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Who needs to fill out IRS tax form W-8?

Form W-8 is used filled out by non-resident aliens who do work and/or make income in the U.S. or foreign business entities who make income in the U.S. If you’re a legal citizen of the United States, at no point will you have to worry about filling out the W-8 tax forms. These tax forms are only used by foreign persons certifying their foreign status.

If you’re a non-resident alien living and working in the United States, then W-8 tax forms are the right federal income tax forms for you. Non-resident aliens are charged 30 percent on funds received by US companies. This is also why you can’t use the 1040 series of federal income tax forms when filing your taxes. Your taxes will be processed differently than other residents.

Other users of the W-8 federal income tax forms will be anyone working for a U.S. company but living in a foreign country that has entered into an income tax treaty with the United States. Quite a few countries have entered into these treaties, including Australia, Armenia, and the Netherlands. Our friends to the North and South, Canada and Mexico, have negotiated tax treaties with the U.S. as well. If you live in another country, but work for a U.S. company, you will most likely be asked by your employer to fill out a form W-8, too.

As stated above, certain corporations that perform business in the United States but have no actual presence in the country also use the W-8 federal income tax forms. This has caused some issues as the companies involved feel they should not be taxed in the U.S.. They claim they are not actually operating within the United States’ boundaries.

Another issue with the form is some claim it is ‘deceptively simple.’ If you have been asked to provide a form W-8 for the first time, or you’ve had trouble in the past you should hire an accountant or tax attorney. Any mistakes can be costly, so get it right the first time!

And finally, remember that form W-8 goes to the company who requested the form from you, not the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.


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