When paying a law firm for a settlement, should the W-9 should be in the name of the law firm being paid? Or should it be in the name of the client who will actually be receiving the money for the settlement from the attorney?


You might need to collect two W-9s—one from the attorneys, and one from the plaintiff, depending on the nature of the settlement. You’ll report the payment to the attorney, and if the settlement is taxable to the plaintiff (punitive damages), then you also issue a 1099 to the plaintiff. See TAPN’s Demystifying Form 1099 for Legal Settlements.

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