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Is it unusual to provide w9 before a job is offered?

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Active Member
Yiwen L Member Since: Nov 18, 2018
1 of 13

Hi everyone,

 

A client sent me the following message and I'm wondering if I need to fill out the form right now when I still haven't seen the job yet.

 

"We have receiving one big project from the client. This will be a ongoing project for translation. Request you to please fill up attached W9 form."

 

Can I leave the SSN section blank? As far as I know, one only needs to file tax when the income reaches a certain dollar amount, like $600, is that correct?

 

--

Updates: I applied for an EIN and provided it with w9 requested by the client yesterday. But then the client doesn't get back to me about when and whether we will initiate the contract.

The client seems to be reliable with payment method verified and hundreds of 5-star review.

 

And then I found some posts about EIN scams like the ones mentioned in the following link:

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/beware-of-fake-employer-id-application-sites-397919

 

Please help me out. What shall I do next?

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Community Guru
Lila G Member Since: Dec 4, 2017
2 of 13

Don't submit a W9. Clients shouldn't be requesting this from you. 

Report the client for scam to Upwork and block them.

 

 

 

 

Lila
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Active Member
Yiwen L Member Since: Nov 18, 2018
3 of 13

I've reported the client. Thank you Lila.

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Active Member
Yiwen L Member Since: Nov 18, 2018
4 of 13

Hi everyone, 

 

A client sent me the following message and I'm wondering if I need to fill out the form right now when I still haven't seen the job yet.

 

"We have receiving one big project from the client. This will be a ongoing project for translation. Request you to please fill up attached W9 form."

 

Can I leave the SSN section blank? As far as I know, one only needs to file tax when the income reaches a certain dollar amount, like $600, is that correct?

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Community Leader
Remi O Member Since: Jun 6, 2016
5 of 13

Personally, I wouldn't do that.

I had a similar issue once and I directed the client to Upwork support as they insisted they needed the documentation. It's still a thorny issue and I'll be careful especially since you haven't finalized the contract yet.

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Community Leader
Michelle S Member Since: Jun 23, 2017
6 of 13

I would agree.  Very unusual.  I would not give anyone here on Upwork my SS number.  I'm not sure there is any reason they must have it.

 

I've had to provide my number for other freelancing/contracting jobs outside of Upwork, so I applied for an EIN.  It's very easy and you can get it right away.  You apply through the US gov website and they assign one immediately.  That's the number I now have listed with Upwork instead of my SS number.

 

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Active Member
Yiwen L Member Since: Nov 18, 2018
7 of 13

Hi Michelle, 

 

Thanks for your advice. I've applied for an EIN and now I'm wondering when I shall use it.  

 

What if I work on a full-time job getting w2 tax form, and meanwhile I work as freelance contractors only providing EIN info (in order to keep my SSN safe) and receiving a 1099 form, shall I use both my SSN and EIN when filing tax? 

 

I'm reading some tax preparing stuff online but am really confused.

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Active Member
Yiwen L Member Since: Nov 18, 2018
8 of 13

Hi Mellisa I'm sorry to hear that. There seems to be a lot of scams targeting freelancers like us.

 

When I check the client's profile, with the payment method verified and hundreds of 5-star reviews, I can't help but believe this is a real client offering real job though. I'll try to talk with them further to make sure. 

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Moderator
Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
BEST ANSWER
9 of 13

Hi Yiwen, 


This is an unusual request, and we strongly advise proceeding with caution since the tax form contains your personal information, which you don’t need to provide in order to work and get paid on Upwork.

 

I would recommend that you read up on these freelancer resources and these tips for avoiding questionable jobs, for help getting started, and for more information about working safely through Upwork.


-Avery
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Active Member
Yiwen L Member Since: Nov 18, 2018
10 of 13

Thank you Avery.

 

I've reported to UpWork's help staff and got a reply that the client is reliable. However, we finally weren't able to reach agreement for a contract with my personal info already provided in a w9.

 

I'd be be more cautious next time thanks to this awful experience.

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