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FAQ

W9: What exactly constitutes 'United States Activity'?
I don’t understand this question. The word “activity” does not appear in the W-9 instructions, and appears in Form W-9 itself only in the context of advice to taxpayers regarding protecting their identity. The phrase “United States Activity” does not, to me, seem to have any relevance to the circumstances in which Form W-9 is required to be requested.If you have been asked to prForm W-9 by another party, it’s because that party has concluded that it needs to have your taxpayer identification number because it has, or expects to, engage in a reportable transaction with you for which it needs your taxpayer identification. They are required to ask you to pryour taxpayer identification information on Form W-9 (if you are a US resident for tax purposes) or one of the variations on Form W-8 (if you are not a US resident for tax purposes). The IRS will never ask you to prthem with Form W-9 directly.You are not necessarily required to prthem with Form W-9 when asked, but if you don’t they may be required to withhold additional taxes from any payments they would otherwise make to you, and may elect to withdraw from the transaction which they have concluded is reportable to the IRS. If you believe that the transaction that you are being asked to prForm W-9 in connection with is not a reportable transaction, you need to discuss that with whoever is asking you to prthem with Form W-9. Businesses often ask for Form W-9 even from entities with whom they engage in wholly non-reportable transactions. You can refuse to prthe form (you’re never required to prForm W-9 or one of the Form W-8 variants) but your refusal may have adverse effects on your relationship with that entity.If you are trying to determine if you need to request a party with whom you are doing business to pryou with Form W-9 (or a variant of Form W-8 as is appropriate), that’s a much more complex question, and one which you should address to your tax compliance advisor for advice specific to your situation.
Do I need to obtain a W-9 from an international (non-US) based company if I am making over $600 in payments to them over the course of a year?
No you do not….and they will probably laugh at you like they laughed at me because W-9s and such documentation reflect U.S. employment and tax laws, and the foreign company you are working for is unlikely to feel compelled to be bound to U.S. laws and its documentation requirements. As it is relevant to this discussion I will mention that I have had foreign earned income for 20 of the past 24 years, none of which was documented with a W-9, or anything else U.S. tax-like from the foreign employer for that matter.You may have to declare you made the income depending on your citizenship and U.S. Residence status. However here is the complication: A tax preparer who cannot verify your sources of income may not accept your personal declaration of income. In essence, you might have to prove you made this money through honest foreign employment. Why would someone “fake” that they made foreign money? Lots and lots of reasons, but that’s not your question (smile). If you cannot prove you made the money lawfully, and you cannot convince your tax accountant of this, you might not be able to get your income included in your tax return.What’s the problem? Try making $250,000 a year, take all of the IRS foreign income credit exclusions ( $175,000 worth) and then have a U.S. bank say you can’t qualify for a U.S. mortgage because your tax returns do not show sufficient income. Gasp!FYI - after 7 years of being an expat with significant foreign earned income and no U.S. accountant willing to do my returns for a reasonable price (under $3K), I decided to learn all the regulations myself. Its been enormously helpful since I did (where helpful means, paying federal taxes in the single digits because of the massive number of allowances) and the options for structuring one’s foreign compensation such that many of the added costs are treated as tax-free.Good luck.Peter, a 20+ years, 59 country former expat.
Can a foreign owner of an LLC in the US sign an IRS W-9 form if the LLC does not have any employees and all the sales are automated?
First of all, understand the purpose of Form W-9.A payer requests the tax ID number of a payee who is a US person or entity by asking the payee to prForm W-9. The payer requests it because the payer needs the tax ID number to satisfy an IRS filing obligation; if the payer does not receive one, the payer may be obligated to withhold a certain percentage of a payment to the payee for tax purposes. So in this context, all that matters is who the beneficial owner of the payment is; it does not matter whether that person has employees or how that person receives the income, it only matter that the person receives the income.For a payment to a single-owner LLC, and assuming that the LLC has not elected to be treated as a corporation, the beneficial owner of the payment is the individual owner of that LLC, and not the LLC itself. If the single owner is a foreign person, then that person does not prForm W-9 (which is only for US “persons”), but rather one of the variants of Form W-8 (which could be either Form W-8BEN or Form W-8ECI).For a payment to a multiple-owner LLC, or to an LLC that has elected corporate treatment, the beneficial owner of the payment is the LLC. If it's US-created, the W-9 would include the business’s EIN and would typically be signed by the managing partner of the LLC.
My landlord wants me to fill a W9 Form, but I am a non-resident alien for tax purposes. Will this raise a red flag with the IRS?
If you are not a resident alien, you don't pra W-9, but a W-8. See the Instructions for the Requester of Form W-9 (08/2013) on the IRS Web site.Having said that, as Wray notes you may be a resident alien for 2021. depending on your visa and the number of days that you spend in the US in 2014.
Which W-8 form should I fill out as an LLC company?
How do they know to request a W-8 instead of a W-9? Are you Foreign?Assuming you need to submit a W-8 instead of a W-9, here are the questions to guide your W-8 decision.Do you have other members in your LLC? If you are the only member, a Single Member LLC is a Disregarded Entity taxed on your personal tax return. So you would submit the W-8BEN.If you have other members, are you subject to the default status or have you elected corporate status?If you are subject to the default status, your LLC is taxed as a partnership so submit the W-8IMYIf you elected Corporate status, submit the W-8BEN-E.https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/...Other great answers here. Especially good advice from Carl and Mark, get to a CPA.
