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. gajeebo

    I suppose the best of the answers.. though he missed to inform about entering your CJ Reference No 🙂

  2. DarrinW

    Thanks for that tip. Actually, it’s meant to be general and not just for CJ, but yeah, if you’re filling for CJ, you’d need to input your CJ account number under Part 1 and point 8] Reference Number.

  3. Tricia

    Thanks for the help.My broker has sent me the form with no instructions and I would have given up had it not been for your blog.

  4. Panwar

    I am an individual from pakistan and earning only $100 from cpx interactive and also i dont have any tax id here, will anyone plz tell me are the given steps by you are ok or i have to fullfill some other fields also ?

    One more thing is should we have to type the whole form at computer or we can fill form by handwritten ?

  5. DarrinW Post author


    You just need to follow these steps, but take note of Part 1 and point [8] Reference Number….if CPX interactive gives you an account number, you might have to fill in that field with it. Also, you can certainly fill the W-8BEN form by handwriting. Just make sure you write clearly and in capital letters to avoid any confusion.

  6. harshil

    hi,I am an individual from India.I have opened a checking account in united states just for visiting purpose as I am a visitor to united states.The bank has asked me to fill this form.Do I have to fill this form the same way you have mentioned above or have to make any changes? I have no source of income in US.

  7. DarrinW Post author

    Hi harshil

    You just have to fill the form like that and it will be ok, at least for 90% of cases. If you are just an individual and have no business interests within the United States, than that’s how you should fill it up.


  8. kenneth

    Dear Sir,
    My Organization is a Tax Exempt Organization in Australia and we are into CPA marketing,pls confirm to us if we need to fill all Form W-8 or do we only fill the Part 1 and Part 4 ?
    I will appreciate your kind respond on the above.


  9. DarrinW Post author

    @ Kenneth

    You just need to fill the form as the example I gave…and that means all the necessary sections in Part 1,2,3, and 4.

  10. Tony

    Very nice information. I’ve recently had to fill this form out and in hindsight, having some sort of guide like this would of made the experience much less intimidating.

  11. muazam

    hello i am from pakistan etrade is a stock brokrage company

    its also asked for W8BEN form to fill up so should i fill it

    up with tht method showing in the picture at the top ?

    plz answer and also this website is very help full for everyone

  12. DarrinW Post author

    Hi muazam,

    Just fill it up like my example. Etrade/CJ/all other companies should then accept your form. That is how I fill it up – No problems. Good luck.

  13. Kumud

    Hi I am from Nepal currently residing in Singapore. I was in US and I have bank account there including Social Security Number (SSN). Now, I am planning to invest in US shares through online broker. Do I need to fill this form? If yes, is the format provided enough?
    Also, since I have SSN, do I need to pay tax on income as US citizen?

    Will appreciate your kind response on above
    Thanks for such helpful website.

  14. William K

    Hi, thanks for helpful information.
    I am a non-us affiliate, beside acct ref no in sec 8, do I need to give my acct username?
    How to fill up the field “Capacity in which acting” on the last part.
    Thank you very much.

  15. DarrinW Post author

    @ William K,

    I don’t think there is any need to give your username in most cases, but this depends on the company you are dealing with. For example, Commission Junction gives each affiliate a user # and you just need to put this in.

    There is no need to fill in the “Capacity in acting” on the last part.

  16. Kyle S

    Hey, Thanks for helpful information, I’ve had the W-8BEN form for 2 weeks and did not know how to fill it in, But thnks to your info I can send it off now : )

  17. Kyle S

    P.S Hi again Will I need to send my passport with the form ? because BMI(Broadcast Music, Inc) is where I’m sending it to ? thanks

  18. DarrinW Post author

    @ Kyle
    Yes, sometimes some companies require you to provide a copy of your ID copy or passport. Check with BMI first.

  19. karen

    Hi I have been asked to fill in this form by I am a shop owner on that site and receive royalties for print on demand products that I design when sold. What is this form for? Will Zazzle withhold any royalty payments for tax purposes? Will the IRS want money from me?

  20. DarrinW Post author

    @ Karen
    This form is for non US citizens to exempt their earnings from the IRS, by certifying that they are non Americans. If you want to operate within Zazzle, I suppose you will need to submit the W-8BEN as they requested. Please contact Zazzle if you have any questions or issues.

  21. Karen

    Hi Darrin, Thanks for the reply. Your site is very clear and precise, quick to respond and very helpful. Will recommend it to others. Much appreciated.

  22. Fadi

    why do I need to tick item 11 ? what does it mean? I’m filling this form for Zecco online broker.

    Thank you for this website

  23. DarrinW Post author

    Item 11 is needed. It’s just to acknowledge you will provide a written statement that your NPC (Notional Principal Contract) income is not sourced from the US and therefore not eligible for taxation.

  24. Abrar


    Your efforts are really appreciable. Thanks for all the info. i have a question. I reside outside the Unites States, but i invest in the stock market via a broker in my country. Recently i received some dividends, for which i was charged tax, i suppose if i am n not residing in US i am exempted from the tax, isn’t it? Your blog helped me to understand that if i can fill the W-8BEN form i can reclaim the withheld amount, isn’t it? Do i need to fill in any other form as well?? What am i suppose to do with the form, should i post it to the company or should i handover the same to my broker to take care of the rest?

    Would appreciate your response.

  25. DarrinW Post author

    @ Abrar,

    If you are not a US citizen, you are exempted from tax, as what I know. But I’m not sure if you can reclaim the withheld amount from your dividends since it seems they were issued before you submitted your W-8BEN form. If your broker is handling your investments, do get in touch with him, and you may of course hand him your form for submission with the IRS. I’m sure your broker can clear some things up for you; I don’t have much experience with stock market procedures unfortunately. All the best.

