What is Form W8 Ben?

Form W8 BEN is also known as a certificate of foreign status. It's an IRS form used for tax withholding and reporting by foreign persons with an income source in the US, like income for provided services, dividends and interest, etc. Non-US citizens must fill and submit this form to their withholding agent or payer for tax purposes.

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Form W8 BEN helps establish the foreign status of non-US individuals working for U.S. companies. The form should be handed over to a withholding agent or payer a few days after initiating an income source in a US-based organisation. It remains valid for three calendar years, after which the beneficiary should complete and submit a new W-8 BEN form.

Where applicable, the W-8 BEN form is used for claiming a reduced rate or exemption from withholding the regular 30% tax rate that foreign persons receiving income from the United States are subject to.

That’s why it’s called the " Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner of United States Tax Withholding and Reporting."

Form W8 Ben Eligibility and Components

A foreign person receiving income from the United States is subject to a 30% withholding rate. However, the US government may have entered into a tax treaty with another government in a foreign country for a reduced rate or exemption from withholding.

Form W8 BEN helps certify that a contracted person or entity is a foreign, non-US resident. Eligible beneficiaries can then use the form to claim a reduced rate or exemption from withholding income tax to avoid double taxation.

The W-8 BEN form has 3 sections as follows:

  • Part I: Identification of Beneficial Owner –This section carries the foreign person's details, including name, country of citizenship, permanent residence address, taxpayer identification number, and more.
  • Part II: Claim of Tax Treaty Benefits –Certifies that you are a beneficiary of an income tax treaty between the U.S. and your country.
  • Part III: Certification –This section carries important instructions and warns that you're supposed to agree to and sign.

A Step-by-Step Guide On Completing Form W8 BEN

Completing form W8 BEN is easy and straightforward because it only has 3 short sections. Below, we highlight the key components of each section on the W-8 BEN form so that you know what to fill in.

Certify that you’re a foreign person in Part 1

Use this section to fill in your personal details. The aim is to certify that you're a foreign person or a non-US resident. Key components of this section include:

  • Name of individual
  • Country of Citizenship
  • Permanent residence address
  • Your mailing address
  • US taxpayer identification number (SSN or ITIN)
  • Date of birth using the format mm-dd-yyyy

Claiming Tax Treaty Benefits in Part II

Section II is for claiming tax treaty benefits. Fill this section if your country has a tax treaty with the US to claim a reduced rate or exemption from withholding income tax. Otherwise, skip this section and leave it blank. You can find a full list of treaty countries on the Internal Revenue Service website.

Providing certification in part III

Declare that you have examined the information in the form and have given true, correct, and complete information. Sing the form with your full name, signature, and date.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Filling Form W8 BEN

Every piece of information you provide on the w-8 BEN form is under penalties of perjury. So, you must ensure that you provide true, correct, and complete information to avoid legal consequences. Common mistakes to avoid when filling out form W8 BEN include:

  • Identification errors, like incomplete legal entity name, residence address, etc
  • Incomplete or incorrect treaty benefits claims
  • Failing to sign and date the form
  • Using the form to try to avoid withholding tax
  • Filling out form W8 BEN when you’re not a foreign person

Ensuring Form W8 BEN Compliance With Playroll

To ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations, U.S. companies should collect form W8 BEN from their foreign entities. That helps build a compliant team by withholding the correct tax amounts to avoid legal consequences.

Playroll is an all-in-one HR and payroll management platform that offers errorless global payroll solutions to help businesses build compliant global teams. Our on-time, multinational payroll solutions help ensure accurate calculation and withholding of taxes in compliance with local tax laws and labor regulations.

Ready to streamline your compliance journey? Contact our team for expert insights.

W-8 BEN form FAQs

What is the purpose of the W8-BEN form?

The purpose of form W8 BEN is to certify that the beneficial owner of the income for which the W-8 Ben form is being provided is a foreign person, not a U.S. resident. The form is also useful for claiming tax treaty benefits or exemption from withholding income tax.

Who needs a W8BEN form?

Only foreign individuals earning an income from the US need to file a W8 BEN form. Foreign business entities should use form W8 BEN-E, while US residents and citizens should file forms W-9, W-4, and others.

What happens if you don't complete a new W-8BEN form?

