Landlord Asking For W-9

Today TaxMama hears from Joseph in New York, with this odd question. “In what situation would a landlord ask a tenant, who is on public assistance, to sign a ‘’Form W9’’ in the process of a lease for an apartment when the landlord is going to get paid from the city?”

TaxMama answers a question on Tax

Dear Joseph,

Well, that’s an interesting question.

And a rather odd practice. You’re right to question it. Personally, I would ask the landlord why he needs it – and what he is going to do with the form?

The purpose of the Form W-9 is to gather the taxpayer identification information, the address and the business entity’s formation from people to whom you PAY money in the course of your business. You do not gather this information from people who pay you money.

In the case of a landlord, he’s already got this information on the rental application. So, you’re absolutely right to question this practice. There is no legal reason I can think of for him to have you provide him with a signed W-9 form.

If he refuses to explain and insists on getting the form, report him to the City agency that pays the rent. They will review his contract. Good luck!

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about W-9 forms and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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