March 4, 2014: Release of Updated Final Version of Form W-8BEN (with Instructions) for Individuals
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
Release of final version of Form W-8BEN, “certificate of foreign status of beneficial owner for United States tax withholding and reporting (Individuals)” with instructions
On March 4, 2014, the IRS released a finalized version of Form W-8BEN for individuals. In addition to the changes included in the draft released in June 2012, the finalized version adds
(i) a date of birth field and (ii) language in the “Certification” section requiring the signatory to agree to submit a new form within thirty days of any change that would make any certification on the form incorrect. The addition of the date of birth field is an expected outcome of the U.S. entering into reciprocal Intergovernmental Agreements (“IGAs”) with other countries to implement FATCA. In the reciprocal IGAs, the U.S. agrees to provide certain income information collected on residents of the other jurisdiction that have accounts in U.S. financial institutions. The date of birth field is required on the form in addition to a foreign tax identifying number, if any. The thirty day notification for changes that affect the validity of any certification on the form is also not a surprise given that the final regulations contained the thirty day requirement.
Unfortunately, the more complicated Forms W-8BEN-E and W-8IMY have yet to be released but the IRS has publically stated that they should be released in the coming weeks. The financial services industry, as well as other industries, has been pushing for the new forms to be released given the short amount of time left before FATCA becomes effective and the amount of work necessary to update systems, processes and procedures to accommodate the new forms. Hopefully the release of the Form W-8BEN and instructions is a sign that the wait for these other forms may be almost over.
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