  26. owen

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

    What is a notational principal contract ??

  27. muna

    hi i was just wondering whether i have to write the notional principal contract separately and if i do can you atleast give a sample one

  28. DarrinW Post author

    @ Muna

    Yes, you’d have to write it separately, but I think in 90% of cases, you won’t be requested for one. Sorry, but I don’t have a sample.

  29. Jordansheen

    Hello I am from Malaysia. Do I need to apply for ITIN for the w-8ben form?? Is it the must for the affiliate program?

  30. DarrinW Post author

    @ Jordansheen

    No, not as far as I know. You’re not paying any tax to the IRS.

  31. Bobby

    I was working in U.S. on H-1B visa until March, so I do have a SSN. My contract was terminated and now I was asked to fill in W-8BEN form in order to continue working for US-based company from my domestic country (remote work).
    Do I need to put there my SSN number. Will I have to pay taxes in US? How does it work?

  32. DarrinW Post author

    @ Bobby
    I’m not too sure if you have to pay any taxes. But I’ll ask a friend for you and get back to you if I have any answers.

  33. Bobby

    Hi again,
    It seemed that there was a mistake and I was just asked to fill in W-8ECI form. What’s the difference?

  34. DarrinW Post author

    @ Bobby

    W-8ECI is to certify that a foreign person’s income is from a trade/business within the US. If you’re not doing work in the US, I think you don’t need to submit this form at all, but don’t quote me on that. The bottom line is unless you ARE a US citizen or doing work WITHIN the US, you shouldn’t worry about paying tax to the IRS. Double check with your company, because there’s a lot of confusion out there.

  35. adsense riches

    I don’t usually reply to posts but I will in this case. Good Stuff – Nice Money Idea too:)

  36. Peter

    Hi DarrinW,

    Need some help. I’m from Singapore, holding some USA shares, and an USA broker contacted me to share off the shares. Great, after all the process, I’m now stuck at this tax revenue as was told that the agency selling me the shares did not register me initially and will not be permitted to sell. So this broker told me to fill up W-8Ben, do I fill up all the fields you mentioned? Anymore of others? Does it mean that after registering, I will not need to pay any taxes? It’s quite a big hassle. Please advise.

    Thanks & cheers….PC

  37. DarrinW Post author

    @ Peter,

    Yes, just fill all the fields mentioned. I believe you are exempt from taxes, unless Singapore has some kind of arrangement with the US. Nowadays, some websites give an online version of the form, so you just have to fill up the online version. It is much less of a hassle today, compared to a few years back.

  38. Crystal

    Hi, I am from Malaysia and wish to trade Futures & Option in Chicaco MEchantile Exchange (US). If in this case, do i need to fill up W-8ben Form?

  39. John

    Hi Darrin

    I’ve set myself up as a UK Limited Company – when I fill in the W8-BEN form do I check “International Organisation” or something else?
    Also, in Q.9, do I need to check a, c, & d because I’m not an individual anymore? Or is it still just a?

  40. John

    Hi again Darrin – one more question – do I need to fill in Q.10 if I’m an international organisation, and if so, how?

  41. John

    Sorry, me again Darrin – some electronic versions of the W8-BEN have a checkbox which says “I am exempt from backup witholding” – do I check this box?

  42. DarrinW Post author

    Hi John,

    Woah, I’ve only had experience with individuals, not organizations, so you kind of lost me there 🙂 But you can definitely check “International Organization.” For Q9, my guess would be a and c.

  43. DarrinW Post author

    Hi John,

    Yes, check the exempt from backup withholding box. On Q10, I’m quite sure you don’t have to fill that in. But then again, I’ve no idea what sort of organization your company is 😉

  44. John

    My company is a UK Limited Company, which is the equivalent of an LLC in the US. Any more thoughts?

  45. DarrinW Post author

    Hi John,

    I’ll ask a friend and if he knows anything more to add, I’ll let you know. Good luck.

  46. John

    Hi Darrin – well, I’ve found out how to fill it now for a UK Ltd Company – you need to get your EIN number and put that on Q6 and tick the EIN box; for Q1 put your company name; and tick a, b, & c for Q9; leave Q10 blank; sign & date the bottom and put “DIRECTOR” in the ‘Capacity in which Acting’ bit (assuming you’re the director of the company). The only thing I’m still slightly confused about is Q11 – do I tick or don’t I – I’ve had conflicting answers to that, but the majority of people say that you should tick it, so that’s what I’m going to do.

  47. John

    Oh, I forgot to mention you need to tick Corporation for Q3.

  48. DarrinW Post author


    Thanks so much for sharing! I was myself in the dark on how to fill it for companies 🙂

  49. Jennifer

    I run a small investment research business as an individual. I am based in Canada and one of my US clients has asked me to fill it. I think that Canada has some treaty with the US to rationalize tax. I would like to know:

    1. What to write on Box 7: Foreign tax identifying number, if any?
    For information, my small business is not registered. I do pay personal income tax.

    2. Box 8: reference number? couldn’t understand it.

    3. Box 9 (c,d,e): Couldn’t understand much. But feel, it is not applicable.

    4. Box 10: Would this be applicable in my case; if yes then what rate should I specify?

    5. Box 11: I think it is applicable for everyone who is filling?

    Appreciate the time in answering it.


