IRS Form W-8BEN

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IRS Form W-8BEN

Being a foreigner who runs a business in the United States and has income from US sources, you have a legal right to complete and file the W-8BEN Form to claim tax exemption and even tax reduction. Though establishing the claim is complicated and demands accuracy and effort, the result is worth the time spent.

What Is a W-8BEN Certificate?

The form is officially recognized as the Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for US Tax Withholding and Reporting. The document is legitimate only for individuals and disregarded entities and is valid for three years after appending the signature. In the event, any changes occur that turn the submitted information incorrect, the petitioner should generate a new W-8BEN certificate with relevant data within 30 days.

The United States holds tax treaties with many countries and provides a full list of eligible governments which residents may be qualified for tax reduction. Following the Internal Revenue Service’s regulations, non-residents of the US should pay 30 percent of their interest obtained from the US sources.

How to Serve W-8BEN Certificate?

The certificate should be accomplished and served upon the other party’s request before the first payment is provided. As a rule, it is the organization or individual from whom the petitioner obtains refunds. You shouldn’t send the certificate to the IRS.

Though the form is not compulsory, completing it brings the beneficiary owner much profit. You should provide the completed paper if the income received from the US sources cover:

  • royalties
  • dividends
  • interest
  • rents
  • premium
  • yearly and periodical payments and gains
  • pays in security lending transactions

What Is the Difference Between W-8BEN and W-8BEN-E Certificates?

Tax obligations for foreign individuals and entities make 30 percent for both categories. Both categories may be qualified to claim beneficiary owner status. However, the documents filed by petitioners differ. Following US and international law, the W-8BEN is tailored for non-US individuals and disregarded entities only, while foreign businesses and entities should prepare the W-8BEN-E.

Other IRS Forms for Corporations

Foreign people in the US might need to be familiar with some other IRS forms. You can read more about them on other pages with IRS forms.


Filling Out IRS Form W-8BEN

This section of our review is dedicated to the filling out process and includes instructions and illustrations to help you accomplish the W-8BEN template. We empower you to use our form-building software to tailor a PDF file and start completing the document immediately.

The W-8BEN Form consists of three general parts and an introductory section. Let us view each unit closely:

  • Consider the Warning Introductory Clause

Prior to entering the required data, please, read the warning at the top of the document. The Internal Revenue Service provides compulsory recommendations for using the form. If you fall within one of these categories, avoid completing W-8BEN and prepare the indicated document.

step 1 consider the warning introductory clause - filling out an irs form w-8ben

  • Submit the Beneficial Owner’s ID Data in Part 1

This section contains questions 1-9 and requires the petitioner’s personal info. To complete these units, you should enter the following:

  • The legal name on Line 1
  • Citizenship data on Line 2
  • Physical domiciliary address, including the street and apartment (suite) number, city, state, ZIP, and country on Line 3
  • Line 4 requires the individual’s mailing address if different from the permanent residency location. Make sure to enter the full data on the model of Line 3.
  • On Line 5, the petitioner should insert the taxpayer ID data.

If the individual possesses the SSN, they should enter it in the appropriate box. In the event, the petitioner doesn’t have the SSN and cannot be qualified to apply for one, let them indicate the ITIN. You can file the necessary documentation at IRS to get registered within four-six weeks.

It’s worth mentioning that ITIN does not guarantee benefits or adjust one’s employment (or immigration) rank. To have a legal right to social security privileges, the petitioner must submit their SSN or TIN.

step 2 submit the beneficial owner’s id data in part 1 - filling out an irs form w-8ben

  • Line 6 demands the petitioner’s foreign tax ID data.

You should provide the corresponding data when holding a financial account and receiving income from a US-based business. The taxpayer ID number is given by the authorized services of your country of residency defined on Line 3.

Having no TIN requires an explanation that you should deliver in the W-8BEN Form. Clarify the matter on Line 6, or submit an attachment to the document. More details can be found on the IRS official website.

step 3 line 6 demands the petitioner’s foreign tax id data - filling out an irs form w-8ben

  • Include the reference number(s) on Line 7.

Here, the petitioner includes any relevant info, additionally clarifying the W-8BEN claim. The beneficial owner can include account details, for example, to help the agent associate related forms and accounts.

step 4 include the reference number(s) on line 7 - filling out an irs form w-8ben

  • Specify your date of birth in a month-day-year format on Line 8.
  • Identify the Treaty Country

Enter the name of a treaty country the beneficiary person resides. The complete list of the treaties can be found on the IRS official website in the Tax Treaties Section.

step 6 identify the treaty country - filling out an irs form w-8ben

  • Complete Line 10 If Appropriate

This subsection is filled out only when applicable, and the petitioner faces terms not provided by subsection nine and Certification Part 3 of the respected document. However, subsection 10 must always be accomplished by foreign researchers and students qualifying for exemption benefits.

Follow the W-8BEN instructions to complete the subsection. You are empowered to include the statute, the withholding percentage, and the type of income. Also, give a reason for having the withholding rate benefits on the line provided.

step 7 complete line 10 if appropriate - filling out an irs form w-8ben

  • Sign the Document in Part 3

Part 3 is dedicated to authorization and covers a list of statements that certify that the data submitted by the petitioner are authentic and correct. Read the paragraph attentively and append the signature at the bottom of the W-8BEN paper. Also, place the current date and print your name.

You are allowed to use an electronic signature and render info that the document is acknowledged electronically.

step 8 sign the document in part 3 - filling out an irs form w-8ben
In the event the beneficial owner designates an agent to sign the paper on their behalf, they need to provide a valid Power of Attorney and submit the agent’s name and signature.