New, easier to use Form I-9 available now

Practice owners who are hiring or planning to hire new employees soon should use the newest version of the Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that the latest revisions of the form have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget.

Employers or authorized representatives of employers may continue using the current form with the noted expiration date of March 31, 2016, until Jan. 21, 2017. After that date, all previous versions of the Form I-9 will be invalid.

“The new form clarifies several points of confusion for employees and employers and is designed to be easier to use,” CDA Practice Analyst Michelle Corbo says. For example, the form will now include embedded instructions for completing fields and certain fields will include validations to ensure information is correct. The form will allow space for the correct number of Social Security number digits or an expiration date to be entered.

In addition, to avoid possible discrimination, the new version of the form will require employees to provide only other last names used, as opposed to all other names used, to protect the privacy of transgender and other individuals who have changed their first names.

Laws and best practices on form retention, storage

As a best practice, employers should complete all required new employee paperwork, including the Form I-9, by the end of the first workday. Employers completing the I-9 online will still need to print the form, have the employee sign it and store the document in a safe place.

The law states that “employers must have a completed Form I-9 on file for each person on their payroll who is required to complete the form.” It is important that practice owners correctly identify employees and independent contractors. Independent contractors are not considered employees of the practice and, thus, are not required to fill out the form.

Forms must be retained for either three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later. Ideally, forms can be kept in the confidential personnel files of individual employees but, as a best practice, it is recommended they be housed and stored securely (because of the sensitive confidential information) in a separate binder. This binder facilitates the ease of producing the forms on file for an inspection request, should one occur, or for periodically auditing and shredding old forms. During an inspection, all forms retained for current and past employees can be included in an audit.

Access the new Form I-9 at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website no later than Nov. 22. Dentists can also find a link to the form in the New Employee Checklist, a CDA Practice Support resource available at cda.org/resources.

Related Items

Dentists participating as providers in the Denti-Cal program, along with provider entities who have received “meaningful use” funding from HHS and those dentists who participate as Medicare Part C plan providers, should be fully complying with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights’ final rule concerning Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, employers with 10 or more employees will be required to register with the Employment Development Department’s e-Services for Business and to file all wage reports and employment tax returns and pay all contributions for unemployment insurance premiums electronically. All employers will be required to register and file under this new law beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

Employee classification is an important and complex piece of being a business owner, and that applies to dentists who own a practice. By a general principle, exempt employees possess management and decision-making responsibilities as a majority of their essential job functions (51 percent minimum).