  50. DarrinW Post author

    Hi Jennifer,

    Not sure about Canada’s treaty with the US, but to answer your Qs,
    1) Optional, you can ignore it
    2) Optional, this one is related to your account with the US firm you are dealing with
    3) Ignore
    4) Ignore
    5) Just tick the box
    IDK, but this is how I’ve filled it MANY times, like applying for a stockbroker account with a US bank. So I don’t think you will encounter any problems, as this works for UK people too; but then again, Canada may have specific treaty laws with the US (which I don’t have much of an idea, I admit) and may require a slight difference in how you fill it.

  51. Ramesh


    I recently opened a brokerage account with one company and i was asked to fill w8-ben form. I am not sure what this means. I was a student (Masters) graduated in 2008 and have been working since then on OPT(optional practical training), and i believe my current status is F1 and i can work in US till jan 2011. When I opened brokerage account, it showed my status as non resident alien… but i have been staying in US for more than 3 and half years.

    I am wondering if i am allowed to invest in US stocks and if yes , Please let me know if i have to fill this form (W8-ben).

    Your help is much appreciated.

  52. Mayur

    I have been sent this form in PDF format, but how should i tic the check box in PDF file?

  53. DarrinW Post author

    @ Ramesh,

    I assume you are not a US citizen. Yes, you can invest in US stocks, but as a non resident alien, I’m sure you will need to fill up the W8BEN.

  54. DarrinW Post author

    @ Mayur,

    You should take the copy to a printing shop if you don’t have a printer, print out the form, fill it accordingly, and mail it to the party that sent it to you.

  55. Ramesh

    ThankYou very much Darrin. Yes, I am not a US citizen and I was a student (International student), currently on OPT(optional practical training) and i believe my current visa status is F1.

  56. Trina

    Hi. I am a non-US citizen married to a US citizen and we recently opened a joint account.A few days ago we received a letter from the bank that we need to fill up W-8BEN form..I understand that my husband don’t need to use this form but the W9 instead…is that right?! But what about me? Any help will be appreciated.tnx

  57. DarrinW Post author

    Hi Trina, if you and your husband both jointly own a business in the US, this can be a little tricky. I think you just need to comply with the bank’s instructions and submit the W-8BEN form to them, just for yourself.

  58. Inder

    I am a buying agent based in India, working for a US retailer as an agent. I receive my commission directly from the US corporation, and have been asked to submit this W8 Ben Form. Pls. advise if this applies to me, as I am based in India and have no presence in the US of any form.

    Thanks a ton.

  59. DarrinW Post author

    Hi Inder,

    Yes, as a norm, most US companies will ask you to fill the W-8BEN form when you’re receiving any sort of payment from them regularly. Just fill up the form as advised. Good luck.

  60. krishna



  61. Inder

    Hi Darrin,

    Thanks for your prompt response. Does submitting the form mean that any taxes will be deducted from my payments or is it just a formalilty?

    Thanks a ton.


  62. DarrinW Post author

    Hi Inder,
    It’s more of a formality than anything else. No taxes will be deducted from your payments; except of course, taxation from your own country. Best.

  63. Inder

    Hi Darrin,

    Once again, thanks a ton for your valueable feedback. I truly appreciate it.


  64. Umesh Sharma

    Hi Darrin,

    very nice article and taking time to answer the questions. I was looking knowledge about this form for my sister. Very help.


  65. JB

    I’m little confusing on part 1 line 4. When you say “Your country” Do you mean the US or the country when I was born?

  66. DarrinW Post author

    Hi JB,

    It means the country which you are now currently the citizen of. Definitely not the USA, or else you would not be filling this form up. 🙂

  67. sahle


    Can i’ve the fax or mailing address where i should send the W-8BEN form? Appreciated.

  68. DarrinW Post author

    Sahle, normally your agent/merchant in the US would be the one who will send the W-8BEN form to the relevant authority, which is the state IRS dept.

    On the form is says Give this form to the witholding agent and Do not send to the IRS.

  69. Pradeep


    Dont we need to fill in Item 10 under Part-II (presumably with reference to the double taxation avoidance agreement) ?

  70. DarrinW Post author

    Hi Pradeep,
    In most cases, there is no need to bother with that part, unless your country has some specific tax treaty agreement with the US. I don’t know of any country with such treaties.

  71. akira32

    I am not U.S. citizen. Should I fill the reference number(s)? What is the reference number(s)?

  72. DarrinW Post author

    @ akira32 : No need to fill that up in many cases, unless you have something like an account number at Commission Junction, for example. It is not necessary though.

  73. ashrul

    Hi DarrinW,
    I’m a 3d artist from indonesia and earn monthly from one of 3dwebstore in the US. About a month ago the website requested me to upload this form. I had no idea about this form until i found ur article here. Right now i work & live in dubai, UAE. Then i confused what to fill in the partI point2 and partII point9a. Should I fill them Indonesia instead of UAE??
    Thanks in advance for the help.

  74. DarrinW Post author


    Just fill them with your own country – Indonesia. Just fill it like the example I gave. It works 🙂

  75. Dave

    Hi Darrin,

    Very nice article and taking time to answer all the questions.

    I am from Canada. I have a canadian corporation. I participate in a Affiliate program.
    Since I’ll be receiving my commissions from USA (Linkshare), I will submit the W-8BEN form.

    Do I also need to apply for a EIN ? (by submitting the SS-4 form)
    The EIM seems to be OPTIONAL ?

    Will I be legit even if I don’t ask and put a EIN in my W-8BEN form ?

    I would prefer have nothing to do with the IRS since I do all my business from Canada.

    Does my accountant in Canada will have to produce any documents or forms to the IRS ? (ex:1120-F form)

    Thank you very much for your help!

