Avoid Payroll Penalties – Use the New Form I-9

CPAs & Advisors

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The New Year brings changes in payroll requirements employers must meet to avoid costly penalties. A new Form I-9 – Employment Eligibility Verification was released November 14, 2016, by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Employers are required to complete the new Form I-9 for all employees hired after January 22, 2017. Forms that were completed for employees hired before January 22, 2017, are still in compliance. The original Form I-9 was established in 1986 to document verification of the identity and employment authorization of all new employees, both citizens and noncitizens.

The new, fillable Form I-9 is available online at The form contains pop-up information icons and error-checking capabilities to help capture more accurate information. The new, online version will not allow mandatory fields to be left blank. It also offers an online service for answering questions with an “Ask Emma” Q & A feature.

The form is not an electronically submittable form and must still be printed, physically signed and dated by the employee and employer and retained. Both the employer and the employee must complete their respective sections of Form I-9 and, in most cases, the employer must keep the form until the latter of three years from the date of hire or one year after the date employment ended.

Penalties for employers who commit immigration-related offenses increased significantly in 2016. They range from $216 to $2,156 per individual. Avoid the penalties by correctly completing and retaining the new Form I-9 and supporting documentation.

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