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.

w8-sample.jpg

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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