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I-9s: Online or on paper?

by on
in Office Management,Records Retention

Q. Congress just gave employers the OK to maintain I-9 records electronically. I do payroll for a church. How can we make the switch from paper to electronic? —D.K., Arkansas

A. Assuming that your organization is a relatively small employer, it would probably be best to simply maintain paper copies of the I-9s. But if you prefer electronic records, simply scan the completed I-9 forms and retain them as PDF documents. You must still retain employees' I-9s for three years after their hire date or for one year after departure, whichever comes later.

Key point: It's critical that all I-9 forms be signed. As of May 1, 2005, employers can accept “electronic signatures” on electronic-based I-9 forms, using devices such as an electronic pad like those used at grocery stores.

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