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FAQ

All of a sudden Bank of America is asking if I have dual citizenship in the U.S and another country. They have never asked that before. Why is the bank doing this?
I don’t know, but possibly in anticipation of the USA finally living up to its promise of reciprocity under FATCA.When the USA forced every country in the world to have its financial institutions report all US accounts back to the IRS at enormous expense to the world and not the USA, the treasury promised reciprocity where the USA will report all citizens of other countries back to their respective tax authorities.So far, after having bullied the entire world in to complying, the USA has just proven itself to be a bullying liar that even its friends should not trust as far as it could be thrown. Reciprocity should have been in place late last year.You see, the USA has probably noticed that it would cost the USA hundreds of billions of dollars to report their own residents and citizens to the tax authorities of foreign nations so those foreign nations can consider taxing US residents and citizens, and this appears to be deeply disturbing on many levels.US citizens having their privacy stripped from them, reported to foreign nations so foreign nations can tax US resident Americans?That’s so wrong.And yet the USA feels it’s fine to force other nations to do just that, so the USA can tax the residents and citizens of other nations.Liars, hypocrites and bullies.(Rude? Possibly, but fact).
How can I set up my social security number to my Bank of America account?
A W-9 Form should have been executed at opening of any depository account…that pays interest…for tax reporting purposes. If you used separate ID to open your account, and have since acquired a SSN, you may call the institution and request a Form W-9 (Taxpayer ID # Certification—you can print it off from IRS Website as well: Site Index Search | Internal Revenue Service ).
What steps should a US citizen go through to safely acquire Bitcoin?
I don’t give advice on Quora but I do talk to myself.If I was a non-expert (which we all are tbh) trying to acquire Bitcoin, I would ask myself these questions for the reasons below, in the following order.If I can answer a strong “Yes!” to all of them, then I can “invest” in some Bitcoin.I use the word “invest” in quotes because I am really speculating in Bitcoin.At $42.8 billion market cap with no real killer app yet other than possibly “store of value” (This will stop just like tulips or seashells once everyone decides to abandon Bitcoin as a store of value. Not every store of value gets to become like gold and survive centuries and span many cultures).CryptoCurrency Market CapitalizationsDo you have money you can afford to lose 100% of?If yes, read on.If not, stop. Do not buy Bitcoin until you do, by cutting expenses or increasing income or assets (preferably all of the above).Bitcoin is extremely risky.Do you have an account at a small bank, community bank, credit union, Silicon Valley Bank or similar bank?Meaning not a big bank like Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi, Bank of America, etc. The reason is big US banks tend to be stricter about avoiding violating anti-money laundering regulations in Bitcoin and may be more likely to shut your account down.If not, create one and move the money you intend to invest in Bitcoin there first.Are you sure you have good reasons for acquiring Bitcoin?Do you not yet have an account at Coinbase using a secure, private email you use only for this purpose (and which email you will check the security of regularly)?Currently Coinbase seems to be the safest and most reputable. They make you jump through more hoops. I think it’s worth it for safety and security.Opening an account on Coinbase will take several days and a lot of work on your end. Buying Bitcoin through Coinbase can be a pain.But having heard a few of them speak in person, etc. I think they throw up a lot of obstacles if you, e.g, forget your password or do something weird because they do not want a hacker pretending to be you to steal your Bitcoins, etc.Do you have a great thesis on Bitcoin?Do you understand deeply your motivation for speculating in Bitcoin and are you happy with it?Do you have an unfair advantage over others with respect to Bitcoin, such as legal inside information?Do you have a great process to acquire and liquidate Bitcoin?Do you have a great exit strategy?Please read this before investing in Bitcoin. I think liquidity (being able to get out near the then current market price) is a big problem when FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) turns into fear. Terrence Yang's answer to What happens to cryptocurrencies when the next global recession hits?Can you Dollar Cost Average In?Do not buy all your Bitcoins at once because you may be buying too high and get frustrated. Bitcoin is highly volatile.Instead, consider buying the same dollar amount every day or week automatically where possible (dollar cost average in.Are you aware that Bitcoin is super risky?I think right now it is very easy for the US, China or Russia, etc. to drive Bitcoin prices to zero or near zero by, e.g., just enforcing taxes on income on it. I have a theory that the vast majority of people have not reported taxable income on their Bitcoin purchases and sales and if the IRS decides to get very tough that could trigger a fire sale in Bitcoin. I don’t believe most people who own Bitcoin have strong conviction. I think they think they have it but will sell when enough other folks are panicking.Do you promise never to trade on margin?Don't use margin. Ever. A loved once bought stocks on margin (they also kept going up and everyone who day traded in dot com stocks looked like geniuses for awhile). Then she got a margin call. I had to sell my very safe Vanguard S&P 500 index funds to raise cash to help her meet her margin call. I was not happy.Additional disclaimer: I own Bank of America stock. I do not ever disclose my cryptocurrency holdings (neither should you, because they are so easily stolen compared to your FDIC-insured CDs up to a certain amount). I am an investor in Purse, a tiny investor in Coinhako, and a small investor in a cryptocurrency startup fund. I also am a small investor in fund that invested in Coinbase.
Why can't some states (such as California) provide universal health care for their residents without relying on the federal government?
The economics of a state-based single payer system are brutal • as evidenced by the recent attempts in CO and VT.Amendment 69 in Colorado would have increased payroll taxes by 10%Vermont would have increased payroll taxes 11% • and income taxes 9%Colorado is more of a swing state • so it was thought to be a better test for other states. Almost 80% of voters rejected the measure • so it wasn’t just defeated, it was crushed.Vermont’s governor (Peter Shumlin) calculated the fiscal hurdle as an impossibility and simply abandoned the initiative before it even got to the ballot.It’s not just the fiscal burden, it’s the challenge of states to attract and retain talent, businesses and wealthy individuals to sustain the higher tax structure. Over time • two things work against each other to further erode the fiscal mechanics of state-based single-payer healthcare.Wealthy citizens leave (or modify their resident status) to avoid paying the higher state taxes necessary to support state-based single-payer healthcare.Citizens who need expensive healthcare (but often can’t afford it) from other states will relocate into a state with universal health coverage.In the end, our decades long battle with actuarial math has been epic • but it’s unwinnable. Moving that battle from the national to the state level doesn’t change the economics of the battle • just the geography.
Do you think the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is good or bad?
Well, it’s a step in the right direction, but the execution is clumsy and some of its consequences are damaging and profoundly unfair. It should be reformed.The underlying issue is transparency in international banking. We currently have a situation in most advanced economies where poor people and small businesses pay their taxes and rich people and corporations don’t. This is one of the key reasons that the gap between rich and poor is growing so rapidly, to the point that it is beginning to threaten the social fabric.Look to the French Revolution to see what happens when a small group commandeers a nation’s wealth while the poor citizens suffer. This is a primary driver behind the rise of dangerous populism in the US and elsewhere. The last time this happened on such a scale was the 1930s…The main mechanisms for large-scale tax evasion are moving capital to low-tax jurisdictions and hiding behind overseas banking privacy laws. As an international community, we need transparent banking so all nations can begin to tax the wealthy. The alternative is rampant unfairness, where the poorest carry the full burden of the state. With the US being such an important market, they have used their muscle to begin breaking the logjam and take a first step towards transparency so the rich can’t squirrel away their money abroad and avoid paying their fair share.The problem is - they seem to have used a chainsaw where they should have used a scalpel. The US is the only developed nation that taxes people based on citizenship rather than country of residence, so expat citizens have to pay US tax as well as taxes to their country of residence. This is a crazy policy, but was unenforceable until FACTA secured the data from overseas banks.Now this bizarre law is being enforced. They have made life truly miserable for genuine expats who are living and working abroad. They have made business from US citizens so burdensome that most overseas banks and brokers simply turn it away. And expats are faced with the prospect of paying tax to both the US and to their country of residence, which seems grossly unjust, not to mention counterproductive.Making it impossible for US citizens to live and work abroad is a terrible idea. Apart from the infringement of liberty, it will reduce US soft power.FACTA is also damaging US relations with their allies. The US bullied overseas banks into providing the IRS with information, and secured agreement from participating Governments by promising reciprocity from US banks. There was never any real intention of reciprocating, so the arrangement is lopsided and and based on a knowing lie. US States such as Delaware are fast becoming the world’s most secure haven for tax dodgers, which is hardly a recipe for improving US prestige and influence.And there is also the issue of the Accidental Americans - people who were born in the US but who left as infants and have never lived, studied, worked or voted in the US. They are being hounded for huge amounts of back tax, and their lives are being blighted. The US has made it virtually impossible for them to renounce this accidental citizenship, so they are trapped. This is totally unjustifiable and a scar on the good name of the USA - especially from a country founded on the principle of “No Taxation Without Representation”. It’s very lucrative and the victims can’t vote, so Congress is cynically turning a blind eye and doing nothing to remedy the unfairness. Let’s call this by its proper name - it’s barefaced theft.As an international community we need to work together to deal with large-scale tax avoidance and tax evasion. The alternative is a world dominated by a tiny oligarchy of super-rich individuals and corporations. FACTA is an important first step, but it’s badly structured and needs urgent attention. Unfortunately this type of highly technical legislation is clearly beyond the capacity of the the baby Cheeto currently occupying the Oval Office, so don’t hold your breath.
Does everyone in the world really want to become a citizen of the United States of America?
No. I’m an example of a British person living happily in the USA for now, as a legal non-citizen. My reasons for not taking American citizenship are:There would be no advantage to me other than being able to vote or hold certain government jobs.As I am married to an American it’s unlikely that I would ever be ejected from the USA, unless I do something illegal or monumentally stupid.I always have the option of returning to the UK. If I fell seriously ill, this is more than likely what I would do. As I paid into the NHS with my NI contributions for around 40 years and didn’t use it much during that time, I don’t think that would be unreasonable of me.I had a friend in a similar position. They had worked in the US for only about six months when they discovered they had bone cancer. As they had not worked long enough to have full medical coverage on insurance, they had no option but to return to the UK where they were promptly treated, and three years on are healthy and working again. The US company really needed their skills and keeps making them offers to come back, but the situation with health insurance is so tricky that they can’t risk it. A lose-lose situation for everyone except the insurance company.I can drop out of the US tax system again and transfer back to the UK tax system and the IRS will not have the right to pursue me across the world to have me pay taxes.Don’t get me wrong. I like it here. I’m living a middle class American life mostly, but the US is hardly beyond criticism, in fact I think that there are a whole lot of things need fixing which are widely discussed on Quora.But to answer the question further, while I’m happy to state my reasons for not becoming an American, there are a lot of people who won’t even come to the USA as they consider it too dangerous or regard the American way of life as being undesirable or just wrong.
Why is Duke Energy's stock dropping?
It isn’t actually! Their CEO’s salary has almost doubled over the last two years almost entirely because of her stock awards: Duke Energy CEO's Pay Jumped to $21M Last Year
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