Originally Posted March 17th 2011 on my old blog. All information should be accurate, any changes please let me know!
How to fill out a W-8BEN form
—Non-US Citizens, those who do not file a US Tax Return—
W-8BEN form located here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw8ben.pd
Instructions for W-8Ben located here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/iw8ben.pd
This is a guide for individual authors outside of the USA to fill out the W-8BEN form to prevent with-holdings on their royalties only. Other types of income might be different.
In order to fill out this from you MUST already have a Individual Tax Payer identification Number (ITIN), details instructions for filling out the form are found on my blog here: http://angelasstone.livejournal.com/1377
I did this to the letter and had my ITIN in about 8 weeks after sending in the forms. It may take as long as 10 weeks during peak tax times.
Once you receive your ITIN fill the form out and mail it back to your PUBLISHER (withholding Agent) immediately, this will prevent them from withholding your royalties!
1- Your full legal name as it appears on your taxes.
2- The country you live in/pay taxes in (Canada for me)
3- Type of beneficial owner: Check the box that says “Individual” ONLY
4- Your physical address/street address NO PO boxes or In care of addresses here!
5- Your mailing address, if it’s the same as above you do not have to repeat, but may want to anyway.
6- Your ITIN number from the IRS, select the box “SSN or ITIT” as well
7- Your foreign tax number (In Canada your SIN number as an example)
8- Is not applicable unless you require it to identify a specific account, leave it BLANK in-case your publisher needs to add something in here.
9a- Select this box and write your country in the line provided. Same country as you applied for your ITIN under (so for me Canada)
9b- Select this box as you provided an ITIN
9c- DO NOT select this box
9d- DO NOT select this box
9e- DO NOT select this box
–This is the most complicated part-
According to the instructions:
“Persons claiming treaty benefits on royalties if the treaty contains different withholding rates for different types of royalties”So we are required to identify the withhold rate-if any- for the withholding agent.
Let’s break it down, On the form it states:
Special rates and conditions (if applicable—see instructions): The beneficial owner is claiming the provisions of Article ____ of the treaty identified on line 9a above to claim a ____% rate of withholding on (specify type of income): ____
So the “Article ____ of the treaty “ is the SAME article that you use for your ITIN so for Canada it’s article XII, UK is Article 12, etc. If you are not sure or want to double check here is the list of countries and their treaties: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/internatio
Next: “to claim a ____% rate of withholding” You need to check out Publication 515, Table 1 Here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p515.pdf
Look under “royalties”
We fall under Income Code 12-Other (according to Publication 515: Other royalties (for example, copyright, recording, publishing) (Income Code 12). This category refers to the royalties paid for the use of copyrights on books, periodicals, articles etc., except motion picture and television copyrights.) Same rates as Copyrights/Patients.
You will see a number (0 for Canada and the UK 5 for Australia) that number is the % of rate of withholding. Fill that number in under ____% rate of withholding.
(specify type of income): ____
Write: “Royalties-12, Other” Meaning that is the rate for withholding is based on Royalties, Income code 12, Other.
Explain the reasons the beneficial owner meets the terms of the treaty article:
This is the reason the Beneficial owner qualifies for the exemption, as we are all claiming treaties based on our residence. You can state something like: Beneficial Owner is a resident of Canada, meeting the terms of the treaty under Article IV (Residence). Again check your Country’s treaty (link above) to see which article is listed as Residence (Article 4 for the UK)
11- DO NOT select this box
Sign and Date!
Again send registered mail to your publisher(s), sending registered mail is always a good idea esp. When it includes personal tax information.
That’s it! Thankfully this form is a lot more straight forward than the W-7 form! Any question I will do my best to help, or check out: http://www.irs.gov/localcontacts/article/0,
Any questions feel free to let me know
Angela S. Stone