Do we need to collect and retain W-9s for vendors whose names and tax ID numbers we have confirmed as a valid match via the IRS bulk TIN matching program? We would prefer not to store the paper W-9 forms.

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To summarize your question, you want to know if you need to collect and retain W-9s for vendors whose names and tax ID numbers you have confirmed as a valid match via the IRS bulk TIN matching program. You would prefer not to store the paper W-9 forms.

It is best practice, of course, to require a W-9 or substitute W-9 from all new vendors. Having the signed W-9 from the vendor on file protects you from initial liability should the IRS come back and tell you the number and name do not match.

In theory, once the IRS has confirmed via the TIN Matching Program that a given name and tax ID number are a match, then there should be no further question about that particular vendor. However, we spoke with the IRS tax law department and they indicate that you should retain your W-9s.

If paper storage is problematic, you might consider imaging. Electronic records are an acceptable format to the IRS.

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