Posted by Ernest__CT on 10/24/07 11:23pm
I-9: Just say "NO".
Yes, I'm talking about the real IRS I-9 (I9?) Form.
Today I got a call from a person whose first language was not English. He told me that he needed a form notarized, and that normally he'd have his boss do it but that his boss was far away. We agreed on a meeting place and time. When we met, it turned out that he wanted me to notarize his I-9 Form!
For the newer Notaries Public, or those who don't remember what an I-9 Form is: The I-9 is the form that EMPLOYERS fill out swearing that they've seen the applicant's ID and that the IDs appear legitimate.
Notaries Public NEVER notarize I-9s, unless the NOTARY is going to EMPLOY the person. Even then, the form is not notarized per se.
We are NOT "Authorized Representatives" of employers! "Authorized Representatives" are Human Resources people, company owners, department heads, et cetera.
Reply by OR on 10/24/07 11:24pm
Re: thanks n/m
Reply by Dennis D Broadbooks on 10/25/07 7:16am
This is Amazing...
...as I was approached on the phone yesterday from a person "whose first language was not English" asking me to notarize his I-9 form & his employer was going to be the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C.! Not being familiar with the form I asked whether the form contained a Notary certificate for me to fill out & was there a place for his signature. He did his best to describe the form but I finally told him I'd call him back after pulling up it up on the Internet. According to the instructions he'd been given by the "Department of Defense", as a Notary I was to fill out Section 2 of Page 2 of the form, sign, & place my notary seal in that section. Here's a link to the form:
As Kevin states, this is ONLY for employers or their authorized representative to fill out. There's no Notary certificate language contained in the form under Section 2 nor is there a place for the "employee" appearing before us to sign in that section. I'm normally not a conspiracy theorist, but this makes me want to become Brenda/TX for a day. It's just plain weird that you'd post this, Kevin, on the same day I'd received the almost identical request.
Reply by NCLisa on 10/25/07 7:43am
I sometimes work for a company that sends these to me along with documents that need notariziation for a new hire. They have a form in the package that states I am an authorized representitive of the company for the purpose of verifying ID and going over new hire paperwork. They hire a lot of out of state people that tele-commute and they have no "local branch." I've done 2 a year in the last 3 years for them. I don't notarize the I9, just sign as their authorized representitive.
Reply by Ducky/FL on 10/25/07 7:50am
The I-9 is part of the employment package for most if not all new hires for federal employment. It does not require notarization. It is signed by a human resources representative.
Reply by JanelWI on 10/25/07 8:03am
I had one of these and I told the SS that I could not fill out section 2, sign and notarize. What I could do was have the employee fill out section 1, sign it and then attach their Ack verifying that she came before me etc..I I said by doing this I am verifying her id, I just can't sign as an authorized rep on section 2. or fill it out. That is clearly the employers responsibility. I tried and tried to explain to this company why we could not fill out section 2, sign and notarize but he just would not get it. All he kept saying is that other notaries are doing it and he wasn't going to argue with me. I asked him......did you READ section 2 are you a notary?????
So another words, other notaries are signing as authorized reps and then notarizing their own signatures. I called the secretary of State for Wisconsin and reported what companies are asking notaries to do and they agreed. Section 2 can not even be filled out by us, let alone signed. I also spoke to another very experienced signing agent in WI and he explained that he only does section 1 as well. The secretary of states office encouraged me to send a letter regarding this matter so they can send out an alert regarding this form to protect notaries from doing what these companies are asking.
Reply by CopperheadVA on 10/25/07 8:06am
I can tell you that in my state, where there is no test required to become a notary - all you have to do is complete the form and send in your $35 - there are MANY notaries that do not know or have the slightest idea what they are doing when they notarize.
Reply by JanelWI on 10/25/07 8:36am
I agree with you and depending upon their reasons...easy money, side job...whatever, they may not put in the effort to be informed on the state laws which unfortunately puts a bad light on the whole SA industry. Some not all..............SS's requesting this I9 to be signed and notarized this way is not helping either.
Reply by Dennis D Broadbooks on 10/25/07 8:58am
"They have a form in the package...
that states I am an authorized representitive of the company for the purpose of verifying ID and going over new hire paperwork." (?)
