What is a W-8 form and why do I need to complete one?

What is a W-8 form?

A W-8 form is a U.S. Internal Revenue Service form that allows foreign investors to declare their tax residency, which may entitle them to claim special tax treaty benefits relevant to their country of residency, including a reduced rate of withholding tax.

The W-8 forms, W-8BEN (for individuals) and W-8BEN-E forms (for entities including company and trust applications) are a requirement for setting up an International Shares Account.

How do I complete a W-8 form?

We have simplified the process to complete a W-8BEN form. Upon opening an International Shares Account, you will be prompted to complete a new W-8 form if your existing W-8 form is invalid or expired.

The W-8 form remains in effect until 31st December three calendar years from the year you signed the form, unless a change of circumstances invalidates any information on the form, such as a change of name or residency. If any of these details change, you are required to complete a new W-8 form.

What happens if my W-8 form is invalid?
  • If your International Shares Account is not linked with a valid W-8 form, you may be subject to U.S. Treasury withholding tax at the highest rate and without any tax treaty benefits on investments held on your International Shares Account.
  • Any dividends and sale proceeds credited to your account may be subject to a withholding tax of 30%, rather than 15%. In other words, 30% of any payments to your International Shares Account (such as sale proceeds and/or dividends) may be withheld to cover the U.S. Treasury withholding tax liabilities.

We're here to help

For more information on the W-8 form and how to complete it, please visit our W-8 Hub.

To get in touch with us, please contact the International Trading Desk on 1300 361 170 or +61 2 9115 1531 if calling from overseas (open 24 hours, U.S. trading days).


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