Newbie question re the W-8BEN form

Hey all

Sorry if this has been discussed already (I couldn’t find it) but can anyone explain to me the whole W-8BEN form situation and what it’s for in simple terms.

Are there any risks to submitting it for a UK resident like myself in terms of tax stuff and it’s not anything that can affect me when I travel to the US at all is there?

Sorry if this sounds stupid, but Freetrade makes it seem like a really simple easy to fill out form (fair play to them!) but ii, for example, make it seem like a really intense form with technical jargon added in.

Any help would be appreciated!


In simple terms, it is to confirm that you are not a US person (whether a company or an individual), which entitles you to a reduced withholding tax on US source dividends, i.e. they deduct 15% instead of 30% if you were to reside in the USA.


Nope. The form is to confirm that you are a foreign person and the beneficial owner of the securities. It is also the way to claim a reduction in the 30% withholding tax that is charged to all non-US persons, depending on the applicable bilateral tax treaty, which is the case for the UK. If you are a US person you don’t need the form and you are not subject to any withholding tax.

Honestly, it’s harmless. In fact, it’s in your interest to fill it out as it’s our ‘special relationship’ deal with the US.

It’s why a lot of us don’t buy European stocks like Heineken, Nestle or Novartis AG, because we’d pay 30% on our dividends from countries that don’t have that arrangment with us.

W8-BEN forms are quite normal. In my side hustle, I sell some photo/video library stock footage for a news agency, and get paid in US dollars, so i have to fill out a W8-BEN for that.

It’s fine. go ahead and fill the form and get yourself some tasty US stocks.

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Thanks all! Much clearer now :+1:t3:

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American govt. taking their slice of the pie :pie: