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Form W-8BEN

Also known as the Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding.

What is Form W-8BEN?

Form W-8BEN is a document used by foreign individuals and other such entities to claim a reduced rate of, or exemption from, U.S. tax withholding on certain types of income they receive from U.S. sources.

This form is designed for entities that are not considered residents of the United States for tax purposes, and it certifies their non-resident status to the withholding agent.

Who Should File Form W-8BEN?

Form W-8BEN should be filed by a foreign individual or entity if they receive income from a U.S. source that is subject to U.S. tax withholding. This includes, but is not limited to, income from dividends, interest, rents, royalties, and certain types of compensation.

When to File Form W-8BEN?

Form W-8BEN should be filed to the withholding agent before the payment is made to the foreign individual or entity.

It is important to note that a new Form W-8BEN must be filed to withholding agent if there is a change in circumstances, such as a change in the individual’s foreign status or a change in the beneficial ownership of the entity.

What Information is Required on Form W-8BEN?

1. The name of the individual or entity

2. The foreign address of the individual or entity

3. The foreign tax identification number of the individual or entity

4. A certification of the individual’s foreign status

5. A declaration of the individual’s entitlement to a reduced rate of, or exemption from, U.S. tax withholding

Penalties for Failure to File Form W-8BEN

1. If a foreign individual or entity fails to file Form W-8BEN, they may be subject to the maximum statutory rate of U.S. tax withholding, which is currently 30%.

2. In addition, the individual or entity may also be subject to penalties for failing to comply with U.S. tax withholding requirements.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Form W-8BEN is an important document for foreign individuals and entities to claim a reduced rate of, or exemption from, U.S. tax withholding on certain types of income they receive from U.S. sources. It is important to file Form W-8BEN accurately and timely to avoid potential penalties and to ensure compliance with U.S. tax withholding requirements.

We shall discuss about another withholding Form i.e. Form W-8BEN-E in our next post but let’s just see what some of the key differences are between both these forms.

Key differences between Form W-8BEN and W-8BEN-E:

  • Purpose: Form W-8BEN is used by foreign individuals to claim an exemption from U.S. withholding tax, while Form W-8BEN-E is used by foreign entities such as corporations, partnerships, and trusts.
  • Certification of status: Form W-8BEN requires the individual to certify their foreign status and tax residency, while Form W-8BEN-E requires the entity to certify its non-resident status and eligibility for an exemption based on factors such as tax residency in a country with a U.S. tax treaty, trade or business in the U.S., or tax-exempt status under U.S. law.
  • Identification number: Form W-8BEN requires the individual to provide their foreign taxpayer identification number, while Form W-8BEN-E requires the entity to provide its taxpayer identification number, such as an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a foreign tax identification number (TIN).

Bonus Takeaway

Validity period

Form W-8BEN is generally valid for three years from the date of signature, unless there is a change in circumstances that would affect the individual’s eligibility for an exemption from withholding tax or the entity’s eligibility for an exemption from withholding tax.

In relation to Indians who are providing services in USA, you must be required to file such Forms by your USA vendor.

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If you need any assistance in filing this form or any other service related to us tax, accounting, and compliance please contact us services@ustaxconsultant.com

Author Bio

Naman Maloo qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2017. In his fast evolving tenure, he has worked across industries ranging from pharmaceuticals, media, manufacturing to jewelry. A curious & well read individual, he specialises in: Assessment under Income Tax Laws Representation before CIT View Full Profile

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