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Forms for Foreign Beneficial Owners

If all the appropriate requirements have been established on a Form W-8BEN, W-8ECI, W-8EXP or, if applicable, on documentary evidence, the Withholding Agent may treat the payee as a foreign beneficial owner.

W-8BEN

Form W-8BEN Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding, is used by a foreign individual to:

  • Establish foreign status,
  • Claim that such individual is the beneficial owner of the income for which the form is being furnished, or a partner in a partnership subject to section 1446 withholding,
  • If applicable, claim a reduced rate of, or exemption from, withholding under an income tax treaty, and
  • Provide a foreign TIN or date of birth when the beneficial owner holds an account at a U.S. office of a financial institution.

W-8BEN-E

Form W-8BEN-E, Certificate of Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Entities), is used by a foreign entity to:

  • Establish foreign status,
  • Establish an entity's chapter 4 status to the extent required for chapter 4 purposes,
  • Claim that such entity is the beneficial owner of the income for which the form is being furnished or a partner in a partnership subject to section 1446 withholding, and
  • If applicable, claim a reduced rate of, or exemption from, chapter 3 withholding under an income tax treaty.

Refer to Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities for more information.

In addition to the documentary evidence, a foreign beneficial owner that is an entity must provide a statement that it derives the income for which it claims treaty benefits and that it meets one or more of the conditions set forth in a limitation on benefits article, if any, (or similar provision) contained in the applicable treaty.

Form W-8ECI

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, is used by a foreign person to:

  • Establish foreign status,
  • Claim that such person is the beneficial owner of the income for which the form is being furnished, and
  • Claim that the income is effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States. (Refer to Effectively Connected Income)

Form W-8EXP

Form W-8EXP, Certificate of Foreign Government or Other Foreign Organization for United States Tax Withholding is used by a foreign government, international organization, foreign central bank of issue, foreign tax-exempt organization, foreign private foundation, or government of a U.S. possession to:

  • Establish foreign status,
  • Establish the entity's chapter 4 status to the extent required for chapter 4 purposes,
  • Claim that such person is the beneficial owner of the income for which the form is being furnished, and
  • Claim an exemption from withholding under both chapter 3 and chapter 4 for such entity or that the entity is a foreign private foundation subject to the 4% tax.

Documentary Evidence

You may apply a reduced rate of withholding to income from "marketable securities" paid outside the United States to an offshore account if the beneficial owner gives you documentary evidence in place of a Form W-8BEN. 

Refer to Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities for more information on these forms and documentary evidence.

References/Related Topics

Note: This page contains one or more references to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), Treasury Regulations, court cases, or other official tax guidance. References to these legal authorities are included for the convenience of those who would like to read the technical reference material. To access the applicable IRC sections, Treasury Regulations, or other official tax guidance, visit the Tax Code, Regulations, and Official Guidance page. To access any Tax Court case opinions issued after September 24, 1995, visit the Opinions Search page of the United States Tax Court.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 20-Oct-2016