Specific Instructions

Part I

Line 1.   Enter your name. If you are a foreign individual who is the single owner of a disregarded entity that is not claiming treaty benefits as a hybrid entity, with respect to a payment, you should complete this form with your name and information. If the account to which a payment is made or credited is in the name of the disregarded entity, you should inform the withholding agent of this fact. This may be done by including the name and account number of the disregarded entity on line 7 (reference number) of the form. However, if the disregarded entity is claiming treaty benefits as a hybrid entity, it should complete Form W-8BEN-E instead of this Form W-8BEN.

Line 2.   Enter your country of citizenship. If you are a dual citizen, enter the country where you are both a citizen and a resident at the time you complete this form. If you are not a resident in any country in which you have citizenship, enter the country where you were most recently a resident. However, if you are a United States citizen, you should not complete this form even if you hold citizenship in another jurisdiction. Instead, provide Form W-9.

Line 3.   Your permanent residence address is the address in the country where you claim to be a resident for purposes of that country’s income tax. If you are completing Form W-8BEN to claim a reduced rate of withholding under an income tax treaty, you must determine your residency in the manner required by the treaty. Do not show the address of a financial institution, a post office box, or an address used solely for mailing purposes. If you do not have a tax residence in any country, your permanent residence is where you normally reside.

  If you reside in a country that does not use street addresses, you may enter a descriptive address on line 3. The address must accurately indicate your permanent residence in the manner used in your jurisdiction.

Line 4.   Enter your mailing address only if it is different from the address you show on line 3.

Line 5.   If you have a social security number (SSN), enter it here. To apply for an SSN, get Form SS-5 from a Social Security Administration (SSA) office or online at www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ss-5.html. If you are in the United States, you can call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213. Complete Form SS-5 and return it to the SSA.

  If you do not have an SSN and are not eligible to get one, you can get an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). To apply for an ITIN, file Form W-7 with the IRS. It usually takes 4-6 weeks to get an ITIN. To claim certain treaty benefits, you must complete line 5 by submitting an SSN or ITIN, or line 6 by providing a foreign tax identification number (foreign TIN).

  
An ITIN is for tax use only. It does not entitle you to social security benefits or change your employment or immigration status under U.S. law.

  A partner in a partnership conducting a trade or business in the United States will likely be allocated effectively connected taxable income. The partner is required to file a U.S. federal income tax return and must have a U.S. taxpayer identification number (TIN).

  You must provide an SSN or TIN if you are:
  • Claiming an exemption from withholding under section 871(f) for certain annuities received under qualified plans, or

  • Submitting the form to a partnership that conducts a trade or business in the United States.

  If you are claiming treaty benefits, you are generally required to provide an ITIN if you do not provide a tax identifying number issued to you by your jurisdiction of tax residence on line 6. However, an ITIN is not required to claim treaty benefits relating to:
  • Dividends and interest from stocks and debt obligations that are actively traded;

  • Dividends from any redeemable security issued by an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (mutual fund);

  • Dividends, interest, or royalties from units of beneficial interest in a unit investment trust that are (or were upon issuance) publicly offered and are registered with the SEC under the Securities Act of 1933; and

  • Income related to loans of any of the above securities.

Line 6.   If you are providing this Form W-8BEN to document yourself with respect to a financial account that you hold at a U.S. office of a financial institution, provide the tax identifying number (TIN) issued to you by your jurisdiction of tax residence unless:
  • You have not been issued a TIN, or

  • The jurisdiction does not issue TINs.

  If you have not provided your jurisdiction of residence TIN on line 6, provide your date of birth in line 8.

Line 7.   This line may be used by the filer of Form W-8BEN or by the withholding agent to whom it is provided to include any referencing information that is useful to the withholding agent in carrying out its obligations. For example, withholding agents who are required to associate the Form W-8BEN with a particular Form W-8IMY may want to use line 7 for a referencing number or code that will make the association clear. A beneficial owner can use line 7 to include the number of the account for which he or she is providing the form. A foreign single owner of a disregarded entity can use line 7 to inform the withholding agent that the account to which a payment is made or credited is in the name of the disregarded entity (see instructions for line 1).

Line 8.   If you are providing this Form W-8BEN to document yourself with respect to a financial account that you hold with a U.S. office of a financial institution, provide your date of birth. Use the following format to input your information MM-DD-YYYY. For example, if you were born on April 15, 1956, you would enter 04-15-1956.

Part II

Line 9.   If you are claiming treaty benefits as a resident of a foreign country with which the United States has an income tax treaty for payments subject to withholding under chapter 3, identify the country where you claim to be a resident for income tax treaty purposes. For treaty purposes, a person is a resident of a treaty country if the person is a resident of that country under the terms of the treaty. A list of U.S. tax treaties is available at http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/Tax-Treaties.

  
If you are related to the withholding agent within the meaning of section 267(b) or 707(b) and the aggregate amount subject to withholding received during the calendar year exceeds $500,000, then you are generally required to file Form 8833, Treaty-Based Return Position Disclosure Under Section 6114 or 7701(b). See the Instructions for Form 8833 for more information on the filing requirements.

