October 24, 2013: Treasury Issues Request for Comments on Forms W-8
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
Treasury issues request for comments on Forms W-8
The U.S. Department of Treasury released a Notice requesting comments on the currently released draft Forms W-8 by December 23, 2013. The Notice includes a request for comments for the Form W-8BEN (individual beneficial owners), Form W-8BEN-E (entity beneficial owners), Form W-8IMY (intermediaries and flow-through), Form W-8ECI (income effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business), and the Form W-8EXP (exempt beneficial owners). Interestingly, the Notice also extends the comment request to the IRS’s E-W8 Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) Program. The E-W8 MOU Program is designed to provide pre-approval of a withholding agent’s electronic W-8 system which collects and in many cases helps validate, electronic versions of the Form W-8 or W-9.
Specifically, the IRS requests written comments of the following nature:
- Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the agency’s functions, including whether the information has practical utility;
- The accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the collection of information (the notice provides the IRS’s estimates);
- Methods or techniques to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the collected information;
- Methods or techniques to minimize the burden of information collection on respondents, including using automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and
- Estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation, maintenance and purchase of services to provide information.
To date, the IRS has not yet published instructions for the Forms W-8, which will make it more difficult for commenters to provide proper feedback. Although the Notice indicates that Martha Brinson can be contacted to request copies of the Forms and “instructions,” it is unclear whether instructions are currently available without having been posted or published. We have reached out to Ms. Brinson separately to confirm whether instructions can be provided. If she confirms affirmatively, we will provide an update for your convenience.
Given the December 23rd deadline, we expect that the IRS intends to publish final Forms W-8 by the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014. According to prior IRS comments, final instructions should be published at the same time or shortly thereafter.
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