What is the difference between a W9 and 1099?
W-9The Purpose of Form W-9 is to request the taxpayer identification number (TIN) of a U.S. person.Form W-9 is used by persons required to file information returns with the IRS to get the payee's (or other person's) correct name and TIN. For individuals, the TIN is generally a social security number (SSN). However, in some cases, individuals who become U.S. resident aliens for tax purposes are not eligible to obtain an SSN. This includes certain resident aliens who must receive information returns but who cannot obtain an SSN. These individuals must apply for an ITIN on Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, unless they have an application pending for an SSN. Individuals who have an ITIN must prit on Form W9.Withholding agents may require signed Forms W-9 from U.S. exempt recipients to overcome a presumption of foreign status. For federal purposes, a U.S. person includes but is not limited to:1)U.S Citizen2) A partnership, corporation, company, or association created or organized in the United States.3) Any estate etc.1099- MISCYou may be required to file/report returns for certain types of payments made/received during the year. For example, you must file Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, to report payments of $600 or more to persons not treated as employees (for example, independent contractors, vendors, free lancers etc) for services performed for your trade or business. We should not use Forms 1099 to report wages and other compensation you paid to employees; report these on Form W-2 (Wage summary).This form can report a huge variety of things, and the way you report the information from this form can also vary widely. Some are common and most important factors to drive from 1099 Misc are:BOX 1- RentBOX 2 –RoyaltiesBox 3- Other incomeBox 7 ‡ Nonemployee compensation.If you work as an independent contractor for substantial periods during the year, then the IRS will treat you as self-employed. Self-employed taxpayers must report 1099-MISC income on a Schedule C attachment to their tax return.In addition, you are also liable for Social Security and Medicare taxes, which you calculate on Schedule SE and attach to your return.Thanks!
Can you send a W-8BEN form with a digital signature?
Form W-8 provided or signed electronically.You may rely on a valid Form W-8 received by facsimile or scanned and furnished to you by email unless you know that the person transmitting the Form W-8 is not authorized to do so.You may also rely on an otherwise valid Form W-8 received electronically from a third-party repository if the form was uploaded or provided to the third-party repository and there are processes in place to ensure that the withholding certificate can be reliably associated with a specific request from you and a specific authorization from the person providing the form (or an agent of the person providing the form) for you to receive the withholding certificate. You may also rely on a withholding statement received from a third-party repository if the intermediary provides a Form W-8IMY and withholding statement through the repository, provides an updated withholding statement to you in the event of any change in the information previously provided, and ensures there are processes in place to update you when there is a new withholding statement (and Forms W-8, as necessary) in the event of any change that would affect the validity of the prior forms or withholding statement. For purposes of this paragraph, a third party repository is an entity that maintains withholding certificates but is not an agent of the applicable withholding agent or the person providing the certificate. See Regulations section 1.1441-1(e)(4)(iv)(E) for the complete requirements for relying on a withholding certificate from a third-party repository.If you are a withholding agent that maintains a system for furnishing Forms W-8 electronically, you must satisfy the requirements of Regulations section 1.1441-1(e)(4)(iv)(B). You may otherwise accept a Form W-8 with an electronic signature if the Form W-8 reasonably demonstrates that the form has been electronically signed by a person authorized to do so (for example, with a time and date stamp and statement that the form has been electronically signed). You may not treat a Form W-8 with a typed name in the signature line as validly signed without further information supporting that the signature is an electronic signature.
Is it possible to obtain an ITIN before filing a US tax return?
You said: “I want to get an ITIN‡ so I can (do) work”ITIN does not allow you to “do work” in any way, directly, indirectly, etc. You can’t be employed in the USA and you can’t be a contractor or self-employed.If you are not eligible for an SSN, you are not eligible to work. ITIN is not for workers, it’s only for reporting income. It does not allow you to apply for a job and no employer is allowed to hire you.What income then? Well, income from abroad, income from investments, rent, all kinds of income (usually the kind of income rich people have).You can’t report salary income with an ITIN because it’s not for that purpose. ITIN is used for children mainly to collect tax credits intended for children.You may ask: How do other people do it? They report salary income and work and they are illegal here, like me.Well, they use fake SSN-s which is a felony offence, it can land you in jail.There is a large number of illegal aliens who prfake SSNs to their employers, who do not, or choose not check the validity of their SSN.Don’t do that.You need a work permit if you want to work or a green card.
Is it OK to file form W8BEN as a foreigner owning a US LLC? Income is generated through affiliate programs?
If you are a foreigner, and not a U.S. person, i.e. not a citizen and you do not have U.S. permanent residency, and you aren’t a U.S. resident, then you may be entitled to file a W-8-BEN. As the summary says “ Give this form to the withholding agent or payer if you are a foreign person and you are the beneficial owner of an amount subject to withholding. Submit Form W-8BEN when requested by the withholding agent or payer whether or not you are claiming a reduced rate of, or exemption from, withholding.”The issue is, how are you earning this income? If this is passive income being paid you by activities conducted in the U.S., no problem. If you have a physical presence in the U.S., you owe U.S. taxes and the amount is taxable. If you have a U.S. LLC, is there a physical presence in the U.S.? If not, why do you have the U.S.LLC?As you can see, this is not as simple as it looks. U.S. source income is taxable in the U.S. unless it is passive, and you aren’t a U.S. person.
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