Agency requires signing a tax form - feedback needed
Thread poster: Jenny Nilsson

Jenny Nilsson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 09:45
English to Swedish
May 12, 2011

I am wondering if anyone has experience with agencies that require signing a tax form? Apparently, for a particular agency, as a translator, I must fill in a US tax form to be able to take jobs from them but I have never been asked to do this before so I am a bit wary. Is this normal? I believe the company is not American and i am not a US citizen. I have sent them the question why I must fill in this form but have not gotten a reply. Advice?

[Edited at 2011-05-12 11:06 GMT]


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 08:45
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No, I have never been asked to (in 30 years as a freelancer) May 12, 2011

Anyway, if the company is not American and you are not an American citizen, why should you sign such a document???

 

Jenny Nilsson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 09:45
English to Swedish
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, strange... May 12, 2011

There were two different forms for US tax payers and non US tax payers but I as you have never encountered this before either it is a little strange.
I will try to email them again as I would like to give it a chance since I don't get many assignements and really need the work. Hope they will answer me this time...


 

Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:45
English to French
+ ...
Not unless you live in the USA May 12, 2011

That is only for US tax payers, and even then not all US agencies require it.

Tell them that, because you don't have a US Social Security number, you can't sign it. Some agencies are VERY dense, and might not understand. Such agencies are best left to your competitors.


 

imatahan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:45
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I've been asked to May 12, 2011

I've been asked to by an american company, and I'm brazilian. I didn't sign it.

 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:45
English to German
+ ...
W-8BEN? May 12, 2011

This is not a "tax form", this is simply a form that is used internally to advise the accounting department that you are NOT a US citizen or resident and that NO taxes are being withheld.




Addendum:

Does it look like this?

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw8ben.pdf

icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2011-05-12 14:15 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:45
English to German
+ ...
More info about this form May 12, 2011

W-8BEN
Form W-8BEN, 2006

The W-8BEN form (entitled Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding) is used in the United States taxation system by foreign persons (including corporations) to certify their non-American status. The form, issued by the Internal Revenue Service, establishes that one is a non-resident alien or foreign corporation, to avoid or reduce tax withholding from U.S. source income, such as rents from U.S. property, interest on U.S. bank deposits or dividends paid by U.S. corporations. The W-8BEN form should be given to the withholding agent such as a property manager, bank or stock broker, and not the IRS. The form is not used for U.S. wages and salaries earned by non-resident aliens (in which case form W-4 is used), or for U.S. freelance (dependent personal services) income (in which case form 8233 is used).

The form requires the foreign person to provide a U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number unless the U.S. income is dividends or interest from actively traded or similar investments.

Many non-US entities (notably private Canadian companies with no US presence) who sell goods to US customers are often asked by the US Customer to fill out a W-8BEN form to receive full payment. There is much confusion on this subject, as the US customer believes that it must withhold some amount of the payment to the non-US supplier if there is no W-8BEN on file - while the non-US supplier feels that it has no exposure to the US IRS because it is performing no taxable service within the US to justify tax withholding. In this regard, the guidelines should be clearer for how or why foreign suppliers need to file W-8BEN with US customers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRS_tax_forms#W_series


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:45
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
W-8BEN May 12, 2011

Nicole Schnell wrote:
This is not a "tax form", this is simply a form that is used internally to advise the accounting department that you are NOT a US citizen or resident and that NO taxes are being withheld.


I agree. And if the client sent you a W9 form instead, tell him that you don't pay taxes in the US and then send him a W8 form instead.

The client's name is not mentioned on the form, so you can fill in the form, print it, sign it, and scan it, and keep the JPG on file to send to any new US client. Hopefully their accountant will love you for being so smart.

Apart from the form (linked to by Nicole), also get the instructions for filling it in:
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/iw8ben.pdf
although it is really simple to fill in.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:45
English to German
+ ...
Excellent advice May 12, 2011

Samuel Murray wrote:
The client's name is not mentioned on the form, so you can fill in the form, print it, sign it, and scan it, and keep the JPG on file to send to any new US client. Hopefully their accountant will love you for being so smart.


 

Jenny Nilsson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 09:45
English to Swedish
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you everyone for your replies May 12, 2011

I have looked into the form itself and it is indeed a w-8ben. I take it from what several of you have said, that it needs to be signed not because of me or the agency but because of potential US clients. I see nothing wrong with signing it and there is even a way that I can sign it electronically (great, since I do not own a scanner).

Thanks for clearing it up for me.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:45
English to German
+ ...
Sorry, this is not correct. May 12, 2011

JL01 wrote:

That is only for US tax payers, and even then not all US agencies require it.

Tell them that, because you don't have a US Social Security number, you can't sign it. Some agencies are VERY dense, and might not understand. Such agencies are best left to your competitors.


The purpose of this form is quite the opposite, namely to indicate that you are not a US company, citizen or resident.

Well-organized companies provide such forms. The forms will never be forwarded to the IRS, but the company needs to have this proof on hand in case they are audited, which can happen at random and at any time to any company, small or large.


 
W-8 BEN for Foreign Vendors/Universities May 11, 2012

Colleagues,
I am in the position of having to request that several overseas universities complet W8 BEN forms. In part 1, question 3, vendors are asked to identify themselves. None of the categories provided seem to apply to a university. Can anyone offer advice on how this should be completed? Similarly, section 2 asks a series of questions about Tax Treaty Benefits that few overseas universities will likely understand. Can this section be ignored (and the form simply signed with the vendor's name and address appearing in section one)? If not, can anyone offer advice for overseas universities on how to complete this? Finally, does anyone happen to know how/why the US assumes that foreign vendors - most of whom, obviously, are not native speakers of English - should be willing to complete this form at all? I can only imagine the reponse if a US institution were sent the equivalent form in Chinese or French and told to complete it in order to be paid.


 


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Agency requires signing a tax form - feedback needed

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