1

I am an Indian citizen currently working as a researcher on an H1-B visa in the US. Prior to that (Jan 12,2023-October 31, 2023), I was a resident in Canada and will be considered a resident for tax year 2023 in Canada. For tax year 2023 in the US, I am a non-resident alien since I do not qualify for the substantial presence test.

Based on this situation, what should I put as my permanent address on Line 3 of the W8-BEN form which my bank has requested for? I understand that the situation complicates if I want to avail tax treaty benefits with Canada. For the Form-8233 that I submitted for my employer, my residence for tax treaty benefits was determined to be Canada. The instructions for form 8233 specifically mention: "However, if you are claiming a benefit under the student/trainee or teacher/researcher article of a treaty, you generally only need to have been a resident of the treaty country immediately before (or at the time) you came to the United States."

Will this also apply for the W8-BEN case? Note that the instructions for W8-BEN do not mention any such thing as mentioned above. Should I just put my permanent Indian address and avoid any treaty benefits all together? In case I want to avail tax treaty benefits, what should the permanent residence country be on the W8-BEN form based on my situation.

1
  • What "tax treaty benefits" do you think you can avail?
    – user102008
    Dec 19, 2023 at 20:58

1 Answer 1

2

I'm assuming that you were in Canada temporarily on a visa, and have no Canadian citizenship (since you have Indian), nor a Canadian permanent resident (given that you've left for a long period to work in the US).

As such, per the CRA, you're likely no longer a Canadian resident for tax purposes (see a long and winding explanation here). The US/Canada tax treaty is irrelevant for you. You may want to consider the Indo-American tax treaty (Article 22).

If you file W8-BEN with the bank, and you qualify as a tax resident in the US next year, you'll need to refile with W9 again. If you're not concerned with worldwide taxation, you may want to elect to become a part year resident from the date you entered on H1b status, and just be treated like a normal tax resident, will make things easier for everyone.

If you still want to file the W8, your permanent residency is in India, since that's where you have unrestricted right to live and where you'll be returning to from your temporary stay in the US.

7
  • "The US/Canada tax treaty is irrelevant for you. You may want to consider the Indo-American tax treaty" The US-Canada tax treaty could be relevant for someone who is no longer a resident of Canada, as for example Article 20 applies to students "who is or was immediately before visiting a Contracting State a resident of the other Contracting State" (though this article is not relevant to the OP).
    – user102008
    Dec 19, 2023 at 20:56
  • On the other hand, I don't think that Article 22 of the US-India tax treaty, as you mentioned, applies to the OP as it applies to someone "who was immediately before that visit a resident of the other Contracting State", and immediately before the visit to the US, the OP was a resident of Canada, not India.
    – user102008
    Dec 19, 2023 at 20:57
  • @user102008 the question of tax residency in India is unclear, given that the OP was in India at the beginning of the year, is Indian citizen, and was likely Indian tax resident before moving to Canada - it is not entirely clear if they can or cannot claim to be Indian tax residents immediately prior to moving to the US.
    – littleadv
    Dec 19, 2023 at 21:53
  • I think I will put my US address on Line 3 of the form. Specifically based on these instructions " If you do not have a tax residence in any country, your permanent residence is where you normally reside." While I was a resident of Canada for tax filing in Canada, I no longer have that address. Also for the permanent residence, I don't want to put my Indian address as per the instructions: "Your permanent residence address is the address in the country where you claim to be a resident for purposes of that country’s income tax."
    – Paul
    Dec 20, 2023 at 16:51
  • I was a resident of Germany for two years prior to Canada. I don't earn any income from India. The only connection is through my citizenship. Based on these and the helpful inputs, I feel its best to just use the US address.
    – Paul
    Dec 20, 2023 at 16:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .