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Foreign Vendors FAQ

I am not a US Citizen or permanent resident of the USA for federal tax purposes, how do I know if I need to complete a W-9 or a W-8?

W-9 forms are to be completed by US Citizens, permanent residents and resident aliens for federal tax purposes.

W-8 forms are to be completed by non-resident aliens for federal tax purposes.

How do I know if I am a resident alien or a non-resident alien for federal tax purposes?

Federal tax status is determined by performing the substantial presence test. It is not based on your current address or if you have a US SSN or ITIN. If you are not sure of your federal tax status, please contact for assistance.

Which version of form W-8 do I need to complete?

W-8 BEN is used only for individuals.

W-8 BEN-E is for all other entities, unless form

W-8 ECI, W-8 EXP or W8-IMY are appropriate.

W-8 ECI is used when an entity has a US branch (not a subsidiary) and is engaged in a US trade or business thru a permanent establishment. The entity files a US tax return. To be valid the form should contain a foreign address, US address and US EIN.

If the US organization is a subsidiary, it is a US person for federal tax purposes and should complete a W-9.

W-8 EXP is used when the foreign entity is a governmental entity or not-for-profit organization claiming exemption from Chapter 3 withholding tax under a specific IRC provision.

W-8 IMY is used when the foreign entity is either an intermediary not acting for its own account or is a fiscally transparent entity—either for U.S. income tax purposes or for income tax purposes in its resident country, such as a foreign trust or foreign partnership. Additional forms are required for each beneficial owner based on their tax status.

I already have an AU Vendor number, why am I being asked to complete a new W-8?

Unlike W-9 forms which do not expire, W-8 forms do. In general, W-8 forms are valid from the date signed until the last day of the third succeeding calendar year.

If I provide all the services outside the USA do I still need to complete a W-8 form?

Yes, the W-8 form is used to claim foreign status. If all compensated services are being performed outside the USA, please indicate this during registration and complete the foreign source certification.

What is Chapter 4 status (FACTA status) on the W-8 BEN-E?

FACTA status distinguishes foreign recipients between foreign financial institutions’ (FFI’s) and all other foreign entities, Non-financial foreign institutions (NFFE’s).

For definitions of all FACTA status types, see

Most common Non-Financial Foreign Entity Structures:

An active NFFE (non-financial foreign entity) is a foreign entity that is not a financial institution whose gross income comes more than 50 percent from non-passive sources and more than 50 percent of its assets are held for the production of non-passive income. This will be the most common choice, i.e., a normal nonfinancial foreign operating company.

A publically traded NFFE is an NFFE that is traded on one or more established securities markets.

An excepted territory NFFE is an NFFE organized in a possession of the U.S.

A passive NFFE is a foreign entity that does not have substantial U.S. owners or has provided the names of the owners and does not meet any of the other NFFE categories.