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I incorporated an LLC as a nonresident non etbus sole owner and one of my clients is asking for a W9. When I offered a W8 instead, they declined and stated I need to provide them the W9. I’m looking for resources to tell them I should not send them one but the IRS is vague and some blogposts say this but doesn’t seem to convince them.

Should I provide them a W9 with the LLC EIN even if the LLC is a disregarded pass trough entity or should I insist the W8 is the only form I can provide?

AFAIK the W9 for pass trough LLCs should be filled with personal info and not the company name, EIN and address, meaning I will 1. Fill the form incorrectly or 2. Need an ITIN/SSN I don’t currently have.

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  • An LLC can't be an employee (only people can be). Can you clarify what you mean by "employer" in your question?
    – gaefan
    May 4 at 19:52
  • Sorry about that, you are right. Employer should read as “company contracting my services”.
    – mbalparda
    May 4 at 19:55
  • It probably doesn't matter, but what does "non etbus" mean? May 7 at 4:57
  • Etbus means engaged in trade or business in the US.
    – mbalparda
    May 7 at 10:25
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The document that you might want to refer them to is IRS Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities.

In the section called “Documentation,” it has this to say about Forms W-9 and W-8:

Form W-9. In most cases, you can treat the payee as a U.S. person if the payee gives you a Form W-9. The Form W-9 can be used only by a U.S. person and must contain the payee's TIN.

and

Forms W-8. In most cases, a foreign payee of the income should give you a form in the Form W-8 series.

However, I’m not sure about your assertion that your U.S. LLC allows you to remain a non-U.S. person. This article from Chron about non-citizens owning LLCs seems to imply that you need to obtain a TIN from the IRS for your LLC.

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  • I got a TIN for the LLC, an EIN. But given that I’m a sole owner of a disregarded entity, I should not use that EIN in the W9 but my personal SSN/TIN which I don’t have or need because I’m foreign. That’s the main reason to fill the W8 instead. Irt being a US person, I don’t match the criteria outlined here irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/…
    – mbalparda
    May 6 at 10:27
  • Here’s the source about not using the LLC EIN in the W9: w9manager.com/…
    – mbalparda
    May 6 at 10:31
  • @mbalparda You could be right. I don’t know much about this. May 6 at 12:20

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