I'm a freelancer (individual), Indian citizen working from India and I've to fill the form W-8BEN for a client based in US. I receive the money from the US source into my savings account here in India usually via PayPal.

I'm not sure about a few fields after reading the instructions and thought I'd ask here.

  • Line 6: Foreign tax identifying number (see instructions) - Do I have to fill this? I was thinking of leaving it blank because I only have a bank account in India and not US. Am I correct in leaving it blank? I read on the web that some people are filling this field with their PAN.

Instructions say:

Line 6. If you are providing this Form W-8BEN to document yourself with respect to a financial account that you hold at a U.S. office of a financial institution, provide the tax identifying number (TIN) issued to you by your jurisdiction of tax residence unless: You have not been issued a TIN, or The jurisdiction does not issue TINs. If you have not provided your jurisdiction of residence TIN on line 6, provide your date of birth in line 8.

Instructions in Line 5 also point to Line 6:

If you are claiming treaty benefits, you are generally required to provide an ITIN if you do not provide a tax identifying number issued to you by your jurisdiction of tax residence on line 6. However, an ITIN is not required to claim treaty benefits relating to: Dividends and interest from stocks and debt obligations that are actively traded; Dividends from any redeemable security issued by an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (mutual fund); Dividends, interest, or royalties from units of beneficial interest in a unit investment trust that are (or were upon issuance) publicly offered and are registered with the SEC under the Securities Act of 1933; and Income related to loans of any of the above securities.

  • Line 7: Reference number(s) (see instructions) -- leave blank?


Line 7. This line may be used by the filer of Form W-8BEN or by the withholding agent to whom it is provided to include any referencing information that is useful to the withholding agent in carrying out its obligations. For example, withholding agents who are required to associate the Form W-8BEN with a particular Form W-8IMY may want to use line 7 for a referencing number or code that will make the association clear. A beneficial owner can use line 7 to include the number of the account for which he or she is providing the form. A foreign single owner of a disregarded entity can use line 7 to inform the withholding agent that the account to which a payment is made or credited is in the name of the disregarded entity (see instructions for line 1).

  • Line 8: Date of birth (MM-DD-YYYY) (see instructions) -- leave blank since this also stars with the same "if" which was in line 6?

Line 8. If you are providing this Form W-8BEN to document yourself with respect to a financial account that you hold with a U.S. office of a financial institution, provide your date of birth. Use the following format to input your information MM-DD-YYYY. For example, if you were born on April 15, 1956, you would enter 04-15-1956.

  • Line 10: (See form for the field details) -- Is just writing "India" in line 9 enough or do I have to fill anything here? I'm not aware of the details of the double taxation treaty between US and India except that I would only have to pay tax in India.

Line 10. Line 10 must be used only if you are claiming treaty benefits that require that you meet conditions not covered by the representations you make on line 9 and Part III. For example, persons claiming treaty benefits on royalties must complete this line if the treaty contains different withholding rates for different types of royalties. However, this line should always be completed by foreign students and researchers claiming treaty benefits. See Scholarship and fellowship grants, later, for more information.

Hope someone familiar with this would help out. Thanks!

  • 1
    I fill these out for my Canadian company and put my company's Canadian tax number in line 6. Do you have such a number? – Kate Gregory Jun 18 '18 at 12:29
  • We have the PAN in India and that's what I went ahead and filled in line 6. – sgr12 Jul 17 '18 at 13:30
  • @sgr12 Did using PAN work for you? – tushaR Sep 16 '18 at 13:44
  • 1
    @tushaR Hopefully. Haven't been informed of any objections yet. – sgr12 Sep 17 '18 at 10:38

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.