How to fill up the W-8BEN form

By | June 17, 2007

If you’re a non US citizen applying to join Commission Junction or many other US based companies’ affiliate programs, you will be required to fill up the W-8BEN form and mail or fax the form over.

So first things first, you can download the W-8BEN form at the IRS website here.

For non US citizens, there are just a few fields you need to fill, namely for :

1) Your name in full

2) Your country

3) Type of owner – if you’re an individual than tick “individual”

4) Your address

9) Tick the box [a] for “The beneficial owner is a resident of….” and input your country’s name in the empty field. Ignore the rest (b-e), as in all likelihood you and your country has no tax treaty with the United States.

11) Tick the box for –“I have provided or will provide a statement that identifies those notational principal contracts…”

Sign at the bottom and input the date (month-day-year format).

Here is a bigger picture of the form and the areas to fill; if you need to view how it is done.


To be fair, this form is really only meant for individuals with earnings that are “sourced from the US” but since many US companies still ask for it, if you were asked to provide this form, consider it red tape that needs to be done.

Most individuals who conduct small business on the Web are not classified as earning from revenue sourced in the US, since they are likely to be renting a US based webhost to run their websites, and not owning a webhosting business there. Which is why Google themselves do not have this requirement for non US folks and they explain it more over here. To quote them:

Non U.S. Business (No U.S. Activities )

United States (U.S.) Activities involve having employees or owning equipment in the U.S. that are involved in any way with revenue earned through the AdSense program. This includes, but is not limited to, owning a web server or owning a hosting service in the U.S., or having employees in the U.S. who are involved in either:

1. setting up a web server, hosting service, or website
2. developing content for your website
3. marketing to create a user base for your site
4. telephone support for your site
5. buying products for your site
6. maintaining your site

Generally, utilizing an unrelated third-party U.S. web hosting service to host your web pages, renting web servers that are located in the U.S. from an unrelated third party, or having your payment sent to a U.S. Post Office Box or mail forwarding address, do not of themselves constitute U.S. Activities.

If you do not have U.S. Activities, please visit the Tax Information page under your My Account tab where you will agree to a statement to that effect. No tax forms are required in this instance.”

In all likelihood, if you’re not a US citizen, you will encounter many instances where you would be asked to submit this form, so it’s best to just fill the form up, and post it off.

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213 thoughts on “How to fill up the W-8BEN form

  1. Prathamesh

    we are filling form since we are deemed to receive in future income from our client from US. Who indeed needs W-8BEN form filled by us.

    We are propritorship firm, please advise which type of beneficial owner (Parrt I (3)) should be ticked?

    Appreciate your swift assistance with this regards,

    Thanks & warm regards,

  2. DarrinW Post author

    Hi Prathamesh,
    Please tick the Corporation box and state your country where you registered the company on the right-hand side.

  3. mike

    I am Germany citizen .
    My previous w-8ben I fill my address in Germany and check section 9a : and write Germany as my contry of tax treaty.
    Now I chance my address to Philippines (I am still Germany citizen) so I need to fill new w-8ben , I write my Philippines address on part 1 section 4.
    My quition is what shall I do in 9a? leave it uncheck?

  4. marina

    I work as a model videochat,from Moldova,to receive payments,must complete and sign a form W-8 must complete and Section 7,”Foreign tax identifying number, if any (optional)”what number is me please.

  5. DarrinW Post author

    @ Mike,

    For 9a, just leave it as Germany, since you are not a resident of the Philippines.

  6. DarrinW Post author

    @ Marina,
    You can leave out “Foreign tax identifying number”, since this is only for individuals whom the IRS has already issued an International Tax Identification Number to, and I don’t think you have any :)

  7. Hilkka

    I rented a flat in the US as I come here regularly on business on ESTA (the visa waiver program). I work for a non-profit charity in my home country and it’s cheaper to rent than to stay in a hotel. The management company of the rental building deposited the security deposit on a bank account which holds my name. Now, the bank/IRS is asking for a “Reason for U.S. Address”. I W-Ben8 I stated that my permanent address is in my native Finland, but the address of the flat I rent is now there somewhere in the system. What should I fill in in the form “Reason for U.S. Address” to get them off my back? Grateful.

  8. DarrinW Post author

    @ Hilkka

    I am not sure, but why don’t you just put the reason as “Personal Rental”?

  9. Domenica

    I am Domenica and I am Italian.
    I moved in US in 2008 with an F1 visa (visa student). The same year I got my SSN and I opened a checking/saving account with BofA. At that time I wrote my Italian address as permanent and the US as temporary. In April 2012 I moved to another state for work (now I am a H1B visa). A couple of weeks ago, the bank send me the W-8BEN form to fill but I am sure if I am still a non-resident because I pay the tax in US, I have a SSN and EIN. Am I supposed to fill the W-8BEN or the W-9 or any other form?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Best regards

  10. VIKO

    YOU are my last hope, I have a situation: I have recently receive my Delaware LLC papers with an EIN# I am non US Citizen, I won´t have US employees,the Delaware LLC has no sales taxes my business intention is buying from wholesallers and have them ship to Mexico by either droppshipers or carriers, I need a sellers permit so the wholesallers can sell to me and also to be tax excempt,since I am not US citizen I don´t have a SSN and I can not get a sellers permit. I am going to the US to open a bank account and give the bank the W-88EN form. Do I have to issue the W-88BEN form to each supplier so they can not charge the taxes? or should I paid the taxes and then I can get those back from the bank? do I have to fill the EIN# in the form? please help. thanks!

  11. DarrinW Post author

    @ Viko

    I think the form you mean is W-8BEN? I *think* you will have to give your suppliers the W-8BEN forms, because the banks are likely not going to give you back any taxes you paid beforehand. You need to fill up your EIN# in the W-8BEN form, as well.

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