If you’re starting a new job, you’ve probably already completed your fair share of paperwork. From the job application to the offer letter and everything in between, there’s a lot of filling in the blanks.
Unfortunately, it’s not over. As you might have experienced before, day one of a new job includes completing even more forms.
Remember that they’re no less important. They could determine the size and delivery of your paycheck, for example.
5 forms to complete when starting a new job
You might be wondering why you need to be prepared for your new-hire paperwork. Although a human resources (HR) representative is likely to walk you through these on your first day, it can be helpful to study them in advance. As a result, you’ll complete them correctly and efficiently.
There’s also a practical benefit. This list of five forms will also highlight what to bring with you into the office, such as forms of identification.
1. I-9 documents
Your employer is obligated to have you sign the federal government’s Employment Eligibility Verification form. Also known as the I-9 Form, it proves you’re eligible to work in the U.S.
You’ll complete the first of three pages of I-9 documents by filling in personal information, such as your citizenship status. Your employer’s HR representative will complete the second page after reviewing your forms of identification.
The I-9 Form calls for you to present one or two forms of ID. Typical forms you can provide include:
- U.S. passport
- Permanent resident card
- Driver’s license
- State, school, or military ID
- Voter’s registration card
2. W-4 form
Completing the IRS’ Form W-4 helps your employer determine how much of your paycheck to withhold for federal income taxes. The Personal Allowances Worksheet included on the first page will determine the withholding amount for you.
Simply put: The more allowances or exemptions you claim, the less will be withheld from your paycheck. An example of an allowance is claiming dependents on your tax return.
Besides the worksheet, you could use the IRS’ withholding calculator to determine your preferred amount of allowances.
You might prefer withholding even more from your paycheck than is needed. This could help you score a big tax refund at the end of the year. Alternatively, you could have your employer withhold less from your paycheck if you’d rather take a tax hit later on.
Don’t worry if you change your mind. You can adjust your withholdings at any time as you prepare for tax season.
Unlike Form W-4, you don’t have to worry about your W-2 form until tax season. Your employer will complete a W-2 form for every employee, regardless of their elected allowances.
3. Direct deposit form
Once your employer confirms how much you’ll be paid via the Form W-4, it will help you decide how you’d like to be paid.
Unless you prefer the old-fashioned paper paycheck, you’ll likely complete a direct deposit form when starting a new job. This will automatically send your earnings into the bank account or accounts of your choice at the end of each pay period.
You’ll need to gather two pieces of information to set up a direct deposit: the account number and routing number for any checking or savings account receiving these transfers. You can find both numbers on the bottom of your checks or by logging into your bank’s website.
Your employer’s direct deposit form will also ask what percentage of your paycheck you’d like sent to each account. You might put 50 percent into your checking account for recurring expenses like rent and 50 percent into a savings account that’s used less often.
Think about your short-term expenses and long-term savings goals when choosing your paycheck distribution.
4. Benefits enrollment
You won’t be expected — and might not even be eligible to — enroll in company benefits when starting a new job. But it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with the forms you’ll receive on day one.
Your HR representative will likely walk you through your company-provided health insurance options, for example. You’ll be given information about each plan (if there are multiple plans) and their premiums.
There will be an application where you’ll note your choice of coverage. The application will call for basic personal information. It will also allow you to note whether dependent family members will be included in your policy.
Starting a new job is seen as a qualifying event that allows you to switch health plans. It’s important to learn the language of health insurance to make the best possible choice for coverage.
If your company has other perks that require enrollment, you can expect to fill out forms for those as well. Say your new employer offers 401(k) matching, for example. You might be wondering what to do with an older 401(k). If you choose to roll it over to your new company’s account, there will be more paperwork to complete.
5. Company-specific paperwork
Beyond forms coming from the government or your company’s vendors, you can also expect to be handed company-specific paperwork. You might be expected to read and sign the following documents:
- Non-disclosure agreement: As a legal contract, an NDA ensures the company’s privacy, even after you quit working there. If you work for a high-tech startup, for example, they might be concerned that you’ll take their competitive edge with you when you exit.
- Compliance: The HR department may also request that you review the company’s employee handbook. It could outline employer policies and ask you to agree to follow them.
- Expenses: You might be able to request a reimbursement for pre-employment expenses. That will teach you how to expense recurring and one-off costs.
It’s possible that your first day could include other company-specific forms, such as one that provides emergency contact information.
Starting a new job on the right foot
No matter your job title or the company you work for, you were hired to do something other than push papers around. But taking first-day forms seriously will get you off on the right foot with your HR department. Your direct deposit form and I-9 documents might seem unimportant, but they can also affect your wallet and your ability to start work.
Completing the forms efficiently will also allow you to move forward. You can focus on the things that are a little more fun — like requesting time off or finding your new favorite place nearby to eat lunch.
Then, you can focus on your actual job description and ace your first 90 days in your new role.
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