    Best regards,


  76. DarrinW Post author

    @ Dave

    I assume you are an individual in the Linkshare Affiliate program, and therefore you don’t need an EIN, unless you have employees. So just ignore that part. I believe Linkshare will handle the submission of the W8BEN to the IRS, so submit the form to Linkshare and you are done.

  77. Dave

    Hello Darrin,

    Thank you for your quick answer!
    I am glad to know that I can forget about the EIN.

    In fact, I have a corporation (Commissions from Linkshare are coming into my company as incomes, and I am the only owner of the company)
    I don’t have any employees.

    Hoping that it does’nt change anything ?

    Have a great day!



  78. ashrul

    Hi DarrinW,
    Thanks for the great answers. Your tips is real work!!
    great article!


  79. Vinai

    Hello Darrin,

    I would like to ask you about my case. My friend and I are an international student holding F-1 and J-1 US visa. We do not work or earn any money during staying here. Do we have to fill W-8BEN? The form was sent by mail yesterday and has my friend’s name on that. I am not sure that is because of the apartment which we currently rent. Besides, I remember we signed something like this form when we first completed the lease.

    Thank you so much. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

  80. Hugh78

    Hi, DarrinW. I googled your blog, I think you can help.
    I’m non-US, don’t live in the US, no companies, no employees, no equipment in the US,I’m totally an individual. I joined an affiliate 2 days ago (not google adsense), they request me to fill a W-8BEN form, below the form, there’s a checkbox “I am exempt from backup withholding”. I have a web site (a blog) and it is hosted on a US host, it’s a sharing hosting, and the affiliate market is the US. I emailed their support, they told me I should fill thw W-8BEN form. But they didn’t tell me whether I should check the “I am exempt from backup withholding” box. As a totally foreign individual, I think I should check the box, right?
    Please help!
    Thank you very much!!!

  81. DarrinW Post author

    @ Hugh78

    Just fill the form like the example I have given and there will no problem. The example applies especially for solo web affiliates.

  82. akira32

    I check the PartII 9a and send the W-8 form to Microsoft for Windows Phone. But they send a mail to me as below:

    the form is invalid as since you claimed a tax treaty between Taiwan and the U.S. (Part II), but no Tax ID was provided on line 6 (Part I).

    Please resend a corrected W8 form to the same address.

    What? Should I uncheck the PartII 9a and resend again?
    Or Should I get the SSN or ITIN or EIN?
    But how do I get the SSN or ITIN or EIN?

  83. Hugh78

    @ DarrinW
    Hi, DarrinW, I don’t know why my new comments don’t display. I’m now using a proxy to leave a comment to you, hope this works.
    I’ve finished my form, all I want to say to you is THANK YOU! Your article is helpful to everyone 🙂
    That’s all 🙂
    Best regards and Happy New Year 😀

  84. DarrinW Post author

    @ akira32

    Are you using the W-8BEN form? Why do you need to send the form for Windows Phone, in the first place? The W-8BEN is for people getting income in association with an American company and to certify they are not US citizens. But you might want to uncheck the Part II 9a if it is the problem, since it is being misunderstood here. Don’t worry about any SSN, ITIN, or EIN.

  85. AA

    Hi Darrin,

    I have a australia company and i will reiceive some payments from US company. ANd this US company has given me the formW8BEN.

    1. Should I apply for EIN?
    2. What is EIN?
    3. if i need to apply for EIN, where can I apply ir can you please give me the link?

    Your Blog is really helpful and i almost fill up the form except the above query

    Thanks heaps!!

  86. Sali

    I am an individual from Albania and I have a small deposit in a US Bank. I have filled W8-BEN, I didn’t check the part II (this way I completed before three years), but it’s sent me back with a mark to part II.
    As far as I’m informed Albania doesn’t have tax treaty with US, pls could you tell me how to proceed further?

  87. DarrinW Post author

    @ Sali
    I think you need to check the Part II 9.a. Follow as per my example (in the image form provided).

  88. Sali

    I have no doubt on your example, but in the case there is no income tax treaty between two countries, have I also to check Part II 9.a?
    In the part II 9.a is included ‘…. within the meaning of the income tax treaty between the US and that country.
    I’m also confused in the case of Akira from Taiwan that had checked part II.9.a and it is mailed back as invalid?

    Many thanks!

  89. DarrinW Post author

    @ Sali

    This form I have sent at least 5 times in the past and it is filled like my example. Never had a single problem.

  90. not u.s citizens

    would i be in any trouble filling this form W8BEN sense i been failing my taxes with an itin. i am here illegally so am a little sacred any help would be appreciated. thank you.

  91. angel

    hi, i m in u.s as a f1 visa.and i have not done any job yet.and i got the W-8BEN form from the, i have to just fill it and send it?and also should i have to give the social security no. or no?

    thank you

  92. DarrinW Post author

    Hi Angel, if you are a student with F1 visa, I think you should just fill the W8-BEN and send it. And yes, please give your social security number too.

  93. angel

    thank you so much Darrin for quick reply.
    your website is grate.i will recommend it to all my friends.
    thank you.

  94. Ganeshram


    I am on H4 visa and I got a scholarship from my university without applying for one. Now they want me to fill out this W8BEN Form. I am not very confident if I can accept scholarships being on H4. However, my university confirms me that I am eligible for scholarships. Can I fill out this form? Am I doing something illegal?

  95. DarrinW Post author

    @ Ganeshram
    H4 visa holders are indeed eligible to work, so I don’t think you are doing anything wrong by filling out the form.

