MisterWizard - 2:49 pm on Jun 24, 2013 (gmt 0)
I work in payment processing and this sounds a lot like the IRS Taxpayer Identification Number "TIN Validation" program, which started getting enforced this year. Basically, the IRS wants to make sure that your business entity name and employer ID number (or social security number) match up between what they originally sent you on form cp575 when they originally created your EIN.
Here's the kicker: if any of the information is off, even a little bit, it triggers an alert. In the credit card processing field, a mismatch is causing business owners to see 28% of their receipts withheld until the mismatch is fixed. An example of a mismatch is if the IRS sees an ampersand (&) on your business registration and your bank shows the word "and" on its records for the name of your company. You may have also left off "LLC" or "Corporation" from the name they have on file, or may have used the abbreviation "Corp" when the full word is on the CP575 Form. The 2013 tax year is when implementation of penalties started for people who have credit card machines, and the IRS is compelling the banks and processing companies to enforce the withholding.
I am guessing that Google has to do the same thing for Adsense customers, given the high sum of money distributed throughout all of Adsense. If you originally submitted a W9 form with data that doesn't match up (or if someone transcribed it incorrectly on the other end) then this could trigger a notice. If you got an EIN number, and lost the form CP575 which shows what the IRS has listed, you can request for them to fax you (but not anyone else) form 147c to get the same information. When you re-file your W9 form, you want to be sure everything matches up precisely, or else the automated programs that match up this data will still flag your company.