Your submitted W-8 BEN form remains valid for 3 calendar years, after which you must file a new one.  If you don't complete a new W-8 BEN form, it can result in unnecessary tax withholding by your withholding agent or payer. It also leads to noncompliance with U.S. tax laws and regulations, which can result in legal consequences

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Form W8 BEN helps establish the foreign status of non-US individuals working for U.S. companies. The form should be handed over to a withholding agent or payer a few days after initiating an income source in a US-based organisation. It remains valid for three calendar years, after which the beneficiary should complete and submit a new W-8 BEN form.

Where applicable, the W-8 BEN form is used for claiming a reduced rate or exemption from withholding the regular 30% tax rate that foreign persons receiving income from the United States are subject to.

That’s why it’s called the " Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner of United States Tax Withholding and Reporting."

Form W8 Ben Eligibility and Components

A foreign person receiving income from the United States is subject to a 30% withholding rate. However, the US government may have entered into a tax treaty with another government in a foreign country for a reduced rate or exemption from withholding.

Form W8 BEN helps certify that a contracted person or entity is a foreign, non-US resident. Eligible beneficiaries can then use the form to claim a reduced rate or exemption from withholding income tax to avoid double taxation.

The W-8 BEN form has 3 sections as follows:

  • Part I: Identification of Beneficial Owner –This section carries the foreign person's details, including name, country of citizenship, permanent residence address, taxpayer identification number, and more.
  • Part II: Claim of Tax Treaty Benefits –Certifies that you are a beneficiary of an income tax treaty between the U.S. and your country.
  • Part III: Certification –This section carries important instructions and warns that you're supposed to agree to and sign.

A Step-by-Step Guide On Completing Form W8 BEN

Completing form W8 BEN is easy and straightforward because it only has 3 short sections. Below, we highlight the key components of each section on the W-8 BEN form so that you know what to fill in.

Certify that you’re a foreign person in Part 1

Use this section to fill in your personal details. The aim is to certify that you're a foreign person or a non-US resident. Key components of this section include:

  • Name of individual
  • Country of Citizenship
  • Permanent residence address
  • Your mailing address
  • US taxpayer identification number (SSN or ITIN)
  • Date of birth using the format mm-dd-yyyy

Claiming Tax Treaty Benefits in Part II

Section II is for claiming tax treaty benefits. Fill this section if your country has a tax treaty with the US to claim a reduced rate or exemption from withholding income tax. Otherwise, skip this section and leave it blank. You can find a full list of treaty countries on the Internal Revenue Service website.

Providing certification in part III

Declare that you have examined the information in the form and have given true, correct, and complete information. Sing the form with your full name, signature, and date.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Filling Form W8 BEN

Every piece of information you provide on the w-8 BEN form is under penalties of perjury. So, you must ensure that you provide true, correct, and complete information to avoid legal consequences. Common mistakes to avoid when filling out form W8 BEN include:

  • Identification errors, like incomplete legal entity name, residence address, etc
  • Incomplete or incorrect treaty benefits claims
  • Failing to sign and date the form
  • Using the form to try to avoid withholding tax
  • Filling out form W8 BEN when you’re not a foreign person

Ensuring Form W8 BEN Compliance With Playroll

To ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations, U.S. companies should collect form W8 BEN from their foreign entities. That helps build a compliant team by withholding the correct tax amounts to avoid legal consequences.

Playroll is an all-in-one HR and payroll management platform that offers errorless global payroll solutions to help businesses build compliant global teams. Our on-time, multinational payroll solutions help ensure accurate calculation and withholding of taxes in compliance with local tax laws and labor regulations.

Ready to streamline your compliance journey? Contact our team for expert insights.

W-8 BEN form FAQs

What is the purpose of the W8-BEN form?

The purpose of form W8 BEN is to certify that the beneficial owner of the income for which the W-8 Ben form is being provided is a foreign person, not a U.S. resident. The form is also useful for claiming tax treaty benefits or exemption from withholding income tax.

Who needs a W8BEN form?

Only foreign individuals earning an income from the US need to file a W8 BEN form. Foreign business entities should use form W8 BEN-E, while US residents and citizens should file forms W-9, W-4, and others.

What happens if you don't complete a new W-8BEN form?

Your submitted W-8 BEN form remains valid for 3 calendar years, after which you must file a new one.  If you don't complete a new W-8 BEN form, it can result in unnecessary tax withholding by your withholding agent or payer. It also leads to noncompliance with U.S. tax laws and regulations, which can result in legal consequences

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