Not to imply you're doing anything wrong, but does this "form in the package" specifically have your name on it? That'd be the only way I'd accept the responsibility of signing an I-9 form in the capacity of an "authorized representative" for a company. If it was simply a generic form without my name included I'd probably balk at such a request.
Reply by Dennis D Broadbooks on 10/25/07 9:19am
Upon Further Review...
...of the language in Section 2 of the I-9 form I'm of the opinion I'd never sign as an authorized representative. Under the "CERTIFICATION" language of Section 2 it states:
"I attest, under penalty of perjury, that I have examined the document(s) presented by the above-named employee, that the above-listed document(s) appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee named, that the employee began employment on (fill in the blank date) and that to the best of my knowledge the employee is eligible to work in the United States."
First of all I don't know how I'd know what date the employee's employment began & I sure wouldn't know with any degree of certainty if he/she is eligible to work in the US. I wouldn't even know for sure if they're an employee or not. My opinion is I'll not have anything to do with the filling out or signing of this form.
Reply by NCLisa on 10/25/07 1:03pm
Re: Upon Further Review...
They aren't an employee until they sit there with me and fill out the paperwork. That is the date and time their employment starts. I was a manager that did hiring at several TC's and other business, and I know what is involved in a new hire. The new hire also swears under penalty of perjury that they are able to work in the US. That is what you go by. If there were a sure way to prove that everyone's documents were 100% legal, the US wouldn't have the problems it does now. Corporations have agents for all kinds of things. I do this business in several capacities, as a notary for some portions of the job, and as an authorized agent of the company for another portion.
I also do work for defence firms picking up plaintiff medical files, and certifying that they are true and correct copies. I watch the files being copied, fill out the paperwork and send them to the defense counsel. I do this in my capacity as a paralegal, not a NSA.
Reply by Dennis D Broadbooks on 10/25/07 1:54pm
And Are You Protected...
...either by your own insurance coverage or the company designating you as their authorized representative from an insurance liability standpoint in the event something goes awry & you end up in court defending your actions? In my opinion you're accepting a tremendous transfer of risk from the company to you as an individual by becoming their "authorized representative" in this type of situation. I wouldn't accept that kind of liability risk unless covered by insurance somewhere...either my own E&O policy or shown proof positive the company designating me as their rep has coverage in place to protect me.
The bottom line is if you've applied due diligence & feel the payback for this kind of work is worth it, then I'm glad you've obtained another revenue stream. Maybe I've made a mountain out of a mole hill with my comments on this topic. That's the insurance agent in me trying to cover all the bases. I don't ever want to "attest" to anything I don't have firsthand knowledge of & there are way too many unknowns in the I-9 form for me to feel comfortable assisting with its completion. If you can show me the "error of my ways" I'll be glad to reconsider my reticence.
As stated before, I'm not an attorney & don't claim to have any special insights into the legal aspects of this situation even though I personally saw first run Perry Mason TV shows in living black & white.
Reply by Dennis D Broadbooks on 10/25/07 2:30pm
I Just Thought of an Analogy...
...which puts into NSA perspective the reason I consider the I-9 form "risky business" for anyone to complete. I think we all agree an NSA signing the HUD-1 as the settlement agent is less than smart (if you think it's a great idea, start another topic & see where it leads!). My view of the I-9 is no different. As the "Certification" section is currently worded, the only real "truth" you can attest to in this form is the examination of the document(s) presented as ID. Everything else being attested to is conjecture on the part of the authorized representative. JMHO!
Reply by NCLisa on 10/25/07 10:04pm
Re: And Are You Protected...
As an authorized agent, I fall under their E&O and general liability insurance when I do this job for them. I have a contract with this company that spells it all out.
Reply by Dennis D Broadbooks on 10/26/07 7:18am
Then It Sounds Like...
...you're "good to go!"
Reply by BrendaTx on 10/25/07 2:36pm
Re: Upon Further Review...
