting Program
All California employers are required to report information about newly hired and re-hired employees to the California New Employee Registry within 20 days of an employee’s start date. This includes all businesses, state and local government employers, nonprofit organizations, and household employers, regardless of the number of employees.
Specifically, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) requires employers to submit the following documents:
• Employer’s business name, contact person name, address, phone number, California employer account number, and Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).
• Employee’s full name, social security number, address, and start-of-work date.
There are a variety of reporting formats available to employers reporting new employee information:
1) Submit a Report of New Employee(s) (DE 34) either electronically using e-Service for Business or obtaining a paper copy of the Report and submitting it to the EDD via mail or fax.
2) Submit a copy of the employee’s W-4 form. If you do this, keep in mind that you must add the employee’s start date, your California employer account number, and the Federal Identification Number to the W-4.
3) You may create your own form as long as it contains all of the required information.
Like the Form I-9, any employer who fails to report the hiring or rehiring of employee within 20 days of date of hire or rehire, may be assessed a penalty of $24 for each failure to report or $490 if the failure to report is the result of an intentional agreement between the employer and employee to not supply the required information or to supply a false or incomplete report.
Every employee must provide an employer with a signed withholding exemption certificate (Form W-4) on or before the date of employment. The employer must then submit Form W-4 to the IRS. In addition, employers must complete a W-2 form for each employee who they pay a salary, wage or other compensation.
If you have any questions about the new Form I-9 or any other forms discussed above, our Northern California business attorneys can help. You can contact one of our lawyers using our online contact form, or by calling us at (925) 463-1073.
Handbook for Employers -Guidance for Completing Form I-9, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
New Hire Reporting, State of California Employment Development Department