  96. laura

    Dear sir,
    I’m a beneficiary of a trust. I live in Indonesia and The trust department sent me the W-8BEN form to fill.

    Which fields do I have to fill? is it only the fields that you’ve mentioned above?

    please advice,

  97. prasetio

    Hi, Darrin. I am an active hubpages member. This site invite me to test their ads new program and it need some requirements like filled out tax information. It said “something that’s required no matter what your citizenship or residency are”. I am from Indonesia.
    *What kind of Tax which suitable by this site? because it didn’t mentioned.
    *Is W8BEN Form kind of TAX do they require?
    *Is this form use email or FAX to apply to IRS?
    *My last question is what is the fax number to apply this form?

  98. DarrinW Post author

    @ Laura
    I think you just need to fill them like my example. Good luck.

  99. DarrinW Post author

    @ Prasetio
    I think you should get in touch with Hubpages and ask them to clarify.

  100. prasetio

    Thanks Darrin. But in hubpages site, they said that they don’t want to get involved any kind related with TAX and this is become my responsibility or I must consult with lawyer. Do you have any idea?

  101. DarrinW Post author

    @ Prasetio
    Sorry, I don’t know how it is done with Hubpages. I do not think you need to submit any tax forms because as far as I know Hubpages uses Adsense, and Adsense NEVER requires any kind of tax form submissions.

  102. katherine


    One of my customer located in USA ask us to fill up the W-8BEN form in order for us to receive the payment from them. Actually the payment paid to us is not our income , is just the amount we billed on behalf of other party. In this case i still need to fill up the W-8Ben ? is there any tax issue on this matter and amount going to receive will suject to tax ?


  103. DarrinW Post author

    @ Katherine
    I think it depends who is the other receiving party you mention and what is the nature of your/their business. But I’m not clear here. Are you a US citizen or is the other party one? Why not them filling up the form instead?

  104. katherine

    Our company is outside US and is foreign company. We just the agent of US company that help US company to pay their good and service tax incurred in our country then billed back to this US company . Then why the US company need us to fill up the W-8Ben form in order make the payment to us .

  105. DarrinW Post author

    @ Katherine
    I think you should query them on the matter. There are many US companies who themselves are not clear on the procedures. Edit – I think there is should be no issue if you fill up the form. They are probably asking you to do this to avoid issues with the IRS (for them).

  106. katherine


    Actually the amount not the US company income also. The amount is Tax incurred by US company in our country. We will help them pay to our tax authority and then we claim back from this US company. They request us to submit the W8Ben form before they can transfer money to us.


  107. Singaporean

    Please ignore my previous comment …
    Hi Darrin,
    Firstly thank you for setting up this blog to help fellow beings who had problem understanding tax information.
    I would like to be a CJ publisher but I need to fill up the Tax Information from Commission Junction and I had problem filling them up.
    What should I fill in for “W-8BEN form” as a Singaporean who lives in Singapore and who is an Individual. Doesn’t own a company or any employees or equipments in USA?
    These are the options in CJ Tax Form for “W-8BEN form” we need to fill …
    Business Type : Individual/Sole Proprietor, Corporation, LLC/LLP, Non-Profit/Government, Partners, Others <= What should I fill for Business Type?
    Exempt from back-up withholding : <= Should I check this box?
    US Tax Identification Number, if required
    (SSN: ###-##-#### or EIN: ##-#######) : <= What should I do?
    Foreign Tax Identification Number, if any
    (This is not the VAT field) : <= What should I do?
    Thank you and I am looking forward to hearing your reply soon :)!

  108. DarrinW Post author

    @ Singaporean
    Just fill up the form like my example – In the image I provided.
    1) Business type = Individual
    2) Don’t check exempt from backup holding
    3) You don’t have any US tax ID, right?
    4) Foreign tax ID number – No need to fill this up unless you have one.

  109. Singaporean

    Hi Darrin
    Thank you so much for your kind advice.
    I will choose the option for “Business type” as “Individual/Sole Proprietor” since I couldn’t select “Individual” alone.
    I will not check the box for “Exempt from back-up withholding”.
    Since I do not have US Tax ID and I do not have Foreign Tax ID, I will just leave them blank.
    Regards with Thanks!

  110. Singaporean

    Thank you so much, I really need the Luck :).
    Best of luck to you too in whatever projects or things you undertake now and in future :).

  111. John

    Hi Darrin,

    I’m getting hung up on the term income in filling out the W-8 Ben or ECI form. Our company is a manufacturer of furniture, a registered corporation based in Taiwan and one of our customers is asking for us to fill out the W-8 Ben form, yet the payments they will be making to us are not income, but payment for goods sold. Is either of these forms the correct one for us to fill out?


  112. DarrinW Post author

    Hi John,
    If your customer is selling the goods for you in the US, it is correct for them to ask you to fill the W-8BEN form.

  113. John

    Hi Darrin,
    Thanks for the fast reply. So the issue of income and withholding shouldn’t really apply, correct? Any money that exchanges hands is payment for goods, not distribution of funds or income for work done. I just don’t want any deductions to occur that need to be reclaimed. The company has done business in the US for the past 20 years and not been asked for this document before. This particular customer is a retailer selling products for themselves, not for us. We just happen to be a manufacturer for a product they are buying.


  114. DarrinW Post author

    @ John
    I think the main reason why the W-8BEN is submitted is to stay out of trouble with the IRS, by declaring where you are from. That is usually all there is to it. Many US business websites have online W-8BEN submission these days and it just takes a few minutes to submit it and thereafter forget about it. Think of it like a statutory declaration.

