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W-8 Form

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A W-8 Form is a request by a payer for a foreign payee's tax withholding status under the United States Internal Revenue Code. The W-8 Form is completed by the payee and returned to the payer. The payer references the information contained in a completed W-8 Form when determining whether such payer is required to withhold taxes from the payee or withhold at reduced rate based on an income tax treaty. From the standpoint of the payer, a W-8 Form functions much the same as a W-9 Form, except a W-8 Form is for foreign payees instead of domestic ones (i.e. nonresident alien, any foreign corporation, partnership, trust, or estate). The most common purpose of a W-8 Form is to state to brokers and mutual fund companies that the foreign payee is not subject to U.S. tax withholding.

There are four versions of the W-8 Form. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service requires payers to issue the following versions of the W-8 Form under these conditions:

-Form W-8BEN, when the payee is the sole beneficiary (the most common class of W-8 Form)
-Form W-8ECI, when the payment is a function of a foreign business operating under U.S. laws
-Form W-8EXP, to any foreign organization that claims exemption status
-Form W-8IMY, to any intermediary of the foreign beneficiary of the payment



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