Line 10.   Line 10 must be used only if you are claiming treaty benefits that require that you meet conditions not covered by the representations you make on line 9 and Part III. For example, persons claiming treaty benefits on royalties must complete this line if the treaty contains different withholding rates for different types of royalties. However, this line should always be completed by foreign students and researchers claiming treaty benefits. See Scholarship and fellowship grants, later, for more information.

  This line is generally not applicable to treaty benefits under an interest or dividends (other than dividends subject to a preferential rate based on ownership) article of a treaty.

Nonresident alien who becomes a resident alien.   Generally, only a nonresident alien individual can use the terms of a tax treaty to reduce or eliminate U.S. tax on certain types of income. However, most tax treaties contain a provision known as a “saving clause” which preserves or “saves” the right of each country to tax its own residents as if no tax treaty existed. Exceptions specified in the saving clause may permit an exemption from tax to continue for certain types of income even after the recipient has otherwise become a U.S. resident alien for tax purposes. The individual must use Form W-9 to claim the tax treaty benefit. See the instructions for Form W-9 for more information. Also see Nonresident alien student or researcher who becomes a resident alien, later, for an example.

Scholarship and fellowship grants.   A nonresident alien student (including a trainee or business apprentice) or researcher who receives noncompensatory scholarship or fellowship income can use Form W-8BEN to claim benefits under a tax treaty that apply to reduce or eliminate U.S. tax on such income. No Form W-8BEN is required unless a treaty benefit is being claimed. A nonresident alien student or researcher who receives compensatory scholarship or fellowship income must use Form 8233, instead of Form W-8BEN, to claim any benefits of a tax treaty that apply to that income. The student or researcher must use Form W-4 for any part of such income for which he or she is not claiming a tax treaty withholding exemption. Do not use Form W-8BEN for compensatory scholarship or fellowship income. See Compensation for Dependent Personal Services in the Instructions for Form 8233.

If you are a nonresident alien individual who received noncompensatory scholarship or fellowship income and personal services income (including compensatory scholarship or fellowship income) from the same withholding agent, you may use Form 8233 to claim a tax treaty withholding exemption for part or all of both types of income.

Completing lines 3 and 9.

Most tax treaties that contain an article exempting scholarship or fellowship grant income from taxation require that the recipient be a resident of the other treaty country at the time of, or immediately prior to, entry into the United States. Thus, a student or researcher may claim the exemption even if he or she no longer has a permanent address in the other treaty country after entry into the United States. If this is the case, you can provide a U.S. address on line 3 and still be eligible for the exemption if all other conditions required by the tax treaty are met. You must also identify on line 9 the tax treaty country of which you were a resident at the time of, or immediately prior to, your entry into the United States.

Completing line 10.

You must complete line 10 if you are a student or researcher claiming an exemption from taxation on your noncompensatory scholarship or fellowship grant income under a tax treaty.

Nonresident alien student or researcher who becomes a resident alien.

You must use Form W-9 to claim an exception to a saving clause. See Nonresident alien who becomes a resident alien, earlier, for a general explanation of saving clauses and exceptions to them.

Example.

Article 20 of the U.S.-China income tax treaty allows an exemption from tax for scholarship income received by a Chinese student temporarily present in the United States. Under U.S. law, this student will become a resident alien for tax purposes if his or her stay in the United States exceeds 5 calendar years. However, paragraph 2 of the first protocol to the U.S.-China treaty (dated April 30, 1984) allows the provisions of Article 20 to continue to apply even after the Chinese student becomes a resident alien of the United States. A Chinese student who qualifies for this exception (under paragraph 2 of the first protocol) and is relying on this exception to claim an exemption from tax on his or her scholarship or fellowship income would complete Form W-9.

Part III

Form W-8BEN must be signed and dated by the beneficial owner of the amount subject to withholding or the account holder of an FFI (or an agent with legal authority to act on the person’s behalf). If Form W-8BEN is completed by an agent acting under a duly authorized power of attorney for the beneficial owner or account holder, the form must be accompanied by the power of attorney in proper form or a copy thereof specifically authorizing the agent to represent the principal in making, executing, and presenting the form. Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, can be used for this purpose. The agent, as well as the beneficial owner or account holder, may incur liability for the penalties provided for an erroneous, false, or fraudulent form.

If any information on Form W-8BEN becomes incorrect, you must submit a new form within 30 days unless you are no longer an account holder of the requester that is an FFI and you will not receive a future payment with respect to the account.

Broker transactions or barter exchanges.   Income from transactions with a broker or a barter exchange is subject to reporting rules and backup withholding unless Form W-8BEN or a substitute form is filed to notify the broker or barter exchange that you are an exempt foreign person.

  You are an exempt foreign person for a calendar year in which:
  • You are a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation, partnership, estate, or trust;

  • You are an individual who has not been, and does not plan to be, present in the United States for a total of 183 days or more during the calendar year; and

  • You are neither engaged, nor plan to be engaged during the year, in a U.S. trade or business that has effectively connected gains from transactions with a broker or barter exchange.


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