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Scottish Mernymph

W8 BEN what on earth?

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This is what I gathered:

 

Form W8-BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for U.S. Tax Withholding, is used by a foreign person to establish both foreign status and beneficial ownership, and to claim income tax treaty benefits with respect to income other than compensation for personal services. Basically it is used by non-resident aliens who do work and/or make income in the U.S. or by 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 form.

 

Maybe they require him to fill this out as a formality before his Green Card is issued... for some reason they are mixing up that he is a non-resident when in fact he is a resident. You might want to go back to the bank and explain your situation and get them to explain to you why you need to have this form filled out.

 

Hope this helped!


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Posted (edited)

Unsure why this form would be need to be filled out, it shouldn't quite apply to you. My husband was never required to fill out anything like that. They are conflating the issue that you are technically a non-resident in limbo status before you are given LPR status. None of that really matters though as you can be claimed as a resident for tax purposes on jointly filed taxes for instance. The bank needs to clearly explain to you why they are requesting it to be filled out, and they need to clearly understand your status.

 

This link sort of explains about the form in context https://www.windhambrannon.com/news/why-is-your-financial-institution-requesting-a-form-w-8ben-from-you  Not sure how the bank contacted you, but be also advised the IRS itself warns about scam mail soliciting such a form to be filled out. https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-warns-of-variation-of-form-w-8ben-scam-crooks-impersonate-irs-to-get-banking-and-other-information

Edited by yuna628

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See my husbands bank also said that I need to fill up W8 BEN after I gave them my ssn and all the information on my passport.  When we read what W8 BEN is, it doesn’t seem to apply to me. I’m unemployed which we told them. No foreign income to declare and such. We are going to try to call the bank tomorrow to have someone explain to us why we need this form. 

 

@Scottish Mernymph if you don’t mind me asking what bank was asking for that W8 BEN?  Ours was USAA.

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Posted (edited)

When my wife and I opened a joint bank account we had to fill one out.

The lady at the credit union explained because she didn't a SSN/ITIN/GC the only way we could open a joint account was to complete the W8. Also, I also had to be primary on the account.  They took a copy of her passport and my ID, we signed some other papers, and we were on our way. 

 

Other than the 15-20 min it took for them to figure out how to open an account for someone without a SSN/ITIN, there were no issues. 

 

HSFCU is where we opened the account.

Edited by Scott001

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7 minutes ago, Scott001 said:

When my wife and I opened a joint bank account we had to fill one out.

The lady at the credit union explained because she didn't a SSN/ITIN/GC the only way we could open a joint account was to complete the W8. Also, I also had to be primary on the account.  They took a copy of her passport and my ID, we signed some other papers, and we were on our way. 

 

Other than the 15-20 min it took for them to figure out how to open an account for someone without a SSN/ITIN, there were no issues. 

 

HSFCU is where we opened the account.

But I have a ssn and my husband just want to add me to his account. 

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3 minutes ago, Pengunista said:

But I have a ssn and my husband just want to add me to his account. 

You probably didn't need to fill one out. Maybe it has something to do with interest-bearing accounts?  (Now I wish i worked for a bank haha). 

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8 minutes ago, Scott001 said:

You probably didn't need to fill one out. Maybe it has something to do with interest-bearing accounts?  (Now I wish i worked for a bank haha). 

Hahahah. Yeah, I’m curious what they would say when we call tomorrow. All the information that’s on the W8 BEN are information that I provided them already, we even did an electronic signature that they asked us. 

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30 minutes ago, purem4g1c said:

I had to fill out a W8 Ben form when I opened my TD Bank USA card. It was something to do with tax treaty so that you don't get double taxed for earning income in USA + your home country.

So even if my husband is just adding me to his account and I am unemployed and have no foreign income to declare I still need this W8 BEN

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17 minutes ago, Pengunista said:

So even if my husband is just adding me to his account and I am unemployed and have no foreign income to declare I still need this W8 BEN

if you dont' have social insurance number etc you probably need it yea, but if you have it and you're trying to adjust i don't see any need for w8 ben?

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6 minutes ago, purem4g1c said:

if you dont' have social insurance number etc you probably need it yea, but if you have it and you're trying to adjust i don't see any need for w8 ben?

And that’s where I am, have ssn and adjusting. My interview has just been scheduled. We will be calling the bank later and see what they say. 

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Scottish Mernymph said:

We just filed for AOS

Husband's bank have requested I fill in W8 BEN form, in addition to supplying them with my passport & SSN (which I have )....we had a look at the W8 BEN but can't understand why or what it's about. ....please help,  thanks 

 

It has nothing to do with your employment when the bank asks for it. Banks often pay interest on money in the account. They report at the end of the year the total interest paid (on form 1099-INT) and it goes on the tax return and is taxed. Same thing happens when you earn dividends or other investment income. 

 

So for a foreigner, there is a legal requirement that the bank hold out 30% of the interest earned and only put 70% in your account. That's in case you don't file a tax return. The bank is treating you as the standard foreigner because you really have nothing that says you are authorized to remain in the US. You have an I-94 which allows you only 90 days. It's typical of "how do we handle a K1 who is a resident but not really." The bank is not an immigration specialist and is just trying to do their mandated paperwork.

 

i believe the bank would be off the hook if you provided a W-9 on which you provide your SSN, and certify by signing that it is your correct SSN and you are not subject to that 30% withholding. An individual doesn't not need an exemption code. You just state your are not required to have backup withholding. If the bank wants more info about why exempt, have your husband explain that as a person married to a US citizen, the IRS will treat you as a resident alien for tax purposes and allow you to file a joint return even if you lived at the North Pole.( IRS Publication 519) 

 

It's just paperwork. In reality your husband as the primary account holder would have the interest reported to the IRS on his SSN anyway. And even if the bank held out 30% of the interest earned, it would amount to pennies. Interest earned on a checking account is not very high. Now if you also held a big CD at the bank at a higher rate of interest it might be a few dollars held back. Big deal. And they don't keep your money, but send it to the IRS. It's kinda like when an employer holds out money for your taxes. When you file a tax return, it all gets sorted and anything over paid would be refunded. 

Edited by Wuozopo

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I just came from the bank and had to fill a W8 form to open a joint account with my husband. No big deal, it only asks for address, ssn and basic stuff like that. The only thing is that the permanent residency has to be somewhere outside the country. I put my mother's address back in my home country.

 

The consultant at the bank said it is mandatory to fill one until I get the green card.

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Until you're a US resident for tax purposes, aka have an ssn, they can ask for a W8Ben. Once you have an SSN fill out a w9 and update the bank


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