Business owners have numerous government-imposed responsibilities. One specific responsibility has the potential to result in heavy penalties if not fulfilled.

The responsibility in question is I-9 verification of employee work eligibility. The purpose of I-9 verification is to verify whether an employee is eligible to work in the United States. In order to keep functioning, the U.S. government depends on tax payments from its wage earners, and businesses are required to collect these taxes from its employees. For tax purposes, all employees must have a valid social security or tax identification number. Social security and tax identification numbers are issued only to individuals that are eligible to work in the U.S. Every year, thousands of illegal aliens enter the U.S. hoping to find a better way of life. They regularly seek and find work with businesses that fail to comply with federal verification laws. Though the intentions of these illegal aliens may be good, they overstep the laws of this country. Businesses that hire them overstep the laws of this country as well and put themselves in danger of bankrupting themselves out of business due to hefty fines.

If a business fails to verify its employees’ work eligibility and hires illegal aliens, the business will face civil fines up to $1000 for each offense if caught. The penalties increase if the business is a repeat offender and can even include criminal charges and fines. You can avoid this problem. Protect your business by requiring that all employees complete an I-9 form and provide the appropriate identification to prove their work eligibility.

A simple way to verify employee work eligibility is to participate in the E-Verify program. This federal program provides electronic verification of work eligibility. The E-Verify program requires verification within three days of hiring a new employee. The entire process is electronic and provides proof that businesses comply with federal verification laws. I-9 verification is a huge but necessary responsibility that accompanies business ownership in the U.S. Ensure that your company follows all legal requirements. Verify work eligibility for every employee. By doing so, you will protect your business and fulfill your obligation to comply with the laws of this country.