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W-8 Forms

W-8 Forms

What Are W-8 Forms?

W-8 forms are Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms that foreign individuals and businesses must file to check their country of residence for tax purposes, ensuring that they fit the bill for a lower rate of tax withholding. Albeit the W-8 forms are issued by the IRS, they are submitted exclusively to payers or withholding agents, not to the IRS. Inability to present the form might bring about a withholding at the full 30% rate that applies to foreign elements.

Who Can File W-8 Forms?

W-8 forms are filled out by foreign individuals or substances that lack U.S. citizenship or residency, however have worked in the U.S. or on the other hand earned income in the U.S. A U.S. resident or resident alien won't ever need to complete a W-8 form.

Foreign individuals or businesses that earn income in the U.S. must pay a 30% tax on certain income types. The W-8 form will collect information on who the individual or business is, where they're from, and the types of income earned.

How to File W-8 Forms

There are five W-8 forms. These forms are mentioned by the payers or withholding agents and kept on file with them โ€” not filed with the IRS.

The variant of the form not entirely set in stone by both whether or not the filer is an individual or a business and the idea of the income the filer received. The forms are effective for the year in which they are marked and three calendar years afterward. Subsequently, a W-8BEN endorsed on Jan. 25, 2022, would be substantial through Dec. 31, 2025.

The W-8 series of forms are genuinely complex. However they require essential information like name, country of beginning, and taxpayer identification number (TIN), they additionally ask for the contacts from which the filer is getting the reported income. A professional is frequently counseled to help with completing them.

W-9 forms are likewise IRS forms used to give or affirm a person's name, address, and taxpayer identification number (TIN). The W-9 forms are just required for U.S. residents or resident aliens, or U.S. substances.

Form W-8BEN

Form W-8BEN ("Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting") must be presented by foreign persons who receive certain types of income in the United States. The form, at times alluded to as a "certificate of foreign status," lays out that the individual is both a foreign person and the owner of the business being referred to.

Foreign individuals are usually subject to a tax rate of 30% on specific types of income they receive from U.S. payers, including:

  • Interest
  • Profits
  • Rents
  • Eminences
  • Expenses
  • Annuities
  • Compensation for services delivered

The form likewise assists you with claiming a reduction or an exemption from the U.S. tax withholding assuming you live in a country with which the United States has an income tax treaty and the income you received is subject to that treaty.

Foreign persons must give Form W-8BEN to the withholding agent or payer in the event that they are the beneficial owner of the income subject to the tax withholding. You must present the form whether or not you are claiming a diminished withholding.

Individuals must present the form to the payer or withholding agent prior to getting income or credits from them. Inability to present a Form W-8BEN could bring about paying either the full 30% rate or the backup withholding rate under section 3406.

Form W-8BEN is utilized by foreign individuals who receive nonbusiness income in the U.S., whereas W-8BEN-E is utilized by foreign substances who receive this type of income.

Form W-8BEN-E

Form W-8BEN-E is additionally named "Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting," yet it is filed by foreign substances, not individuals.

Likewise with foreign persons who receive certain types of income, the money generated by foreign businesses is commonly withheld at a 30% rate by the payer or withholding agent in the United States. However, the form allows the foreign business to claim a reduction in taxes on the off chance that its country of residence has a tax treaty with the United States.

Non-U.S. businesses must give the Form W-8BEN-E for the very kinds of revenue that would require an individual to file a Form W-8BEN. Foreign substances that don't give an accurate W-8BEN-E when required to do so will commonly need to pay the full 30% tax rate.

Form W-8ECI

Form W-8ECI is the "Certificate of Foreign Person's Claim for Exemption From Withholding on Income Effectively Connected With the Conduct of a Trade or Business in the United States." It is filed by foreign individuals who participate in a trade or business in the United States and receive income from U.S. sources. These proceeds are generally thought of "effectively associated income" (ECI) whether or not there is an association between the income and the trade or business being conducted in the United States in a specific year.

Significantly, ECI isn't subject to the very 30% withholding that applies to interest, rents, and other nonbusiness income. All things being equal, subsequent to subtracting applicable deductions, it is taxed at the graduated rate that U.S. residents and resident aliens pay. In the event that your work is covered by a U.S. treaty, it would be taxed at the lowest rate under that treaty.

