What is the W-8BEN form?

Find out what W-8BEN is and why you need to know about it if you want to trade US shares.

To trade US stocks you need to complete a W-8BEN form so that you’re entitled to tax savings on interest earned. Often, brokers that allow you to trade US stocks with them will allow you to fill out and return your W-8BEN form to them. Here’s the basic information on what the form is for and how you fill one out with your broker.

What is a W-8BEN form for?

The W-BEN form is only required when trading US shares. In short, it helps determine your tax status. If you’re not a US citizen, then as a foreign investor, you’re subject to US tax of 30% of the income you receive from dividends, premiums, rents, royalties, annuities or other fixed annual gains.

Who needs to fill out the W-8BEN form?

You’ll need to fill out the form if:

  • You are not a US citizen; and
  • You plan to buy US shares

How often do I need to fill out a W-8BEN form?

You’ll need to fill out a W-8BEN form with every broker you use every three years – if your broker helps you manage your W-8BEN form then it’ll let you know when it’s time to renew. If it’s done digitally, you’ll be prompted to do so within the app or on the website.

What does the W-8BEN form do?

By submitting a W-BEN form, your broker is able to claim a US tax reduction on your interest and dividends from US shares, either to 15% or to 0% if the shares are held in a self invested personal pension (SIPP).

This means that you’ll be subject to less tax, so more of your profits end up in your pocket.

Will my broker sort the W-8BEN form for me?

Some brokers will assist in completion of your W-8BEN form, while others expect you to fill it out and send it to them. We’ve taken a look at some of the brokers that offer US stocks below:

BrokerHow to complete your W-8BEN form
StakeStake automatically completes your W-8BEN form for you.
Hargreaves LansdownYou’re prompted to complete the form online the first time you make a US trade.
Trading 212The form is part of your account creation process. If you created your account before December 2019 then you are prompted to fill out the form when you first trade a US stock.
FreetradeThe form is in the “Profile” section of the app. It also prompts you to fill out the form when you try to trade a US stock.
RevolutThe form is automatically completed when you sign up with the information you provided.
IGYou have two options. You can either print and fill out the form and send it via snail mail to IG, or you can fill it out in your IG account and fill it out in your settings.
eToroYou need to fill out the form and send it to eToro’s customer care team for them to approve it.
interactive investorii has this form under the account menu > useful forms. You need to fill it out and post it to interactive investor.
VanguardYou can log into the Vanguard website and fill out the form electronically within your account.
MoneyfarmThe form and its instructions are on the Moneyfarm website.
FidelityYou can fill out the form online in less than ten minutes and eSign it or print and post it, if you prefer.
DegiroYou’ll be prompted to fill out the form when you sign up.

Where can I find the W-8BEN form online?

If you’re looking for the W-8BEN form, it’s on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website as well as instructions to fill it out. If you’re signed up to a stock broker, you may be able to access it online.

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

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