  115. Enel


    I am a university student and received a scholarship. I am wondering if I need to fill out the SSN and check part III – 11.

    Also, when will I need to check Part II – b? A little bit confused. I read the directions a few times, but I thought I hear it from you.

    Thank you!

  116. DarrinW Post author

    @ Enel
    You should fill out the SSN number and check part III – 11. Also part II – a/b both should be ticked.

  117. Alex

    Hello Darrin,

    I am a non-US citizen who is also non-resident. I left in 2002 after 10 years so I have a SSN. I currently live and work in UAE and have been based outside US since 2002. I am opening a brokerage account to trade stocks including US listed stocks. Brokerage firm (in Europe) sent me W-8BEN to fill in. I think I am exempt from backup witholding. Do I need to put the SSN on it?


  118. DarrinW Post author

    @ Alex,
    Yes, you should put in your SSN. Think of the W-8BEN as your statutory declaration.

  119. Maddie

    Hello! This is really helpful, thank you.
    I was wondering if you could help me out real quick.
    I’m a resident of the u.k, born and bred here and have been asked to do some one off design work for a company in the U.S. They sent me this form to fill out. I don’t earn enough or work full time here in the U.K to pay any taxes, i’m 19 years old and a student. Do I still fill out the form as you suggested?

    One other thing, i’ve been accepted for a study visa for the U.S and I leave the u.k for the u.s in August. The work with this company will be completed way before I leave, this shouldn’t be an issue should it?

    Thanks fo much for your help, I was going to give up on this form, it baffled me!

  120. DarrinW Post author

    Hi Maddie,
    Yes, you should fill out the form even though you don’t earn anything, because even US stock broker firms ask people to fill the form even before they begin trading stocks. Your leaving soon to the US should not be an issue at all. No need to worry unduly; you might be asked to fill the form again by other American parties in future!

  121. Pirom001

    Hello DarrinW,

    I am a native resident of Hong Kong and I am thinking about opening an online US broker account with thinkorswim to trade stock options. I know I have to file in a W-8BEN form along with a photocopy of my HKID to the broker, but I am sort of confused on filling in the form itself. On part 1, point 6 it asks for my US Taxpayer ID which I do not possess or have been given. I was wondering is this particular ID required in order to complete the form? Apologies for my ignorance. Thank you for your help!


  122. DarrinW Post author

    @ Pirom001

    No, you don’t need to fill this part to complete the form, if you don’t have any US Taxpayer ID.

  123. Montana

    After filling and sending the W-8BEN from, how to pay taxes? The instruction for form W-8BEN define a tax at a 30% rate on income you receive from U.S sources.

  124. DarrinW Post author

    @ Montana,
    The W-8BEN form is not for paying taxes, but to certify that you don’t need to pay them because you are not a US citizen, for example.

  125. Montana

    DarrinW, The instruction form for the W-8BEN include tax at a 30% rate on income.
    Instructions for Form W-8BEN
    (Rev. February 2006)

  126. DarrinW Post author

    @ Montana
    I’m outside the US, and I’ve submitted the W-8BEN form many times over the years, and never paid a single dime in taxes, and never been asked to either 😉

  127. Montana

    Are you a non-us resident Alien? Do you pay Taxes on the Capital gain in your own country? do you have dividends profits or only capital gains on trading profits?

  128. DarrinW Post author

    @ Montana

    No, I am not. Why are you asking all these questions? If you are a US citizen, you use another form, not the W-8BEN. I hope that clears things up.

  129. Montana

    @ DarrinW
    I am just asking because I am a non-US resident and I don’t know the rules as I am new to trading. Can you advise me a good online broker for trading US stocks?

  130. DarrinW Post author

    @ Montana
    You could try Etrade, as they are involved in stock brokerage. I have an account there; I applied years ago, as that was one way to get a US bank account for someone not living there, and I applied using exactly what I gave in my example. I have not traded in any US stocks though.

  131. Carlitos

    Hi Darrin,

    My question is not directly related to W-8BEN but I hope you have info about it. I’m setting up an online drop shipping business utilizing US drop shippers and marketing via my web sites primarily targeting US consumers.
    Will I incur tax liabilities to the IRS out of the income derived from this online activity?

    Thanks, hope you can help me.


  132. Carlitos

    Hi again,

    Sorry, I forgot: I’m not a US citizen nor a resident there.

    Thanks again.

  133. DarrinW Post author

    Hi Carlitos,

    I don’t think you need to contribute any taxes for this online activity, but your US agents and US drop shippers probably would need to. Normally, they are the ones that will ask you to fill up the W-8BEN.

  134. Prince

    I am doing cpa marketing and now i need to gain my commission.But i dont know how to fill W-8 form.Kindly guide me


  135. DarrinW Post author

    @ Prince
    Just follow my example (in the sample image), and you will be fine.

  136. Prashant

    Hey Darrin went through all the answers what you answered here really helpful, My I am on Student Visa(F1)who finished studies and is working as an IT professional paying taxes and having SSN.

    Recently opened an account with TD Ameritrade, I was asked to fill in W-8BEN form, ok here are my bullet questions

    1) Looking at my current status mentioned above can I follow the sample what you have here on web
    2) If I follow your sample, the first part says your country name and address, which in my case would be my homecountry address and since i have ssn that would be filled

    could you correct me if my understanding is correct ???

  137. DarrinW Post author

    Yes, Prashant, your understanding is correct. Don’t forget to put in your SSN.

  138. Tatyana

    Hi Darrin,

    There is plenty of helpful information here! Thank you!