As a rule, you must have participated in a trade or business activities in the United States at some point during the tax year to have the option to sort income as ECI. That would be the case if, for instance, a foreign individual performed personal services in the United States during the year. Furthermore, money made by a foreigner through investments in a partnership that conducts trade or business in the U.S. would likewise be treated as ECI.

However, foreigners whose sole U.S. income depends on the trading of securities or commodities through a U.S.- based broker are not viewed as taken part in a trade or business with the United States. Hence, they would not be subject to ECI tax treatment.

Form W-8EXP

Form W-8EXP is the "Certificate of Foreign Government or Other Foreign Organization for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting" and is involved by certain payees to claim a reduction of โ€” or exclusion from โ€” tax withholding. These incorporate foreign governments, establishments, and tax-exempt organizations, as well as governments of a U.S. possession or foreign central banks of issue.

To receive a reduction or an exemption from tax withholding, the entity must be eligible under IRS code 115(2), 501(c), 892, 895, or 1443(b). Should none of those exemptions apply, the entity must file a W-8BEN or W-8ECI (on the off chance that it received "effectively associated income").

Similarly as with other W-8 forms, Form W-8EXP must be shipped off the payer or withholding agent before income is paid to you. Not doing so could lead to a tax withholding at the 30% rate, a backup withholding rate, or the ECI tax rate.

Form W-8IMY

Form W-8IMY is the "Certificate of Foreign Intermediary, Foreign Flow-Through Entity, or Certain U.S. Branches for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting." The purpose of the form is to guarantee that a person or business received withhold-able payments for a foreigner or as a flow-through entity. The form is expected for go-betweens and ought not be involved by beneficial owners in a business.

Instances of elements who must file a W-8IMY include:

  • Foreign persons, or a foreign branch of a U.S. person, who are ensuring that they are a qualified intermediary (QI) that isn't acting for its own account and will give a withholding statement required under parts three and four of the IRS Code
  • U.S. branches that are serving in the job of an intermediary and wish either to guarantee their treatment as a U.S. person under tax law or document the receipt of payments for which they will outfit a withholding statement
  • Flow-through substances who wish to claim tax benefits under a treaty or guarantee that they will give a withholding statement, as required

A complete rundown of persons or elements required to file the form is in the IRS Instructions for Form W-8IMY. Duplicates of withholding statements and other documentary evidence ought to be incorporated with the form when it's submitted.

The Bottom Line

There are five types of IRS W-8 forms. These forms are utilized by foreign individuals or substances. The forms are submitted to the payer or withholding agent, and not the IRS. The forms fluctuate, yet the key information mentioned incorporates the name of the individual or business, address, and TINs.


  • Form W-8IMY, is utilized by middle people that receive withholding payments for the benefit of a foreigner or as a flow-through entity.
  • All W-8 forms are substantial for the year in which they are marked and for three full calendar a very long time after that.
  • There are five W-8 forms: W-8BEN, W-8BEN-E, W-8ECI, W-8EXP, and W-8IMY.
  • W-8 forms are utilized by foreign persons or business substances to claim exempt status from certain withholdings.
  • Figuring out which one to utilize comes down to whether you're an individual or an entity, the type of income you receive, and whether you're an organization that fits the bill for special tax treatment.


How Do I Get My W-8BEN?

Form W-8BEN is sent by the company making payments to the individual. The form ought to be returned to the company or entity that sent form W-8BEN, not the IRS. It's likewise not intended to be filed with a tax return. Ordinarily, the form ought to be submitted before the first payment is made.

Who Needs to Fill Out Form W-8BEN?

Form W-8BEN is utilized by foreign individuals that receive income from sources in the U.S. Just non-U.S. persons file form W-8BEN, not U.S. persons. Also, the form is just for individuals, substances finish up W-8BEN-E.

Why Is a W-8BEN-E Required?

The W-8BEN-E is utilized for businesses, not at all like the W-8BEN, which is just for individuals. The W-8BEN-E is required, as foreign businesses are subject to a similar withholding tax rate as individuals โ€” 30%. However, businesses, similar to individuals, may likewise fit the bill for a decreased tax rate. The W-8BEN-E helps laid out qualification for decreased rates.

What Is a W-8BEN?

Form W-8BEN is put together by foreign individuals that receive income in the U.S. The form lays out that the person is a foreign individual and owner of said business. The W-8BEN is called the certificate of foreign status.