Forms and Options and Income...Oh My!

So you’ve finally gotten that job… congrats! You’re probably excited to start making some money, but before that happens, there are a few things your employer will require you to take care of!


First off, there are some forms to fill out. There will be two very important federal forms to fill out: the W-4 and the I-9. The W-4 is a tax form that determines how much of your paycheck will be applied to federal taxes. By filling out the information it asks for, you can determine the number of “dependents” you have. Dependents are any other people who rely on you for financial support. The other form is the I-9. For this, in addition to filling out some basic personal information, you need two different forms of identification. Some examples of acceptable ID include:

  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security card
  • Birth certificate
  • A school ID

This form helps prove that you are eligible to work in the United States. These forms may seem a little bit complicated, but don’t worry! Just take your time and carefully read the forms, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re confused.

After filling the forms out, it’s time to start working and receiving that paycheck! Your paycheck can be collected a few different ways. You have the option to pick up checks from your employer. However, a popular and convenient option is to set up a direct deposit. In this case, the paycheck is electronically deposited into your bank account. Sometimes the paycheck can even be split into multiple accounts, which can be beneficial. Another option is a payroll card; in this case, paychecks are loaded onto a card and you can use that card to pay for things - much like a debit card. There is a possibility of fees that come with a payroll card, so keep an eye out for that. With this many options for payment, you can decide which will work best for you!

You receive that paycheck but much to your surprise, it’s lower than you expected! Don’t forget that some of your paycheck is taken out for tax purposes. The amount you are earning is your gross income, but the amount you actually receive is your net income. The net income is the gross income minus various deductions. Make sure you keep this in mind!

Somaybe starting your job had a few more steps than you anticipated, but as long as you read forms carefully and known your options, the process will be a lot simpler than you think. Good luck!

Student Editor: