I'm a Indian student living in India. I have been selected for a Travel Award for attending a conference in a country that is neither US nor India. However, the conference organization is US-based and has asked me to fill the W8BEN form for further processing on their end.

I can find the Ww8ben form at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw8ben.pdf.

And the tax-treaty document at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-trty/india.pdf.

I gather that the relevant information is in Article 21; so I want to confirm if this is the appropriate information to fill for point 10:

Special rates and conditions (if applicable—see instructions): The beneficial owner is claiming the provisions of Article and paragraph Article 21 Paragraph I and II of the treaty identified on line 9 above to claim a 0 % rate of withholding on (specify type of income): Travel Award.

Explain the additional conditions in the Article and paragraph the beneficial owner meets to be eligible for the rate of withholding: a student or business apprentice described in paragraph 1 - A student or business apprentice who is or was a resident of one of the Contracting States immediately before visiting the other Contracting State

The withholding rate is 0% because this income qualifies for exemption (?).

I also want to confirm that if these fields are left blank (a friend has done so), the default withholding rate of 30ish% will be applicable (?), since awards are taxable in USA.

  • If you are not a US resident and the conference is not in the US, why would the award be taxable in the US? If it's not taxable in the US, then there's no point using a tax treaty. The tax treaty provision you cited doesn't apply anyway since it's for people visiting the other state, and you are not visiting the US.
    – user102008
    Jun 14 at 16:00
  • I thought it might be applicable because I will be receiving the amount through a wire transfer from a US based organization. So, should the fields be left blank then?
    – digikar
    Jun 14 at 17:00


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