What is a W-8 form?

A W-8 form (Form W-8BEN, W-8BEN-E form, or W-8 form) is intended for someone who is not a U.S. citizen or resident of the U.S. and who performs work and/or earns income in the United States, or for foreign companies that earn income in the United States.

W8 Form Not for U.S. Citizens

If you are a U.S. citizen, a W-8 form is not intended for you. If you are a lawful citizen of the United States, you do not need to worry about filling out a W-8 form. These tax forms are only used by foreign individuals or companies to confirm their foreign status. Typically, you should fill out a Form W-9, with which you declare to be a U.S. citizen or resident.

W8 Form for Non-Resident Aliens

If you are a non-resident alien with income sources in the United States, then these tax forms are the correct forms for you. Non-resident aliens are taxed by U.S. companies at 30 percent on earned income unless a fully completed W-8 form is submitted.

Other Users of the W-8BEN Form

Other users of the W-8BEN tax form may be those who receive a pension from America but live in another country that has an income tax treaty with the United States. If you live in another country but receive your pension from an American pension fund, you will most likely also be asked by this pension fund to fill out this form.

If you are asked to submit a form for the first time, or if you have had difficulties with this form in the past, it is advisable to have it filled out by a tax accountant. Also consider that the form is sent to the company requiring this form, not to the IRS.

How Long is a W-8BEN Valid?

According to the regulations of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. federal tax agency, a W-8 form is only valid for three calendar years. If your most recent form was accepted more than three years ago, you are required to submit a new form.

Why W-8BEN-E?

A W-8BEN-E form is a form from the U.S. tax agency (IRS) intended to collect accurate tax information from entities that are not residents of the United States. With the form, you indicate that you are not a citizen of the United States.

How to Fill a W8BEN Form?

  • Full name.
  • Citizenship.
  • Postal address.
  • ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) or SSN (Social Security Number) in the U.S.
  • Foreign tax number.
  • Date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY)
  • Country outside the U.S. where the employee files tax returns.
  • Withholding rates (if applicable)

Key Takeaways W-8BEN:

  • Individuals or entities outside the U.S. fill out a W-8BEN form to claim exemption from U.S. tax withholding for income earned in the U.S.
  • W-8BEN forms are essentially the equivalent of W-9 forms, which are required for non-employees who are U.S. taxpayers.
  • There are five W-8 forms, each designed for specific recipients or withholding agents.
  • Withholding agents are those who make a form of payment to an individual or entity outside the U.S.
  • Withholding agents can be fined up to 30%, plus interest and penalties if they pay any entity or individual outside the U.S. without first receiving the W-8BEN form from them.

More Information on W8 at Americans Overseas?

Americans Overseas was founded by two dual nationals living abroad. During their precious and exhausting search for the right experts, they realized that they had not only accumulated a wealth of knowledge but had also built a solid network of tax and legal experts – which could come in handy for others in similar situations.

Americans Overseas informs and connects Americans worldwide with a carefully selected network of specialized U.S. tax advisors to help them avoid double taxation and meet their U.S. tax obligations.

If you want more information about the W-8BEN-E form or W8 form and you are a US Person? For all your questions, you can contact Americans Overseas.

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