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An Internal Audit Uncovered Problems with a Form I-9 — What Should Employers Do?

by | Sep 9, 2021 | I-9 and E-Verify, Immigration

This is the seventh post in a series celebrating the publication of my new book: I-9 Verification Employment eGuide for HR professionals. This free guide covers everything busy HR pros need to know to prevent common issues experienced during the I-9 verification process.

These blog posts cover the first chapter of the book, “Top 10 Questions from Employers About I-9s.” So far, I have covered:

In this post, I will discuss how to react if you discover that an I-9 form has only been partially completed.

How to Deal with Problems in Form I-9 Uncovered By an Internal Audit

At times, incomplete I-9 forms will surface during an internal audit. While it may feel stressful to discover them, it is better to deal with it within your organization before submitting a form that may cause disruption down the line.

For some application processes, it is common knowledge that one needs to finesse a form in a certain fashion for an application to be accepted — for instance, backdating. This is not the case with Form I-9.

How to Handle a Missing Form I-9

If Form I-9 is missing, the current version of the form should be filled out as soon as possible. Do not backdate it. 

Instead, you can attach a note to the new Form I-9 explaining the situation. To be clear, you can acceptably state that the new form is the result of an internal audit. There is no need to obfuscate the new form’s additional nature.

What About Missing Sections?

Perhaps you have the original Form I-9, but certain sections have not been filled out. How you respond depends on the section missing.  

If Section 1 was not completed or lacks pertinent information, it falls on the employee to finish this part. You should reach out to inform them of this need as soon as possible. 

In the case of a missing or incomplete Section 2, this lands in the employer’s jurisdiction. HR should have the proper person in management fill out the remainders of the section. 

Note: For the certification portion of Section 2, the employer should make the actual beginning date of employment clear.

Is It Ever Appropriate to Backdate?

To reiterate, if you correct a Form I-9, neither the employer nor the employee should backdate the form. Ever. 

Instead, rely on that signed and dated note to explain when and why the correction took place. 

Next week, we will go over the eighth topic from Chapter 1: What kinds of fines are involved?

Or you could get a thorough overview of the entire I-9 verification process by downloading my new eGuide now.



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