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Payroll Simplified: New Employee Forms


How to prepare your new employee for their first day 

There’s so much to think about when you have a new employee starting.  Who’s their mentor?  What is their training program?  How long will it take them to get up to speed?   

Then, of course, there’s the issue of compliance and the need to get this employee into your payroll system.  We will leave the mentorship, training, and ramp time up to you, but let us help you out with some of the formalities. 

First things first – Forms  

It’s better to notify your new hire of what to bring on their first day in order to get some necessary paperwork out of the way.   

What is the I-9? 

The Form I-9 verifies an employee’s identity and that they are authorized to work in the United States. 

Why do I need the I-9? 

The I-9 requires a series of documents from your employee to prove their identity and authorization to work.  You need to verify your employee’s documents to determine if they are valid. You will use these documents to complete the employer sections of the Form I-9. 

What are the rules for the Form I-9? 

You have 3 business days from the hire day (first day of work for pay) to have this form completely.  Consequences include penalties and fines for not having it done in time, and not having it filled out properly.  Make sure you’re using the latest form, which you can find here. 

How should I retain and store the I-9?  

You don’t need to file your employee’s completed form I-9, but you do have to store the form for three years following the employee’s date of hire – or for one year after the employee is terminated, whichever is a longer period of time.  You need to have the form on-hand in case the Departments of Homeland Security, Labor, or Justice need to access the information.  Upload this form into your HRIS in case you need to retrieve it for an audit. 

FORM W-4   

What is the W-4? 

The W-4 helps you determine the correct amount of taxes you should be withholding from each employee’s paycheck. 

Why do I need the W-4? 

When you set up payroll, you’ll need to know how much to withhold for each employee when calculating their net pay. 

How should I retain and store the W-4? 

You should retain each employee’s Form W-4 until they fill out a new version with updated changes, and you should upload these into your HRIS system for future reference.  You should encourage your employees to fill out a new form annually.  They will also have to fill out the form again if and when their personal or financial situations change. 


What is direct deposit? 

Direct deposit allows you as the employer to electronically deposit your employee’s paycheck directly into their bank account on payday, rather than handing them a physical check.  It’s the fastest and (arguably) most reliable method of paying your employees, should they choose to receive their paycheck this way.  

What is the best way to set up my employees’ direct deposit? 

Collect a copy of your employee’s voided check and a direct deposit authorization form so you have proof that the employee agreed to receive their paycheck via direct deposit. 

What should I tell employees to bring on their first day? 

An employee’s first day can be made so much easier with a little prep work.  Whether you have onboarding software that automates this process or not, simple communication to your employees prior to their first day will help. Share this checklist with your new hires for the best first-day impression: 

  • Passport OR 
  • Social Security card and driver’s license 


  • Voided check 

With this preparation, you’ll help any new employee have the smoothest first day possible.  Get them off to a good start with your organization! 

For more Payroll Simplified blogs from our CPA, Malka Trump, click here.

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