How to Fill out a W-8

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How to Fill out a W-8. A W-8 form is the "Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding" IRS form for non-US residents who have earned money while working in the United States. It allows the company that paid them not to report the money to the US tax office. The W-8 form is divided into four parts. The W-8 provides the foreigner with a tax exemption from certain withholdings.

Enter in part one, Identification of Beneficial Owner, your full name (beneficial owner), country, type of beneficial owner and your mailing address which should also be your permanent residence address.

Fill in the necessary parts in Part II: Claim of Tax Treaty Benefits. You'll likely need to check off 9a in this section which says that "The beneficial owner is a resident of ...." Fill in the name of your country in the black field.

Enter the required information into Part III: Notional Principal Contracts. All that's required here is a check that acknowledges that you have provided or will provide "a statement that identifies those notional principal contacts..." When you tick this box, you are also agreeing to update this statement if required.

Know that the final part, Part IV: Certification, simply requires that you read numbers one to four. You just need to sign and date the document.

Tips & Warnings

  • The purpose of filling out the W-8 is so your employer will tax you at the lower rate. If you don't file the form, then your employer may pay you, but tax you at the higher rate. Basically, you take responsibility for your taxes, which is similar to a person who files a W-9 but who resides in the US.
  • Make sure you print all information except for your signature. Use a ball-point pen and not a marker, pencil or other writing device.

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