Instructions for 
Form W-8BEN - Introductory Material


Table of Contents

Future Developments

For the latest information about developments related to Form W-8BEN and its instructions, such as legislation enacted after they were published, go to www.irs.gov/formw8ben.

What's New

FATCA.   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 (chapter 4) to the Code, consisting of sections 1471 through 1474 of the Code and commonly referred to as “FATCA” or “chapter 4”. Under chapter 4, participating foreign financial institutions (FFIs) and certain registered-deemed compliant FFIs are generally required to identify their U.S. account holders, regardless of whether a payment subject to withholding is made to the account. The IRS has published regulations that provide due diligence, withholding, and reporting rules for both U.S. withholding agents and FFIs under chapter 4.

  This form, along with Form W-8ECI, W-8EXP, and W-8IMY, has been updated to reflect the documentation requirements of chapter 4. In particular, this Form W-8BEN is now used exclusively by individuals. Entities documenting their foreign status, chapter 4 status, or making a claim of treaty benefits (if applicable) should use Form W-8BEN-E.

  Individual account holders (both U.S. and foreign) that do not document their status may be deemed recalcitrant and, in some cases, subject to 30% withholding on certain payments. Foreign individuals can avoid being classified as recalcitrant account holders by using Form W-8BEN to document their foreign status.

  Foreign individuals should use Form W-8BEN to document their foreign status and claim any applicable treaty benefits for chapter 3 purposes (including a foreign individual that is the single member of an entity that is disregarded for U.S. tax purposes). See the instructions to Form W-8BEN-E concerning claims for treaty benefits and chapter 4 certifications in the case of a hybrid entity.

Reportable payment card transactions.   Section 6050W was added by section 3091 of the Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008 and requires information returns to be made by certain payers with respect to payments made to participating payees in settlement of payment card transactions and third party payment network transactions. Information returns are not required with respect to payments made to payees that are foreign persons, however.

  A payer of a reportable payment may treat a payee as foreign if the payer receives an applicable Form W-8 from the payee. Provide this Form W-8BEN to the requestor if you are a foreign individual that is a participating payee receiving payments in settlement of payment card transactions that are not effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business of the payee.

More information.   For more information on FATCA, go to www.irs.gov/fatca.


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