**The new hire also swears under penalty of perjury that they are able to work in the US. That is what you go by. **
Reply by BrendaTx on 10/25/07 12:55pm
**They have a form in the package that states I am an authorized representitive of the company for the purpose of verifying ID and going over new hire paperwork. **
Sounds good to me. I always appreciate your input, Lisa.
Reply by Becca_FL on 10/25/07 10:23am
My Mom works for the IRS in Austin and she told me she gets notarized I-9s all the time even though the IRS does not require it. Go figure?
Reply by CJ on 10/25/07 10:43am
How much trouble are you in if you did notarize it?
I had a notary friend at a Mail Boxes store ask me about it. I never see these in Loan Docs, so I said I didn't know. They notarized it. Their boss did not know anything about notary stuff.
Of course, NOW I am concerned and I will bring this message to them. But how much trouble do you think they are in?
Reply by CJ on 10/25/07 10:46am
P.S. No need to read me the riot act.
I am already upset anyway.
I am very concerned for my friend. If I had seen it in a package myself, I would have called my SS, but these people had no one to call.
Reply by Dennis D Broadbooks on 10/25/07 10:52am
Correct Me If I'm Wrong...
...but "these people" could have called their Secretary of State's office for an opinion, couldn't they? Personally I'd never call a signing service for an answer to a Notary question.
Reply by CJ on 10/25/07 10:56am
Yes, more good information. Thanks. n/m
Reply by CJ on 10/25/07 11:36am
I called my Secretary of State
The person I spoke with (in the notary department) had no idea about the form, and said as long as a notary doesn't stamp it, they are not in any trouble for filling it out. BUT she also had never even heard of this form, and she asked me to fax it in so she could take a look at it.
(I am not saying that this person was correct, I am just saying that this is how the conversation went. I am not surprised about this. I was amazed I actually got a live person on the phone.)
I really appreciate the head's up about this form, and I will bring this to the attention of the Mail Boxes where my friend works. Thanks again for all your help.
Reply by CJ on 10/25/07 12:02pm
I double checked the form
The form you posted is very clear: the employer is 100% responsible for filling it out. It is not confusing at all. So why was I confused?
I double checked the fax that my friend sent me to look at, and the employer (a travel agency) included a cover sheet that instructed the potential employee to take it to a notary to verify identification before returning it.
I faxed both to the secretary of state so she could look at them since she had no idea what I was talking about.
Thank God (and Harry) for Notary Rotary!
Reply by Dennis D Broadbooks on 10/25/07 12:06pm
Another Thing I Never Do...
...is take as gospel the opinion of someone in a Secretary of State's office if it relates to a NON-notarization question. They may say it's OK to fill it out as long as you don't notarize your own signature & they're more than likely correct as far as the Notary part is concerned (I'm a Missouri Notary & can't speak for all other states, nor do I want to!). But that doesn't address the question as to whether you should be signing this form at all in the capacity of an authorized representative. Read the "Certification" language in the I-9 form. Can you honestly attest to EVERYTHING it's asking you to? Do you KNOW if the individual asking you to fill out the form is REALLY an employee of the company listed on the form? Do you KNOW when they started as an employee? Do you KNOW if they're eligible to work in the US? If not, why would you sign it? Doesn't it say "under penalty of perjury"?
By the way, I'm not an attorney & this shouldn't be construed as legal advice. Consult your own lawyer if you think signing an I-9 for the pittance you receive is worth paying an attorney's fee for.
And please don't take my comments personally, CJ. I don't intend for this to be taken as sarcasm. Think this through & do the right thing based on all the information at your disposal. I'm sure you'll do fine.
Reply by CJ on 10/25/07 12:24pm
Thank you Dennis for all your help.
Since I have never been an employer, I have never seen this form before. I do think the people answering the phones at the Secretary of State office are lost, which is why I faxed it to them.
You are right: someone brings a form like this to a notary, we know NOTHING about them. I think the employer is more at risk since the instructions from the government is clear that they are responsible for getting this filled out. But I still don't want anything to do with this. I appreicate all this new information. I know you are not being sarcastic, or giving legal advice, but just being informative and helpful, which I SUPER appreciate. If it were not for this website, I would not be able to get this good help from the other side of the country at a moment's notice.
