W-8BEN Form -- IRS
Thread poster: Caroline Grenache

Caroline Grenache  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:37
English to French
+ ...
Apr 7, 2011

Has anyone ever had to fill out a W-8BEN Form for IRS (USA)? I am based out of Canada and this is my first time dealing with a U.S.-based company; I am not sure I completely understand what the form says. Am I correct in understanding that a 30% tax rate will be deducted from my payments by the IRS?

If anyone has experience with this type of procedure, I'd be happy to hear about it.

Thank you!

[Edited at 2011-04-07 21:20 GMT]


Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:37
English to French
+ ...
Surprised Apr 7, 2011

Why would a tax be retained by the IRS from an invoice paid to a foreign vendor? Unless you are a US taxpayer.

Wikipedia a quelques détails (pas d'une grande clarté d'ailleurs) sur la question: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRS_tax_forms#W_series.

Prudence, en tout cas.


Maika Vicente Navarro  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
W-8BEN Form IRS Apr 7, 2011

Dear Caroline,

As far as I know about form W-8BEN, is to collect your information for the US company's records.

There are two forms the W-8, for non US citizens that pay taxes somewhere else and the W-9, for US citizens that pay taxes in USA.

I am not sure whether they will reduce you payments by 30%, technically they shouldn't since you are not an US taxpayer. This form is to inform them that you are a external contractor and that you pay taxes in another country, Canada in your case.

I have filled a W-9, since I reside in US. And IRS hasn't witheld any payments in my name. I do have to pay my state taxes as Sole Propietor (as they call freelancers) and US federal tax next year.

In any case, you should ask IRS if you unsure, they are usually quite efficient in answering.


Caroline Grenache  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:37
English to French
+ ...
Thank you! Apr 7, 2011

Thank you Telperie for the information. I will contact them for further info.


Luis Arri Cibils  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:37
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
W-8 and W-9 forms Apr 7, 2011

Although the W-8 and W-9 Forms are prepared by the IRS, the agency does not receive a copy of whatever you fill. These forms simply release the agency/outsourcer of any liability from not withholding any taxes you may owe to the IRS. They keep them in their files just in case they are audited by the IRS.

In the W-9 forms, we, US citizens and permanent residents, certify that we are independent freelancers, that the IRS has never required us to get the taxes we owe withheld from any payments we may receive, and that we will pay any taxes we owe whenever they are due. The agency/outsercer will send us at the end of the year a 1099 form, with copy to the IRS, stating all our personal information, name, address, social security number, etc. (so the IRS can come against us, if we do not pay the due taxes), and the amount they paid us. We, and not the agency/client, are the only responsible parties for paying the taxes owed.

In the W-8 forms, the foreigner providing a service such as a translation, certify under oath or penalty of perjury, that he or she is a foreigner, not subject to US taxation (or, if they are, they will pay the taxes, not the agency.)

In short, these forms just release the client of any responsability regarding any taxes the translator may otherwise owe. The client will not withhold any taxes and you will be able to receive in full any payments owed to you without any tax deduction.

Signing any of these two forms does not create any obligations you don't already have, and you should be able to receive full payment from the client. Of course, if you lied in the form, you may not want to come under the US jurisdiction.


[Edited at 2011-04-08 00:00 GMT]


Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:37
French to English
+ ...
Common generally Apr 8, 2011

I can't speak for translation agencies specifically, but I'm signed up to programs with a few US companies like Google, Apple etc, and it's common to have to fill in a form effectively saying "I'm not a US citizen so please pay me my gross earnings and I will legally pay my taxes in the country in which I'm domiciled". Although a bit Big-Brotherish, it doesn't sound terribly unusual.


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W-8BEN Form -- IRS

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