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I'm a Canadian student doing a paid internship in the United States for the summer on a J1 visa. I've set up a bank account here in the United States which has been used to successfully directly deposit my first few paychecks. I've recently received a letter from my bank asking me to "provide evidence you are a citizen or national of a foreign country to avoid further U.S. tax withholding" adding that they will "continue to apply U.S. tax withholding at a rate of 28% to all interest credited on your account(s)" until they receive the required information. They've attached a W-8BEN form, but it seems that the appropriate form would be a W-9 form since I am a resident alien individual so I am considered a "U.S. person" - is this correct?

I'm also unsure whether I should give them the W-9 form with my name and address and SSN or with the company's name and address and EIN. My company does have a W-9 form available with their information so should I send the bank that form, or should I send them the form with my own information?

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If you're on a J1 visa, then you're not likely to be a US person. Stay on J1 visa is excluded from the days counted towards the substantial presence test, and you obviously don't qualify under the citizenship/green card test. So yes, W8-BEN is the appropriate form.

You need to give them the W8 with your information, your employer has nothing to do with it.

  • Thanks, you're right, I don't meet the requirements for the substantial present test, but how would I fill line 10 on that form as a Canadian? It asks for "The beneficial owner is claiming the provisions of Article ____ of the treaty identified on line 9 above to claim a ____ % rate of withholding on (specify type of income): ____." Can I just leave this blank? – hesson Jun 29 '15 at 1:25
  • You can, if you don't want to claim treaty benefits. I don't know if there's anything in the Canadian-US tax treaty to reduce withholding rates on the bank interest. How much interest are you getting there anyway? – littleadv Jun 29 '15 at 1:38

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