IRS Releases New IRS Form W8-BEN. * U.S. citizens and LPRs beware of completing such form at the request of a third party.
Hot off the press!
The long awaited revised IRS Form W8-BEN has been released (March 2014). The major changes to IRS Forms W8, particularly W-8BEN-E (which is still in draft form), have been driven by the changes in the law under FATCA.
Importantly, no U.S. citizen can legally sign and certify they are NOT a “U.S. person” under U.S. federal tax law. Hence, they cannot sign and complete IRS Form W-8BEN.
The form, as is true with all IRS forms, is signed under penalty of perjury. For a discussion of tax crimes of filing false documents see What could be the focal point of IRS Criminal Investigations of Former U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents?.
Some key highlights of information on new IRS Form W-8BEN is set out below:
Importantly, lawful permanent residents (“LPRs”) have a much more complicated analysis to undertake to determine whether they ARE or are NOT a “U.S. person.”
One of the key considerations of this determination is whether the individual lives in the U.S. or is living outside the U.S. in a country which has a U.S. income tax treaty with the U.S. See Oops…Did I “Expatriate” and Never Know It: Lawful Permanent Residents Beware! International Tax Journal, CCH Wolters Kluwer, Jan.-Feb. 2014, Vol. 40 Issue 1, p9.