Define: W-8 Form

UK Accounting Glossary

Definition: W-8 Form



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Full Definition of W-8 Form


A W-8 Form is a request by a payer for a foreign payee’s tax withholding status under the United States Internal Revenue Code. The W-8 form is completed by the payee and returned to the payer. The payer references the information contained in a completed W-8 Form when determining whether such payer is required to withhold taxes from the payee or withhold at a reduced rate based on an income tax treaty. From the standpoint of the payer, a W-8 Form functions much the same as a W-9 Form, except a W-8 Form is for foreign payees instead of domestic ones (i.e. nonresident alien, any foreign corporation, partnership, trust, or estate). The most common purpose of a W-8 Form is to state to brokers and mutual fund companies that the foreign payee is not subject to U.S. tax withholding.

There are four versions of the W-8 Form. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service requires payers to issue the following versions of the W-8 Form under these conditions:

  • Form W-8BEN, when the payee is the sole beneficiary (the most common class of W-8 Form)
  • Form W-8ECI, when the payment is a function of a foreign business operating under U.S. laws
  • Form W-8EXP, to any foreign organization that claims exemption status
  • Form W-8IMY, to any intermediary of the foreign beneficiary of the payment

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Definition Sources


Definitions for W-8 Form are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 5th February 2020.