EDIT : So, I also opened a thread in Topcoder's Forum and I filled the "Reference number" field as "-" and in the tax treaty section, I just filled my country and all the other boxes were filled with "-". I've successfully received the full amount. Hope this helps someone going through the same issue.

I'm from India and I'm a student currently. I recently joined Topcoder (online programming challenges basically) and was filling the payment method section. So, I came across their terms and all and they need me to fill W-8BEN form. Now, I'm kind of confused about how to fill the form.

I've got the basic things down like name, DOB and address. But, I'm stuck on 2 things.

There is this column for "Reference Number". I'm not sure what should I fill in this section. Where can I get the Reference Number? Is it my bank account number?

And at last, there is the Tax Treaty Benefits section. I'm a student and I'm a India citizen, living in India.

These are all required fields and I am not sure how to fill these.

I know that there's DTAA signed between India and USA. Meaning that I won't be taxed in USA, but in India. So, whatever money I win from Topcoder, they'll send me the full money and then I'll tax it in India.

I'm confused about just 2 things, i.e., the "reference number" box and the "tax treaty benefits" section.

Here's the form : https://www.scribd.com/document/369719360/TopCoder-Member-Tax-Form-W-8BEN

I'm not sure what article and paragraph of the DTAA treaty is applicable and what would be the % of withholding and what type of income should I specify there.

  • You shouldn't need to fill out the tax treaty benefits section. Read the instructions for the form again: I do not agree that this is a required field. The reference number is your account number with TopCoder. If you don't have one, then I question why they're having you fill out this form at all. Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 19:03
  • I don't get this idea about form either. When I contacted their support, they told me to hire a tax professional to fill the form. They're not telling me about this "reference number" either and I've looked around and asked a few people around me regarding this, and nobody seems to know about it either.
    – Xonshiz
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 2:17

2 Answers 2


Yeah, I faced exactly the same problem.
So, according to the topcoder forums, some people have advised to keep the fields related to tax treaties plus the reference number 'blank'. As the new form doesn't allow us to keep the fields blank, you can put N/A there.

Hope it helps. :)

P.S: Here is the link to the forum https://apps.topcoder.com/forums/?module=ThreadList&forumID=563559

  • Yep, found that. I did the same and I've successfully received the amount. Made a thread here around the same time I asked here : apps.topcoder.com/forums/…
    – Xonshiz
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 10:58
  • @Xonshiz Great! Could you please mark the answer as accepted! So that anyone who will come to this page in future, see an accepted answer. :) Thanks. Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 20:17

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