The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is embarking on a major compliance effort to audit I-9 and related records of thousands of employers. Employers throughout Arizona and other southwestern states are receiving notices that they must produce I-9 and related information, such as unemployment insurance tax returns, payroll registers and 1099 forms for contract laborers. Employers are required to provide the requested information within three days of receiving the notice.
The DHS is entitled under the law to request that you relinquish your original Form I-9s along with copies of the other requested records. If you receive such a notice, the first thing you should do is seek legal counsel. Next, contact the local DHS office in your area to verify the identity of the auditor making the request to ensure that he or she is, in fact, a DHS employee. Once this is done, you should be prepared to comply with the auditor's request for information. By law, you are required to maintain, and the auditor will ask to see, a Form I-9 for all current employees, as well as those who have left employment within the prior 12 months. It is advised that you retain copies of all records you provide to the auditor along with a signed, itemized receipt. In addition to the I-9 records, the DHS will request copies of your company's key ownership information, business licenses and organizational documents. Remember, when the auditor arrives at your place of business, be sure to carefully review credentials to confirm he or she is the authorized auditor before you produce any information.
Below is the contact information for the Arizona Department of Homeland Security:
1700 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Each case a business or individual may face is unique and may require legal advice. If you would like additional information regarding the content of this article, please contact a member of our Labor and Employment Department.