Can you please advise the best practice for keeping W-9 forms submitted by vendors? Should they be kept on file for a certain period of time? And what about ACH banking information?


As long as you maintain a business relationship with the vendor, you should keep the W-9 on file indefinitely. And as long as the information does not change, there is no need to re-solicit. Once you no longer do business with that vendor, you should keep the W-9 on file for three years following the final business payment (four years if you had to perform backup withholding on the vendor). This is the amount of time the IRS requires you to keep documentation to backup your 1099 filing, according to page 5 of the General Instructions for Certain Information Returns, under “Keeping copies.” This information was confirmed by IRS Information Officer Miss Lamb (ID # 1306657).

Regarding ACH banking information, maintain it as long as you’re doing business with the vendor, of course, unless they contact you with a change to the information. However, once you are no longer doing business with the vendor, you should destroy the bank account information.

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