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US Form W-8BEN

 I am the company accountant for UK based company.  We are about to enter a contract for work with a US corporation.  The work is to be undertaken in the UK, and invoiced in sterling.  The US corp have asked us to complete for W-8BEN to avoid withholding tax.  Is this required given all work will be undertaken in the UK?

Many thanks in adavnce.

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27th Jun 2012 12:37

No

If the work was not performed in the United States, then a W-8BEN is not required.  There is no US tax withholding or documentation requirement for services performed outside the United States.

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By Jill777
27th Jun 2012 12:46

Many thanks for this, it didn't make sense!

 

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27th Jun 2012 12:58

I agree with thisistibi - However...

Do not simply dismiss the W-8BEN out of hand, ensure that whoever has sent it acknowledges that this is sent in error and is not appropriate to your situation and confirms this in writing.

This is much easier than doing the work, invoicing and then receiving a payment less withholding tax because they don't have a W-8BEN form filed for your company.

If you start getting grief it might be worthwhile just filling out the form anyway because it will have no material effect to a UK company, although the general recommendation is that this is signed by a company director.

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29th Jun 2012 14:54

May need to complete

As frustratedwithhmrc says, despite the theoretical lack of need, you may have to complete it anyway. I had a case recently where a UK based customer of a UK client was acquired by a US company. US company insisted that W-8BEN was completed by all suppliers to its new UK subsidiary

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20th Jul 2012 14:59

So confused

I have a similar issue with lots of US customers for a contract delivered out of the UK.  Our US tax advisor is telling us not to complete the W8-BEN under any circumstances, but our customers are all telling us they can't pay us without one.

What happens if we complete the form and our customer is audited by the IRS?  By completing this form are we laying ourselves open to any kind of US tax liability?  I just want to get paid, but I don't want to do the wrong thing and store up problems for the future!

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20th Jul 2012 15:25

No

There is no problem doing a W8-BEN even where it is not strictly required.  The W8-BEN is a declaration by the UK company that it is not liable for US taxes.  So it supports the UK company's position that no US tax liability arises.  And there is no risk to the customer either.

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19th Aug 2013 12:59

W-8BEN form travel expense

If the company is based in UK and the travel expenses incurred are reimbursed along with the meeting time and days stayed in UK for example 2 days in 1 month. Does that income needs to be taxed in USA or still get Double Tax Relief.

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