Filling in a W-8BEN-E form to be able to trade with the US may seem quite a daunting task but having assisted clients with this it can be done reasonably easily with a little perseverance. The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is quite prescriptive in it’s requirements but with some step by step assistance it can be turned around in a day. The steps for a English Limited company are as follows:

  1. Open the IRS W-8 BEN-E link
  2. Open the document from the link and you can complete the details online – this does not seem to save at the end of the process so it may be worth printing a hard copy when you get that far
  3. Fill in the name of the company and the country as England-United Kingdom, then entity type as Corporation
  4. The FATCA status will be Active NFEE, then complete the permanent residence address
  5. The US Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) will have to be applied for, more of which later, but you can add the UK Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) in the Foreign TIN box
  6. Next is Part 3 Claim of Tax Treaty Benefits as UK has a double tax treaty with US
  7. Tick 14a and add “England, United Kingdom” as the residence of the company
  8. 14b tick Company that meets the ownership and base erosion test
  9. 15 refers to the USA-UK Treaty and the majority of UK trading companies with be under Article 7 Business profits, the tax rate will be 0% and the conditions to be eligible for the treat must be entered as “The company is resident in the United Kingdom and does not carry on business in the United States nor does it have a permanent establishment in the United States”
  10. Part XXV Active NFFE – tick this box
  11. Part XXX Certification – sign print and date the form (date in the US MM-DD-YYYY format)

You then need to apply for a TIN to complete number #5 above, this can be applied for by telephone but it is worth filling in the forms you will need to apply anyway as they will ask for all of the details:

  1. Download the SS-4 Application for Employer Identification Number and 8832 Entity Classification Election
  2. On the SS4 complete the name, trading name if applicable aswell as the address, and name of the responsible party (ie director). You don’t need to complete 5a and 5b unless the registered office and trading address are different
  3. Then 8a “Yes” the application is for a company
  4. 9 the type of entity is Other and enter “foreign disregarded entity” in the description
  5. 10 reason for applying s Compliance with IRS witholding regulations
  6. Date business started – the same date as on the W-8 form, when you started trading with US and closing month of accounting year, your year end in the format Mmm DD
  7. 16 and 17, brief and more detailed description of what the business does
  8. 18 – “no” you have not applied for a number before
  9. You also need to complete the 8832 as US do not recognise sole director companies as “corporations”
  10. Complete name and address, then tick 1a Initial classification (as it is the first time the company will have been registered in US)
  11. Then 3a – the election for the company to be treated as a “corporation” (rather than self employed which is the standard treatment of this type of company in US), then the name of the owner, and “none” for Identifying number
  12. And 6f – to elect for the single owner to be disregarded as a separate entity
  13. 7 England – United Kingdom as the foreign country of organisation, then date and name for contact purposes

Once you have completed these forms you can send or fax them but for foreign applicants there is also the option to phone and full details of numbers and opening times are in the SS-4 instructions. Make sure you have the completed SS-4 and 8832 ready and you will need to persist to get through!

This has been prepared based on our experience with clients and may not reflect your situation, but will hopefully point you in the right direction.  You should seek professional advice before taking any steps based on these contents. If you would like advice in this or other areas feel free to call. Alastair Wood, AW Accounting, Shrewsbury, Shropshire – Accountants who “speak your language”