    I am in a complex situation now. I’m a freelancer (translation) and have a registered sole-proprietor business in Russia. I pay Russian taxes. I moved to USA a year go and I’m still living here. I have H4 visa, so I cannot be employed by any US company. This year my husband claimed us as residents when filing taxes to IRS. Now I’ve found a client in US, who asks me to fill W8, so we could cooperate as if I’m working from Russia. I’m worrying about W8 and H4 combination and I don’t want any information about me to be sent to IRS. Can I use W8? What consequences does it lead to?

  139. DarrinW Post author

    Hi Tatyana,
    This is a bit confusing I agree. H4 visa holders are not supposed to work in the US, so unfortunately, I can’t help you here. I’m not sure how H4 visa and W-8BEN will go together. But I’d suggest asking someone to ask the IRS to clarify for you. Would be great, if you could post your findings back here. Good luck.

  140. Kevin

    So to be sure, if I am an affiliate of US owned and run company working in Canada, I fill out the W-8BEN… no worries right? I called the IRS and one guy said I had to fill out the W-8CI “To claim income is effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States” — then I called back and another agent said because it was Online marketing, a la the Linkshare, the parameters could be different but for a definite answer I should speak to an Accountant/Tax specialist…

    I plan to send in the W-8BEN because I’m living in Canada and have no employees or own any of their US operation–just an affiliate, is that right?

  141. DarrinW Post author

    @ Kevin

    Yes, that is right. A lot of non US affiliates fill out the W-8BEN for internet affiliate marketing.

  142. Roee

    Thank you for all the tips! It is really helpful.
    Now what about awards for foreign students and researchers?
    I am a non US citizen who needs to feel the W-8BEN form in order to receive a travel award from an American scientific society.
    Any clues?

    Thanks again

  143. DarrinW Post author

    @ Roee
    I’m not sure about student awards, but I really do not think there will be any problem for you if you fill up the W-8BEN and submit it.

  144. lissa

    I am a Canadian that just started US base business. I opened a US personal bank account to use for the business. The bank sent us the W8-BEN form. Do I fill out the form in the name of the business or my name since it is a personal account. Thanks.

  145. DarrinW Post author

    Hi Lissa,
    Just use your own name for this. I used my own name when I opened a US bank account a long time ago, and they sent me the W8-BEN form too.

  146. jra

    This is very nice information.

    Could someone tell that when you select “The beneficial owner is a resident of…” is your incomes reported automatically your country tax authorities by US tax authorities? Or is this thing what you have to personally? And whether there are differences between countries?

  147. Sophie

    I am a French citizen on a F1 visa and doing my post-completion OPT. I am a non-resident. I have been working in the US as a contractor (researcher) for an audiobook company, and I need to fill out a tax form. The thing is, I can’t decide whether I need to fill out the W8BEN, the W8ECI, or form 8233. I’ve been researching this for a while now and can’t find any straight answer. Can you help me?

  148. DarrinW Post author

    @ jra

    I don’t quite understand what you mean here, but basically if you are not a citizen from a country, you should not be paying their taxes. This should be logical for most countries anyway.

  149. Loong Yew Luen

    Hi, I want to participate in the stock purchase plan offered by companies originating in United states. As an nonresident alien from Malaysia, such program requires me to have the social security number. Do I need to apply for the social security card?

  150. DarrinW Post author

    @ Loong Yew Luen
    I think your question is best addressed to the relevant US authority, the SSA. I believe the card should be a must, but the important thing is having the number.

  151. krishna kanth

    how to submit this form online and get EIN number ? from india

  152. DarrinW Post author

    @ Krishna
    Normally, a company will ask you to submit the W-8BEN and some have online version of the form. EIN number is not related to W-8BEN.

  153. hh

    Hi DarrinW,

    I m from india and i sinup affiliate program of site asked to fill form w-8ben.

    so wht are the fields do i need to fill?

  154. xddata

    Hi darrin
    I have been asked to complete this form for a US person who I gave a loan too and is paying me back with interest. Because he is paying interest he says he needs this form completed …. Just in case and for his records.
    I am in a country with a double taxation treaty with US and it reduces the 30% required withholding to 0%. I guess the form is just a proof I am in that country and have business in the US.
    What boxes in section 9 do I need to check?
    And do I need to file out #10 and go find the section in the treaty that covers the interest payment at 0%?
    Do I need to check #11? And if so do I just give a separate piece of paper with some sort of statement saying what? Or is just ticking the box enough?
    Thanks in advance

  155. DarrinW Post author

    @ xddata

    I do not have experience with cases that do have a taxation treaty and interest payments, so I am afraid I cannot be of much help here. Hopefully someone else can chime in.

  156. Donna Bentona

    Well, just like what the saying goes, there is nothing certain but death and taxes. I assume that the US IRS is the most efficient and productive revenue/tax collecting agency anywhere in the world. They even collect taxes from non-US citizens who just happen to do business online with US clients.

  157. Carcf

    I am not a US citizen nor resident and live abroad. Since I lived in the USA as a student years ago I have a valid SSN. I have been recently asked to fill out a W-8BEN form in order to be able to trade withdraw funds from my on-line stock-trading account. By providing in the form my SSN (there is a blank fill in the form), would that mean that I have to pay taxes as If I was a US Citizen?

  158. Prasad

    Hi Darren, I am Non US Citizen , Non Resident Alien , opened account with Chase Bank & gave local US Mail address in W-8BEN form / Bank Records, Bank has asked for explanation for Reason for US Address . Any help related to this is highly appreciated.