Reply by Ducky/FL on 10/25/07 12:22pm
Worked 33+ years with U.S. Dept of Agriculture as an Administrative Officer and never saw one notarized. My office completed them in new hire packages.
Reply by ToniK on 10/25/07 12:31pm
I had a company I signed up with about event work as me to get my I-9 form notarized but they have an agreement that I sign stating that Im an independent contractor. I didnt complete this form as I have only seen I-9 when you are working for another company as an employee. Hmmm I wonder about this particular company I signed up with. I might send them an email questioning that document
Reply by Margaret_FL on 10/25/07 1:54pm
I have been notarizing employee paperwork for people working from home. They have an I-9 but I have only notarized the employee agreement. These are not just for government jobs, they are required paperwork for any job as an employee. One person was working for a company out of Oklahoma and she was working from her home here in Florida.
Reply by SharonMN on 10/25/07 2:32pm
Is there any possibility that what this person was supposed to so was fill out the "Employee" section of the I-9 and return it to their company along with notary-certified copies of their ID ? That's the only possibility I can think of that makes sense, and it only makes sense in those states where notaries are permitted to certify copies. But it is up to the signer to understand what they need from the notary, not our job to guess.
Otherwise, I agree with everyone else - why would a notary sign as "employer"?
Reply by Terri_CA on 10/25/07 5:27pm
Ok, this will get me flamed, but here's the deal. The Notary Laws in CA say that I cannot refuse a lawful notary request. Since I am not responsible for the contents of the document, if someone asks me to notarize a document, advises me the type of notarization they want done (if the wording isn't there), and can pay me my fee (not to exceed the maximum amount by law), then I will notarize the document, period. The document must contain the signature of the person appearing before me for the notarization of same.
Now with the I-9, I know that it does not need to be notarized, however, I would be practicing UPL if I were to advise the person requesting notarization of that fact. I would not, however, sign the document as the authorized representative of any entitiy or person.
The request to notarize the signature (not my own) on the I-9 is not an illegal request. Might be dumb and not necessary, but not illegal. Though it would be illegal for me to refuse their notary request.
Reply by SharonMN on 10/26/07 9:42am
Terri_CA, I totally agree - but the problem is that the signer is apparently NOT saying "I need you to attach an ack to this document I signed" but is asking the notary to complete the employer section of the form, which is clearly not the notary's job.
Notaries would do well to remember the 2 or 3 things they are authorized to do as a notary (ack, jurat, copy certification) and stop trying to accomodate requests for them to do other things.
Reply by Terri_CA on 10/26/07 10:43am
Sharon, you're absolutely right. Here's a scenario though. Someone comes to my office... "Hi, I was sent this document to complete and was told to have it notarized." I as the notary would review the document, seeing that there is no notary wording, would advise the signer (person who presented me the document) that since there is no notary wording, they have to tell me which one to use. At this point, I can advise them what the two notarizations are that I can perform, either an acknowledgment or jurat and explain the differences. Once the signer (person in front of me) picks one, that's the one I perform, using probably a loose certificate. (Of course, all other notary laws apply as well)
I have not completed any other portion of the document, other than performing a notarization as lawfully requested.
Yes, I would refuse to fill out the "employer" section, but I would not refuse a lawful notarization request. It is NOT my place to tell them that it's a document not normally notarized. We know not why the request for notarization came about, we are only to abide by the request. Not my place to question the signer, they have no idea, they were probably told to have it notarized.
Reply by Ernest__CT on 10/25/07 9:16pm
Thank you, everyone, for weighing in ...
... on this topic.
For those who question why the new employee's signature on the I-9 cannot be notarized, please look up the form online and read it. (NOT being hostile or a smart aleck here, just asking that you look at the actual wording!) There is no notarial block and nothing to notarize.
Even in states where Notaries Public CAN attest to the accuracy of a copy, it would be pointless. The I-9 does not need a copy of the ID, even though most places I've worked have requested that I let them photocopy the ID I presented.
For those who have authorization to act as a company representative that has been signed by an officer of the company, be sure that aforesaid authorization absolves you of any liability in case of fraud or mistake. This is a FEDERAL form; Uncle Sam doesn't fool around.