Completing FATCA Forms

Modifications have recently been made to the forms that foreign individuals and entities complete in conjunction with FATCA. The 2014 Form W-8BEN is for use solely by foreign individuals, while Form W-8BEN-E is for use by entities. Payment recipients with non-beneficial owner status are required to submit Form W-8IMY...

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Form W-8IMY is submitted generally by a payment recipient (the "filer") with non-beneficial owner status, i.e. an intermediary. Such intermediary can be a U.S. branch, a qualified intermediary, a non-qualified intermediary, foreign partnership, foreign grantor or a foreign simple trust. Form W-8IMY requires a tax identification number. The new Form W-8IMY has 28 parts whereas the previous August 2013 FATCA draft W-8IMY only contained 26. The new 2014 Form W-8IMY is vastly different from the seven-part 2006 predecessor form.

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Analysis of the W-8BEN

Foreign individuals (non-resident aliens -- NRAs) must use Form W-8BEN to document their foreign status and claim any applicable treaty benefits for chapter 3 purposes, including a foreign individual that is the single member of an entity that is disregarded for U.S. tax purposes.

The NRA must give the Form W-8BEN to the withholding agent or payer if he/she is the beneficial owner of an amount subject to withholding, or if he/she an account holder of an FFI, then to the FFI to document his/her status as a nonresident alien. Note that a sole member of a "disregarded" entity is considered the beneficial owner of income received by the disregarded entity, and thus the sole member must provide a W-8BEN.

If the income or account is jointly owned by more than one person, the income or account will be treated by the withholding agent as owned by a foreign person that is a beneficial owner of a payment only if Forms W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E are provided by EVERY owner of the account. If the withholding agent or financial institution receives a Form W-9 from any of the joint owners, then the payment must be treated as made to a U.S. person and the account treated as a U.S. account.

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Analysis of the W-8BEN-E

The W-8BEN-E form has thirty parts that can be catalogued into four sections. The filer's primary focus will be on Part I. By the way, the draft W-8BEN-E form only had twenty-seven, and the former W8BEN in use since 2006 has just four parts.

Identifying Information and Choice of Classification Part: All filers of the new W-8BEN-E must complete Parts I (Identifying Information and FATCA Classification). Part I of the W-8BEN-E requires general information, the QI status, and the FATCA classification of the filer. Question 4 of Part I requests the QI status. If the filer is a disregarded entity, partnership, simple trust, or grantor trust, and also is claiming benefits under a U.S. tax treaty, then the filer must complete Part III. Part I, Question 5 requests the FATCA classification of the filer, of which the form list thirty-one choices (see analysis below). The classification indicated determines which one of the Parts IV through XXVIII must be completed.

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Who Must Provide W-8BEN-E?

A foreign entity must submit a Form W-8BEN-E to the withholding agent if it will receive a FATCA withholdable payment, receive a payment subject to chapter 3 withholding, or if it maintains an account with an FFI.


All Beneficial Owners

Form W-8 BEN-E must be provided by ALL the entities that are beneficial owners of a payment, or of another entity that is the beneficial owner. If the income or account is jointly owned by more than one person, then the income or account will be treated by the withholding agent as owned by a foreign beneficial owner only if Forms W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E are provided by EVERY owner of the account.

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Who Should Not Use Form W-8BEN-E?

US Person
: If the filer is a US person (including US citizens, resident aliens, and entities treated as US persons, such as a corporation organized under the law of a state), then submit Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification.


Foreign Insurance Company: A foreign insurance company that has made an election under section 953(d) to be treated as a U.S. person should submit Form W-9 to certify its "U.S. status" even if it is an FFI for FATCA purposes. Certain foreign insurance companies issuing annuities or cash value insurance contracts that elect to be treated as a U.S. person for federal tax purposes but are not licensed to do business in the United States are treated as FFIs for purposes of chapter 4. For purposes of providing a withholding agent with documentation for both chapter 3 and chapter 4 purposes, however, such an insurance company is permitted to use Form W-9 to certify its status as a U.S. person.

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Expiration of Form W-8BEN-E

Generally, a Form W-8BEN-E will remain valid for purposes of both chapters 3 and 4 for a period starting on the date the form is signed and ending on the last day of the third succeeding calendar year, unless a change in circumstances makes any information on the form incorrect. For example, a Form W-8BEN signed on September 30, 2014 remains valid through December 31, 2017. However, under certain conditions a Form W-8BEN-E will remain in effect indefinitely until a change of circumstances occurs.

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Analysis of the Form W-8IMY

Part I of the W8-IMY Form adds FATCA classification. Part I of the form requires general information, the Chapter 3 QI status, and the Chapter 4 FATCA classification of the filer.

Question 4 of Part I requests the QI status:
If the filer is a Qualified Intermediary, then the filer must complete Part III Qualified Intermediary. If the filer is a Nonqualified Intermediary, then the filer must complete Part IV Nonqualified Intermediary.
Territory Financial Institutions complete Part V. U.S. Branches complete Part VI.
Withholding Foreign Partnership or Withholding Foreign Trusts complete Part VII.
Nonwithholding Foreign Partnership, Nonwithholding Foreign Simple Trust, and Nonwithholding foreign grantor trusts must complete Part VIII.

Question 5 requests the FATCA classification of the filer. The classification indicated determines which one of the Parts IX through XXVII must be completed.

Part II of this form is to be completed if the entity is a disregarded entity or a branch receiving payment as an intermediary. Part II only applies to branches of an FFI outside the FFI's country of residence.

Statement of General Certification

Part XXVIII requires certification, under penalty of perjury, by the payee or a person authorized to sign on the payee's behalf. Finally, the form contains the following language: "I agree that I will submit a new form within 30 days if any certification made on this form becomes incorrect."

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Practical Compliance for FATCA

The LexisNexis Guide to FATCA Compliance (2nd Edition), available at the LexisNexis® Store comprises 34 Chapters by 50 industry experts grouped in three parts: compliance program (Chapters 1–4), analysis of FATCA regulations (Chapters 5–16) and analysis of Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) and local law compliance challenges (Chapters 17–34), including intergovernmental agreements as well as the OECD's TRACE initiative for global automatic information exchange protocols and systems.

Information referenced herein is provided for educational purposes only. For legal advice applicable to the facts of your particular situation, you should obtain the services of a qualified attorney licensed to practice law in your state.

LEXIS users can view the complete commentary HERE. Additional fees may apply. (Approx. 18 pages)

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