  159. DarrinW Post author

    @ Prasad
    You should only be giving your real address in your native country and not a US one. Naturally, the bank will have suspicions and ask you to explain. By the way, I am not sure if you can even open a US bank account if you are not a US citizen because I believe that ruling was imposed post 9/11.

  160. Samantha


    Just wanted to clarify that you can definitely open a bank account as a non US citizen. (I believe you have to be a resident but you don’t have to be a citizen, because most likely you are opening the account in your area of residence). There’s not much regulation when it comes to opening bank accounts these days, just saying.

    If that were true our economy would be even more down the hole. lol.

  161. DarrinW Post author

    @ Samantha

    Maybe they relaxed the rules since, but I could recall the Patriot Act barred a lot of non US people from opening any sort of US bank account, so much so that the only way was to open an account with US stock brokerage banks, like Etrade.

  162. Balaji

    I have a valid SSN no which i recevied when i worked in US in 2004/2005. I plan to withdraw my 401K fund now and I am asked to fill W-8BEN form. I have filled the form in the same way that you have suggested in this forum, but additionally, i would like to know if I can provide my SSN as well. Please suggest.

  163. Jim

    Hello and THANK YOU for your nice article.

    I’m almost done with this form.I know how to fill it for individuals, but the problem is that I have a company in my country.I’m confused with several things:

    Part 3: Type of beneficial owner:
    What should I enter?I have a company Ltd (I.t is a bulgarian company, I live and work in Bulgaria).

    Here are the instructions:

    Do not check the box that describes your status under the law of the treaty country. If you are a partnership or disregarded entity receiving a payment for which treaty benefits are being claimed, you must check the “Partnership” or “Disregarded entity” box. If you are a sole proprietor check the “Individual” box, not the “Disregarded entity” box.

    It seems that I should not check “Corporation”, because my company is not under US tax laws???Then what?”Individual”, I’m not an individual?Maybe “International organization”?

    Or nothing? Will it be fine if I don’t check anything?I will just enter my company name and I won’t check part 3.

    My next question is about part 9
    9a)Is there a treaty for double tax avoidance between US and Bulgaria?Where can be found the official information about that?

    I found that:,,id=201561,00.html

    Is this a legitimate source?I think I can trust is 100%.

    9b,c,d,e – I think they have to be empty.

    (I need this information for

    Please help me

  164. DarrinW Post author

    @ Jim from Bulgaria

    You should just check “Corporation” and state your Bulgarian address, and your country of incorporation which should be Bulgaria. As for any tax treaties, you should be asking your government foreign relations department; I am sure they would know. I doubt there is any, because your country was under the Iron Curtain was decades….

  165. Gilded edges

    Thanks! It was a very practical description.

  166. Sam

    Hi Darrin,
    This is indeed very useful information, I work for a company in China and we have been asked to fill out this form by a new client in the US, however I am unsure if China and the US have a tax treaty and if they do, will I need to fill out anything else on the form other than the information you have already supplied above, thanking you in advance for your assistance.

  167. DarrinW Post author

    @ Sam,

    I found this page on the tax treaties between the USA and other countries. China is on that list. I’m afraid you may need to consult the Chinese foreign ministry to obtain further details on the treaty stipulations.

  168. Akel

    Hi Im in Australi and opening a broker accoutn with Think or swim ,they have asked for a W8BEN which i have completed. they have then asked for ‘a withholding letter indicated on pages 6 and 7 of the W-8IMY for your Simple Trust. Please submit this so we can update your account’.

    why is this and where can i get a sample of the letter to have it completed?


  169. DarrinW Post author

    @ Akel

    I have not much idea where you can find a sample withholding letter for the W-8IMY, but I would ask Thinkorswim to provide more details about the letter they want you to submit. As I understand, they are an online brokerage platform and should have no problems answering your questions.

  170. Akel

    @ Darrin, their response was

    Unfortunately, we do not have a sample letter for you as this is unique to your Trust set-up. I would suggest contacting a tax professional to determine how the letter should be written and confirming if your Trust is Simple or Complex.

  171. Singapore Resident

    I am Singapore resident, in W-8Ben form, if I tick 9a, what should I be filling in 10?


  172. DarrinW Post author

    @ Singapore Resident

    You can leave 10) blank; there is usually no issue with that.

  173. BritishH1BCali


    Thank you for the helpful information. I have a question I hope you can help with. I have been in the USA for a few years on a H1-B visa. I recently changed jobs and am trying to transfer my 401K from one provider to another (as my new company uses a different provider than my previous company). The old provider asked me to fill out a W8BEN form, which I did. However they contacted me to inform me that the form was completed incorrectly as I left Part II blank. How do I complete this part?

    I am a citizen of the United Kingdom, however I live, work and pay taxes only in the USA. The link you posted (19th June 2012) shows that the UK does have some tax treaties with the USA, but I am unsure if they apply.

    With my current situation, how would you recommend I complete Part II of the form, and what impact will this form have on the money I am rolling over from an old 401K plan to a new 401K plan?

    Your help is appreciated.

  174. DarrinW Post author

    Hi BritishH1BCali,
    I believe you would need to contact your respective UK foreign ministry and/or the US IRS to obtain more details about your situation. Best of luck.

  175. BritishH1BCali

    An update to close the loop – after further investigation it was determined that I did not need to complete a W8BEN, but a W9.

  176. 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,

  177. DarrinW Post author

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

  178. 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?

  179. 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.

  180. DarrinW Post author

    @ Mike,

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

  181. 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 🙂

  182. 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.

  183. DarrinW Post author

    @ Hilkka

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

  184. 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

  185. 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!

  186. 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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