Important Clarification re. W-8 Form for Non-US Authors, Affiliates & Service Providers

Hi All,

In our answers in the last two days, one question that we’ve repeatedly answered is to tell authors that if they don’t have a foreign tax identification number that you could write “Not Provided”. This is correct, however this morning we had a call with our own advisors and when this came up, we learned that in fact while you can do this, it does mean we can’t apply the benefit of the treaty rate reduction (i.e. the US RWHT applied will be 30%) :frowning:

So if you’re in a non-treaty country, it doesn’t matter, and completing the W-8 form at least ensures we don’t need to treat you as a US author! But for anyone else, you may wish to consider resubmitting.

We’re sorry for the confusion!

So we are:

  • Posting this update and apology
  • Going to contact any author who has already completed a W-8 Form to let them know they should consider resubmitting (read the information below)
  • Changing our online form to be clearer on this point

And here’s a better answer on this question.

I don’t have a US TIN or a foreign tax identity number, what should I do?

When you complete the W-8 Form, if you are in a country with a tax treaty rate for US RWHT, then you need to add a tax identification number to claim a treaty benefit. Here’s how:

  • If you have a tax number from your own country (i.e. a “foreign tax identification number”), then add that into the W-8 form where specified. If you’re not sure what is the right number in your country, talk to a tax advisor or accountant. You may need to apply to your country’s government or tax authority.
  • Alternately, you can apply and get a US number called an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number). There is a simple application process with the IRS that involves a form called the W-7. You find the instructions and form here. Assuming you’re not a US person, then you will most likely be completing the form as a “Nonresident alien required to get ITIN to claim tax treaty benefit”. Don’t stress, in the US everyone from elsewhere is an alien :slight_smile:

Note that if you’re a non-US corporation and don’t have a foreign country ID number, then you have to apply for a US Employer Identification Number (EIN), using Form SS-4 Application for Employer Identification Number

If you are in a non-treaty country and/or don’t want to provide a tax identification number, please check “I will not or am unable to provide a Tax ID Number”. If you choose this option, the US RWHT applied will be 30% even if your country has a treaty.

As always, consult a tax advisor or accountant for assistance, or check the IRS website.