Instructions for Form 8802 - Introductory Material

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3-year procedure.   Estates, employee benefit plans/trusts, and exempt organizations can submit a Form 8802 that covers a 3-year period. See Certification Under the 3-Year Procedure, later.

U.S. Residency Certification

Income Tax Treaty

Many foreign countries withhold tax on certain types of income paid from sources within those countries to residents of other countries. The rate of withholding is set by that country's internal law. An income tax treaty between the United States and a foreign country often reduces the withholding rates (sometimes to zero) for certain types of income paid to residents of the United States. This reduced rate is referred to as the treaty-reduced rate. For more information on reduced rates, see Tax Treaty Tables in Pub. 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities.

Many U.S. treaty partners require the IRS to certify that the person claiming treaty benefits is a resident of the United States for federal tax purposes. The IRS provides this residency certification on Form 6166, a letter of U.S. residency certification. Form 6166 is a computer-generated letter printed on stationary bearing the U.S. Department of Treasury letterhead, and the facsimile signature of the Field Director, Philadelphia Accounts Management Center.

Form 6166 will only certify that, for the certification year (the period for which certification is requested), you were a resident of the United States for purposes of U.S. taxation, or in the case of a fiscally transparent entity, that the entity, when required, filed an information return and its partners/members/owners/beneficiaries filed income tax returns as residents of the United States.

Upon receiving Form 6166 from the IRS, unless otherwise directed, you should send Form 6166 to the foreign withholding agent or other appropriate person in the foreign country to claim treaty benefits. Some foreign countries will withhold at the treaty-reduced rate at the time of payment, and other foreign countries will initially withhold tax at their statutory rate and will refund the amount that is more than the treaty-reduced rate on receiving proof of U.S. residency.

Other conditions for claiming treaty benefits.   In order to claim a benefit under a tax treaty, there are other requirements in addition to residence. These include the requirement that the person claiming a treaty-reduced rate of withholding be the beneficial owner of the item of income and meet the limitation on benefits article of the treaty, if applicable.

  The IRS cannot certify whether you are the beneficial owner of an item of income or that you meet the limitation on benefits article, if any, in the treaty. You may, however, be required by a foreign withholding agent to establish directly with the agent that these requirements have been met.

You should examine the specific income tax treaty to determine if any tax credit, tax exemption, reduced rate of tax, or other treaty benefit or safeguards apply.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Form 6166 may also be used as proof of U.S. tax residency status for purposes of obtaining an exemption from a VAT imposed by a foreign country. In connection with a VAT request, the United States can certify only to certain matters in relation to your U.S. federal income tax status, and not that you meet any other requirements for a VAT exemption in a foreign country.

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