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FAQ

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.
I have a bank account in the US, but I'm not a citizen nor a resident of the US. What form should I submit when receiving money from ads in mobile apps?
I’ll assume you are asking about the form you will need to prto a U.S. payer of advertising income and/or to a bank. If so, U.S. payers and banks generally ask for a tax withholding certificate in order to apply the correct amount of tax on your income.If you are a non-resident person, the type of form depends on the type of income being paid and the type of person receiving the income. The forms are W-8BEN (W-8BEN-E), W-8ECI, W-8EXP and W-8IMY. Each form serves a different purpose as explained in our FAQ section. You will need to select the correct form based on your circumstances.
What is the 'Foreign Tax Identification Number' on IRS Form W8-BEN?
In many countries, the government issues a Tax ID number to its citizens. In Canada, the SSI number is used. Many places in Europe use the VAT number. Any number issued by the person’s central government can be used on the W-8BEN (or W-8BEN-E for companies). There are some treaty agreements that require a person to have a U.S. issued tax ID number (either SSN or ITIN), but there are others, for interest, dividends, capital gains and such that will allow the use of a foreign tax ID instead.
What is the purpose of a W8/W9 tax form?
Use Form W-9 to pryour correct TIN to the person who is required to file an information return with the IRS to report, for example,income paid to youreal estate transactionsmortgage interest you paidacquisition or abandonment of secured propertycancellation of debtcontributions you made to an IRAThere are a family of Form W8-Form W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Individuals).Form W-BEN-E, Certificate of Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Entities).Form W-8ECI, Certificate of Foreign Person's Claim That Income Is Effectively Connected With the Conduct of a Trade or Business in the United States.Form W-8EXP, Certificate of Foreign Government or Other Foreign Organization for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting.Form W-8IMY, Certificate of Foreign Intermediary, Foreign Flow-Through Entity, or Certain U.S. Branches for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting.
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
I'm an independent contractor for a company but they take taxes. Are they supposed to?
if you have not provided your social security number to the company, they are mandated to withhold tax from you.Form 1099 Reporting and Backup WithholdingYou may also be responsible as a payer for reporting on Form 1099 payments made to a U.S. person. You must backup withhold 39.6% (or the applicable rate established by legislation amending IRC section 3406) from a reportable payment made to a U.S. person that is subject to Form 1099 reporting if:The U.S. person has not provided its TIN in the manner required,The IRS notifies you that the TIN furnished by the payee is incorrect,There has been a notified payee under-reporting, orThere has been a payee certification failure.Generally, a TIN must be provided by a U.S. non-exempt recipient on Form W-9. A payer files a tax return on Form 945(PDF) for backup withholding.You may be required to file Form 1099, and, if appropriate, backup withhold, even if you do not make the payments directly to that U.S. person. For example, you are required to report income paid to a foreign intermediary or flow-through entity that collects for a U.S. person subject to Form 1099 reporting. Refer to Identifying the Payee, for more information.Foreign persons who prForm W-8BEN (PDF), Form W-8ECI (PDF), or Form W-8EXP (PDF) or applicable documentary evidence are exempt from backup withholding and Form 1099 reporting.
Can I sign a W-9 Form if I am not an American citizen and I live in Europe?
A W9 form should only be used if you are a US person, meaning US citizen or resident alien. It sounds like you are neither, so you should most likely be completing a Form W8 Instructions for the Requester of Forms W-8BEN, W-8BEN-E, W-8ECI, W-8EXP, and W-8IMY