What's New

Table of Contents

In 2010, Congress passed the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act of 2010, P.L. 111-147 (the HIRE Act), which added chapter 4 of Subtitle A to the Code, consisting of sections 1471 through 1474 of the Code and commonly referred to as “FATCA” or “chapter 4.” Under chapter 4 and the regulations thereunder, a withholding agent that makes withholdable payments on or after July 1, 2014, to a payee that is a foreign financial institution (FFI) generally must withhold 30% on the payment unless the withholding agent is able to treat the FFI as a participating FFI, deemed-compliant FFI, or an exempt beneficial owner. Additionally, a participating FFI or registered deemed-compliant FFI is generally required to perform due diligence procedures to identify its account holders for purposes of chapter 4 and to report or withhold, as appropriate, on such account holders that are U.S. account holders, recalcitrant account holders, or nonparticipating FFIs. A withholding agent is also required to withhold on withholdable payments made on or after July 1, 2014, to a nonfinancial foreign entity (NFFE), unless it is able to treat the NFFE as other than a passive NFFE that fails to identify its substantial U.S. owners (or certify that it does not have any substantial U.S. owners). In January 2013, final regulations were published that provide due diligence, withholding, and reporting rules for both U.S. withholding agents and FFIs under chapter 4 (T.D. 9610, available at www.irs.gov/irb/2013-15_IRB/ar16.html). Additionally, temporary and proposed regulations were released in February 2014, providing updated regulations under chapter 4 (T.D. 9657, available at www.irs.gov/irb/2014-13_IRB/ar06.html) as well as guidance amending certain of the regulations under chapters 3 and 61 of the Code to coordinate with the requirements of chapter 4 (T.D. 9658, available at www.irs.gov/irb/2014-13_IRB/ar07.html). Additional guidance was provided in Notice 2014-33, 2014-21 I.R.B. 1033, available at www.irs.gov/irb/2014-13_IRB/ar04.html.

In order to document an account holder or other payee, a withholding agent or an FFI may need to obtain a withholding certificate (i.e., Form W-8 series) to establish the chapter 4 status of a payee or an account holder or the payee's chapter 3 status, or to validate a payee’s or an account holder’s claim of foreign status when there are U.S. indicia associated with the payee or the account. See Due Diligence Requirements, later outlined in these instructions. Forms W-8ECI, W-8EXP, and W-8IMY have been updated to reflect the documentation requirements of chapter 4. Additionally, Form W-8BEN has been divided into two versions — Form W-8BEN for use by individuals and Form W-8BEN-E for use by entities. Form W-8BEN will continue to be used to document nonresident alien individuals, while Form W-8BEN-E will be used to document foreign entities, for purposes of chapters 3 and 4, and under certain other sections of the Code in order to establish their status for withholding or reporting purposes. If you are a withholding agent making a payment of U.S. source fixed or determinable, annual or periodical (FDAP) income, you should continue to fulfill your chapter 3 reporting and withholding obligations (as required) using these forms in addition to using these forms to satisfy any withholding or reporting obligations you may have under chapter 4. These updated forms replace prior versions of Forms W-8.

Purpose of Instructions

These instructions supplement the instructions for the following forms and provide, for each form, notes to assist withholding agents and FFIs in validating the forms for chapter 3 and 4 purposes in addition to outlining the due diligence requirements applicable to withholding agents for establishing a beneficial owner’s foreign status and claim for reduced withholding under an income tax treaty. These notes for chapters 3 and 4 are not inclusive of all requirements that may apply to a withholding agent for validating Forms W-8. A withholding agent should also reference the instructions for each Form W-8 and applicable regulations under chapter 3 and chapter 4 describing the requirements for withholding certificates.

  • Form W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Individuals).

  • Form W-BEN-E, Certificate of Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Entities).

  • Form W-8ECI, Certificate of Foreign Person's Claim That Income Is Effectively Connected With the Conduct of a Trade or Business in the United States.

  • Form W-8EXP, Certificate of Foreign Government or Other Foreign Organization for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting.

  • Form W-8IMY, Certificate of Foreign Intermediary, Foreign Flow-Through Entity, or Certain U.S. Branches for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting.

For general information and the purpose of each of the forms described in these instructions, see those forms and their accompanying instructions. For definitions of terms used and not defined in these instructions, see the Forms W-8 and their accompanying instructions for definitions that also apply for purposes of these instructions.

Throughout these instructions, a reference to or mention of “Form W-8” includes Forms W-8BEN, W-8BEN-E, W-8ECI, W-8EXP, and W-8IMY.


More Online Instructions