A multi-axial bone screw assembly includes a bone screw having a partially spherical head. The bone screw head is truncated at an upper surface in which a tool receiving recess is defined. The assembly includes a receiver member including a central bore that defines a tapered recess to receive a contracting collet carrying the head of the bone screw. The bore of the receiver member also defines a channel communicating with the recess and configured to receive a spinal rod therein. A portion of the channel is threaded to receive a set screw above the rod. The assembly also includes a contracting collet disposed between the rod and the head of the bone screw. The collet defines a partially spherical recess to receive the head of the bone screw, and includes deflectable fingers that substantially surround the screw head. As the set screw is tightened into the receiver member, the set screw compresses the rod against the collet, which presses the collet into the tapered recess of the receiver member, thereby deflecting the fingers of the collet against the bone screw head.