Instructions for Filling Out Form W-8BEN-E

Instructions for Filling Out Form W-8BEN-E

Written by 
Pilot Team
October 12, 2023
Instructions for Filling Out Form W-8BEN-E

This document offers a comprehensive guide for foreign entities on completing Form W-8BEN-E, which is used to certify their status as the beneficial owner of income for U.S. tax withholding and reporting purposes. The guide covers definitions, the purpose of the form, who must provide it, and detailed instructions for each part of the form, addressing special situations and compliance with tax treaties and FATCA requirements.

In this article, we'll provide information on Form W-8BEN-E and a step-by-step guide on how to fill it out.

What is Form W-8BEN-E?

Form W-8BEN-E is a document used by foreign entities to certify their status as the beneficial owner of income for U.S. tax withholding and reporting purposes. It ensures compliance with chapters 3 and 4 of the Internal Revenue Code and allows entities to claim benefits under income tax treaties, if applicable. The form is specifically for entities, not individuals, and includes certifications related to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) regulations. Entities must provide detailed information about their country of tax residence, FATCA status, and any tax treaty benefits they are claiming. Additionally, they must update and resubmit the form within 30 days if there is a change in circumstances affecting its correctness.

Who Must File Form W-8BEN-E?

Form W-8BEN-E must be filed by foreign entities that receive a withholdable payment from a withholding agent, receive a payment subject to chapter 3 withholding, or maintain an account with a foreign financial institution (FFI) requesting the form. Entities that should not use Form W-8BEN-E include foreign insurance companies with a section 953(d) election, nonresident alien individuals, disregarded entities, branches or flow-through entities for U.S. tax purposes, intermediaries, entities receiving income effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business, and entities filing for foreign governments, international organizations, foreign central banks of issue, foreign tax-exempt organizations, foreign private foundations, or governments of U.S. possessions. These entities may need to provide other forms as specified in the instructions.

Form W-8BEN-E Tax Filing Deadlines and Due Dates

  • Form W-8BEN-E does not have a specific due date like a tax return but must be provided by foreign entities to withholding agents or financial institutions when requested, before income is paid or credited to them.
  • The form remains valid for a period starting on the date it is signed and ending on the last day of the third succeeding calendar year, unless a change in circumstances makes any information on the form incorrect.

Form W-8BEN-E Late Payment Penalty

Form W-8BEN-E does not have a late payment penalty associated with it, as it is primarily used for documentation purposes to establish the status of a beneficial owner or an entity for U.S. tax withholding and reporting. The form is not used for the submission of payments or tax returns, where late payment penalties would typically apply.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Form W-8BEN-E

Step by step instructions for filling out Form W-8BEN-E:

  1. Part I – Identification of Beneficial Owner: Provide the legal name of the entity, country of incorporation or organization, type of entity, and chapter 4 status.
  2. Part II – Disregarded Entity or Branch Receiving Payment: Complete this part if applicable, providing details about the disregarded entity or branch.
  3. Part III – Claim of Tax Treaty Benefits: If claiming tax treaty benefits, indicate the treaty country, affirm the beneficial owner's status, and provide any required additional information specific to the treaty being claimed.
  4. Parts IV through XXVIII – Certification of Chapter 4 Status: Depending on the entity's chapter 4 status, complete the relevant part to certify the entity's status under FATCA.
  5. Part XXIX – Substantial U.S. Owners of Passive NFFE: If the entity is a passive NFFE, disclose substantial U.S. owners or certify that there are none.
  6. Part XXX – Certification: The form must be signed and dated by an authorized representative or officer of the entity.

How to Submit Form W-8BEN-E

To submit Form W-8BEN-E, complete all relevant sections of the form, ensuring the information provided is accurate and complete. Once the form is signed and dated by an authorized representative or officer of the entity, submit it to the withholding agent or financial institution maintaining the account. Remember to notify them within 30 days of any changes in circumstances that make the information on the form incorrect, and retain a copy of the form and any accompanying documentation for your records.

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