September 21st, 2016 | Sterling
Form I-9 Mistakes That Can Cost You
The enforcement of compliance for employment eligibility and verification laws, known as Form I-9 compliance, is expected to intensify in the coming year. Companies who violate the Form I-9 mandates could face civil and criminal penalties. Criminal charges could include harboring or knowingly hiring illegal aliens, aggravated identity theft and Social Security fraud. In 2013 alone, nearly $16 million in fines were levied and 179 owners, supervisors or HR employees were arrested. Also, the cost for Form I-9 mistakes and violations has nearly doubled in the past year. It sounds frightening, but it also can be avoided!
What exactly is Form I-9? The Department of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services defines Form I-9 as being used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must properly complete the form for each person they hire for employment within the United States. The form requires completion by both the new employee and the employer. The government provides a handbook and full information for filling out the form, what documents need to reviewed, filing it with the proper authorities and storage tips.
Tips for I-9 Form Compliance
Having a proper Form I-9 or E-Verify solution for your business is essential for your new employee’s onboarding process. Knowing your new hires are eligible to work brings a sense of security to your workforce and to your business. The Danger in the Details: Form I-9 Mistakes That Can Cost You examines some recent cases of I-9 violations and provides tips to prevent your company from making the same mistakes as those mentioned in the paper. Below are a few tips to keep your company in compliance with the Form I-9 mandates:
- Check for Errors – A simple technical error on the form can lead to thousands of dollars in fines and fees. Having an internal self-auditing review chain can help find errors before they are submitted. However, the best solution is to go digital and use a remediation solution that incorporates error detection into their program. If there are errors on the form or it is incomplete, the form is returned to employers for correction before final submittal.
- Form I-9 Storage and Management – There are Form I-9 service providers who can help with the management and storage of your business’s I-9 documents. The providers can notify employees about employee I-9s that are about to expire so that correct action can be taken before it is too late.
- Don’t Falsify Records – It is pretty obvious that it is illegal to falsify employee records, yet there are some companies who continue to falsify their records. A common falsification technique is backdating the forms in order to be compliant to the 3 days filing requirement.
- Don’t Hire Undocumented Workers – A best practice for Form I-9 compliance is to not hire undocumented workers. Just like falsifying records, this seems like common sense, but there are many who violate the law. The risks, financially and criminally, of doing so far outweigh the benefits.
Form I-9 is one of the most important employee verification and hiring form for businesses. These forms have specific instructions that need to be followed or a company can risk fines and prosecution. By following easy-to-follow tips and instructions, you can keep your business in Form I-9 compliance now and in the future. Discover more tips and a list of the common mistakes companies make with the Form I-9 by clicking here.
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