HR Development: The Fundamentals of HR Employment Forms

December 21, 2018

Recruiting new employees is a long process. Finding the right person to fill a position has always required a huge commitment of time and effort. Experts estimate that the time to fill a position is generally one to two months depending on the industry and the pay rate. The time to fill – as well as the cost of recruiting – is only increasing as the employee market gets tighter.

Given how difficult it can be to find the right person, it’s important new employees begin on the right foot. Your new employee will have a lot of information given to them on their first day, not least the information they need to log into the HR system. However, there are some forms that must be completed, many of which are directly related to employee payroll.  The forms can be completed and stored electronically with an HCM like iSolved Payroll.

Direct Deposit Enrollment Form

One of the first things a new employee will want to do is sign up for direct deposit. It’s a good idea to get this completed early in the onboarding process. Remind your new hire to bring in a voided check so they can provide the correct account and routing information to payroll services. This will ensure that there are no issues with getting their first check deposited.


The W-4 form is the federal tax withholding form and it tells the employer how much to deduct from each paycheck for federal payroll taxes. There are are instructions on both front and back. The form has space for the employee to write their Social Security number, address, marital status, and the number of dependents they expect to claim at the end of the year. Employees can update their payroll tax deductions at any time. Employees who don’t fill out the W-4 form are automatically assigned te highest tax rate – single with zero dependents – so it’s important to provide the form to your new employee and encourage them to fill it out.

State Tax Forms

There are nine states that don’t have state tax withholding: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. The rest of the states have state withholding taxes, although twenty-two states don’t have state tax withholding forms.  States that don’t have separate tax withholding forms use the same data the employee entered on the W-4 form.

If you are in a state that requires employees to complete a state tax withholding form, you should be prepared with the form during onboarding.


The I-9 form confirms an employee’s identity and eligibility to work in the United States.  Employers have three business days from the start of employment to complete their portion of the I-9.  The employer portion of the form confirms the employee provided the necessary documentation. The Department of Homeland Security reserves the right to examine the I-9 at any point. Fines for not completing the I-9 can be substantial, ranging from $220 to $2191 for each employee who does not have a completed I-9. Clearly, it is in your best interest as an employer to ensure this is done as early as possible in the onboarding process.

In order to complete the I-9 form, an employee must provide proof of identity and proof of their eligibility to work in the United State. There are three categories of documents that can be used for the I-9 form. List A documents prove an employee’s identity and ability to work in the United States for any employer. An unexpired US passport or a permanent resident card (also known as a “green card”) are examples of these kinds of documents.

If your employee doesn’t have a List A document, they will need to provide both a List B and a List C document. List B documents provide proof of identity. For instance, a driver’s license works for a List B document. List C documents prove that the holder can work in the United States for any employer. Examples of a List C document include an unrestricted Social Security Card or an American birth certificate.

You should advise your new employee to bring the required documentation with them on their first day at work. You’ll need to examine each document in order to complete the form and to make sure it’s valid. Employers don’t need to be document experts, but they are expected to make a good faith effort to confirm that the documents are legitimate and unexpired. It can be a little confusing and stressful to review an employee’s documents for the I-9. Fortunately, the federal government has provided guidance on document review.

Employee Acknowledgement

On the first day, usually during employee orientation, new hires should get the employee handbook and/or code of conduct. This may be a physical document or available digitally on the HR system. No matter how the handbook is presented to the employee, it’s important that a new hire go on record as having been informed of the company’s policies and standards.

The first day at a new job is overwhelming.  New people, new office, new company culture… it’s all a lot to take in.   Try using a good HCM, like iSolved, to collect and save the paperwork before the start date, so your new hire gets a head start on that first day.

For more information on how Commonwealth Payroll & HR can work with you on your strategic human resources planning, call us today at 877-245-1159.

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