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FAQ

Where do you get the instructions of the W-8BEN form?
About Form W-8 BENInstructions for Form W-8BEN (07/2017)
Can I run an Amazon business from Australia, without needing a LLC or EIN?
Here is what Amazon says about tax information requirements for foreign sellers (Amazon.com Help: IRS Reporting Regulations on Third-Party Payment Transactions):IRS Reporting Regulations on Third-Party Payment TransactionsDue to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations, U.S. third-party settlement organizations and payment processors, including Amazon, are required to file Form 1099-K for U.S. taxpayer sellers who meet the following thresholds in a calendar year:More than $20,000 in unadjusted gross sales, andMore than 200 transactions.IRS regulations require non-U.S. taxpayers to provide Form W-8BEN to Amazon in order to be exempt from U.S. tax reporting requirements.Providing Your Taxpayer Identification Information to AmazonAs a result of these and other upcoming regulations, the following sellers are required by Amazon to provide taxpayer identification information to Amazon:All Professional sellersIndividual sellers that exceed 50 transactions in a calendar year, regardless of sales volumeSo, Amazon says that if you want to avoid tax reporting, you need to provide Form W-8BEN (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/... - instructions at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/...), which does not require an EIN.Amazon's instructions at Amazon.com Help: IRS Reporting Regulations on Third-Party Payment Transactions provide a link to walk sellers through the W-8BEN (or as applicable, W-9) process.Given that Amazon works with foreign sellers, it is not necessary to form a limited liability company (LLC) in the U.S. to sell on Amazon.
How should a consulting & development company in a non-tax-treaty-country deal with the W8-BEN form when providing services for US companies?
The purpose of the W8-BEN is to to establish the foreign status of the recipient of the income and to confirm that the income is to flow to that recipient; otherwise the withholding agent is required to withhold at the 30% rate. The withholding agent - in this case, the US client - should not withhold on non-US source income payments to the foreign person once the W-8BEN is received, and income for services performed outside the United States by a nonresident alien is not considered to be US source income even if paid by a US payer. Publication 515 (2021), Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities covers this:The place where the services are performed determines the source of the income, regardless of where the contract was made, the place of payment, or the residence of the payer.A US Tax ID Number is required on Form W-8BEN if the recipient is claiming tax treaty benefits or is a foreign partner submitting the form to a partnership that is conducting a trade or business in the US (and a couple of other of cases which are less common). Since neither of these applies in this case, it is not necessary to put a US Tax ID number on the form - note that line 6 on the W-8BEN states that the number is included if required per the instructions. Parts 2 and 3 of the form are left blank in this case.My experience is that there are US clients that don't know the rules on foreign source income, in which case you should point them to Pub 515.
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.
Should a non-US resident, owning US LLC, fill W-9?
See http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f...The question that I have is how you treat your LLC for Federal tax purposes. If you are the sole owner and are not treating the LLC as a corporation, then the LLC is a disregarded entity and you should file the appropriate W-8, not the W-9. If you are treating the LLC as a corporation then you file the W-9 on behalf of the corporation.
How do I get a U.S. taxpayer identification number (SSN or ITIN) as a non-US citizen?
Stephen Villano answered correctly about the mechanism for applying for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (“ITIN”).Let me add some nitty-gritty from the trenches. The IRS process generally requires you to send your original identification (passports, driver’s license, etc.) to them. Not copies, originals. You can, in some cases use certified copies (where the issuing agency makes the copy), or notarized copies. But not all countries have notaries which are recognized by the IRS (Canada is in this boat).The easiest solution is to find a Certifying Acceptance Agent near you. These are people - usually certified/chartered accountants - who can certify your application, and verify for the IRS that the documentation you are using is valid. You send copies validated by them, so you can keep your originals.You have to pay a fee for this service, but most people I know find it convenient. You can also often ask the accountant a few questions about your tax filings (pass a certain point, though, and the accountant will charge you separately for that).
Can anyone explain the W-8BEN form to me? I have money that I should receive from the US for my work, and they asked for me to fill the W-8BEN. Do I really need to pay 30% in taxes?
If you are completing a W8BEN for work you did outside the US, the presumption would normally be that your income is NOT subject to withholding of US tax, which makes sense if you are a non-US individual working from outside the US.As for completing the form:Part ILines 1–4 should be pretty self explanatory-you put your name, country of citizenship and addressLine 5 is for US taxpayer ID if you have one-you may not, but note there are some situations where you need to obtain oneLine 6 is for your foreign tax ID-you probably have one depending on your countryLine 7 is only needed if whoever is withholding tax needs to identify you and you do not have a US tax ID.Line 8 self explanatoryPart IILine 9-what country do you reside in-self explanatoryLine 10-If you are subject to withholding but qualify for special rates under a tax treaty between your home country and the US, you enter that information. This may require a conversation with a US tax professional or reading the relevant tax treaty at: United States Income Tax Treaties A to ZPart IIIShould be self explanatory you just sign and date the form.You can also read the instructions at: About Form W-8 BEN
How should I fill the form W-8BEN E? I am an Italian student which has won a non-compensatory research grant from a US-based organization. My main issue is about line 10, where you ask for taxation reduction.
The instructions may help. See page 6 for help with line 10.https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/...