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What to do if a bank or online marketplace asks for a W-9/W-8?

What to do if a bank or online marketplace asks for a W-9/W-8?
Ines Zemelman, EA
06 November 2020
 

Often, expats encounter a request for a TIN when their bank or online marketplace asks to furnish Forms W-9/W-8 and provide their US tax ID. 

If you are a U.S. person, you are required to fill out Form W-9

Form W-9 is a confirmation of the American tax residency status. All foreign banks participating in FATCA (80 countries and counting) are required to obtain a written statement from their clients confirming whether they are American citizens (If there is any indication that the account holder is either directly or indirectly connected to the United States).

This is not a request for proof of compliance from you. The bank will use your completed form W-9 as the proof of their own compliance for FATCA. Please fill out the form, sign it, and send it to the bank.

However, you should also be ready for the next step of the process: you’ll receive a letter from the bank asking for the proof of your compliance with the U.S. tax code.

If you are already in the process of preparing a tax return in order to apply for the Streamlined Procedure, then we’ll draft a letter to your bank confirming your compliance with the U.S. tax code once your Streamlined Procedure application package is complete.

If you are currently delinquent, the time to catch up is now. We can help you to get on top of filing your taxes and will guide you through every step of the process.

If you are not a U.S. person, you are required to fill out Form W-8

Form W-8 confirms your status as a non-U.S. person to the withholding agent. If you are a resident of a country that has a tax treaty with the U.S., you may be able to claim a reduced tax withholding rate on Form W-8 based on the conditions of the tax treaty.

If you are a resident of the country that does not have a tax treaty with the U.S. by filing form W-8 you will eliminate tax withholding on certain types of income from U.S. sources (i.e. bank interest or capital gains from the disposition of U.S. stocks).

Ines Zemelman, EA
founder of Taxes for Expats