Avoiding I-9 audits

How to avoid a costly I-9 audit

By following these simple reminders, you can help avoid ICE fines.

I-9 compliance is tough for many businesses and it's easy for companies to be levied large fines if regulations are not followed appropriately.

I-9 form training is important for all businesses

Sizable fines can result from simple errors when dealing with I-9 forms, with penalties ranging from $110 to $1,100 per violation. In addition, civil penalties for hiring unauthorized workers range from $375 to $3,200 per violation for first-time violations. Fine are directly based on the following factors:

  • Efforts to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • History of previous violations
  • Seriousness of the violation(s)
  • Size of the business(es)
  • If it was the violation from unauthorized employees

Mistakes that can cost your business massive fines from ICE

  • Redoing all the I-9s and then throwing away the originals (and corresponding documents)
  • Not checking information in section 1 against copies of documents recorded in Section 2
  • Making changes to forms I-9 without initialing and dating the forms
  • Backdating information to make them appear to have been completed properly


E-Verify is a voluntary and free online system that allows an employer to run the data completed on the I-9 through the E-Verify system. Highlights are:

  • The system checks the information provided on the I-9 to ensure the employee's work authorization eligibility matches the databases maintained by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA).
  • E-Verify does not confirm that the documents presented reasonably appear to resemble the employee - that remains the responsibility of the employer.

Executive summary

By following these simple reminders, you can help avoid ICE fines. More importantly, you can save your business a lot of lost time (and wages) by helping ensure compliance with ICE.

For more information about I-9 reporting, contact Carrie Cox via email, or Cindy McSwain using her information below.

Cindy McSwain

Senior Vice President
Outsourcing Services

Cindy McSwain leads AGH’s outsourcing services group. Her team provides payroll, accounting, funds disbursement, controller, and other financial outsourcing services to numerous clients throughout the U.S. Prior to joining the outsourcing group, Cindy served AGH’s audit clients for 10 years, working with a wide range of middle-market, closely held and family-owned organizations.

Her current clients cross many industry sectors, including manufacturing and distribution, restaurants, retailers, medical and not-for-profit. She has participated in numerous SEC filings and public registrations and has experience in mergers and acquisitions. Cindy is a certified public accountant and a member of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants.

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