W-8 Form Descriptions
W-8BEN: Individuals only, most common form for individuals
This form is used to claim foreign status and can also be used to claim treaty benefits for royalty/passive income or scholarships/fellowships only.
- Individuals not eligible for the other W8 forms should use the W-8BEN.
- A birthdate is required on the W-8BEN form.
- A U.S. Tax identification number is not required unless treaty benefits are requested.
- Sole proprietorships - Line 1 is their name and their business name is entered on line 7 of the form.
- Part II Treaty Benefits are only available for royalty or scholarships/fellowships benefits.
- Part II, lines 9 and 10 are not required unless treaty benefits are requested.
- Treaty Benefit requests for an exemption from tax withholding do require a U.S. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or a U.S. Social Security Number.
- Not all countries have a tax treaty with the U.S., and not all tax treaties contain a tax exemption for student scholarships/fellowships.
Used primarily by entities to claim foreign status and and also to claim treaty benefits.
- Entities not eligible for the other W8 forms should use the W-8BEN-E.
- A foreign entity from a country that has negotiated a tax treaty with the U.S. that has an article contained that exempts the type of income they are providing, will need to complete a W-8BEN-E to claim treaty benefits.
- A Foreign or a U.S. tax identification number is required for exemption from tax withholding.
- All fields in line 14-15 must be completed to claim treaty benefits exemption.
Used primarily by the payee or beneficial owner that all the income that is listed on the form is effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business located within the United States.
- The type of income must be identified on Line 9 of the form to qualify for exemption. If it is not listed we are required to obtain from the entity a different type of W8 form.
- A U.S. tax identification number is required for exemption from tax withholding.
Used by the following entities to claim exemption from tax withholding, foreign governments, foreign tax-exempt organization, foreign private foundation, govt. of a U.S. possession, or foreign central bank of issue.
- The entity must be claiming exemption under IRS code 115(2), 501 (c), 892, 895 or 1443(b). Otherwise they need to file a W-8BEN or W-8ECI.
Used by an intermediary, a withholding foreign partnership, a withholding foreign trust, or flow through entity.
- Copies of appropriate withholding certificates, documentary evidence, and withholding statements must be attached to the W-8IMY as well.