W-8BEN form for US shares
If you want to buy US shares the US government will charge you a tax on any income you earn from those shares as you are not a US resident or citizen.
Chances are you'd prefer to pay less of this tax (known as withholding tax) on your shares, which is where a W-8BEN form comes in.
The W-8BEN form lets you benefit from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) treaty rate with the UK. This lowers the withholding tax for qualifying dividends and interest from US shares from 30% to 15%.
Fidelity, in common with other investment platforms, requires customers dealing in US shares to provide a W-8BEN form.
But don't worry, it's quick and easy to complete your W-8BEN form online and in most cases it is validated immediately.
You can buy US shares through Fidelity in a Stocks and Shares ISA, Junior ISA or Investment Account.
Complete your W-8BEN form
1. Log in
Log in to your Fidelity account to check and add any required details to your secure online W-8BEN form.
2. Check your form status
After you've submitted your form we'll let you know when it's valid. You can also check on its status on your account's Preference Centre.
3. Buy US shares
Once your form is valid you can buy your first US shares with Fidelity. Your W-8BEN remains valid for three years.
As you complete your W-8BEN form you'll see some fields pre-populated with the details you provided when you created your account with Fidelity. If you notice any incorrect fields please first check your account settings.
You might come across a couple of questions containing terms you're not familiar with. Here's what the terms mean.
- Under the heading U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number (U.S. TIN) the form asks if you have a U.S. TIN, which is not applicable to UK residents. Please select 'The account holder does not have a U.S. TIN'.
- Under the heading Tax Residence, TIN refers to a country's Taxpayer Identification Number, which in the UK is your National Insurance number. If it is not automatically complete then please select your Country of Tax Residence (where you pay tax) and under TIN enter your UK National Insurance number.
- To be entitled to receive a tax reduction from 30% to 15% on the income from your US shares under the US-UK tax treaty, select Yes to: 'Is the account holder claiming a reduced rate of withholding under a tax treaty between the U.S. and another country?'
To submit your form you'll need to click the X in the top right corner on the Thank You page.
If you have a joint account, Power of Attorney, you're transferring an account to Fidelity or manage a Junior ISA on behalf of a child, learn more about completing a W-8BEN form.
How long is my W-8BEN form valid for?
Your W-8BEN form is valid for three years and we'll always let you know in plenty of time when it's due for renewal.
If you change your name before the three years are up you'll need to complete a new W-8BEN form within 30 days.
There are instances when your W-8BEN form can become invalid.
- If you move overseas
- If when completing the W-8BEN form you add a US phone number, US tax identifier (U.S. TIN) or select No to 'Is the account holder claiming a reduced rate of withholding under a tax treaty between the U.S. and another country?'
- If you do not submit a new form before the expiry date of the existing form. Don't worry, we'll always give you plenty of notice to complete a new form.
If your W-8BEN form becomes invalid we will have to sell any US shares you hold and deposit the proceeds as cash in your account.
How to complete a W-8BEN form if...
If you have a Junior ISA, joint account, you're transferring an account to Fidelity or have Power of Attorney, here are a few more details about completing your W-8BEN form.
If you're completing a W-8BEN form for a Junior ISA, you will need to sign the form as the registered contact. We'll need to make a few additional checks for a Junior ISA but we'll get in touch if we require any further details.
If you'd like to invest in US shares using a joint account, each account holder will need to complete a W-8BEN form.
Transferring from another provider to Fidelity
If you're transferring your ISA, Junior ISA or Investment Account to Fidelity and have US shares in any of these accounts, you’ll need to complete a new W-8BEN form within two weeks of the date you submitted the transfer instruction.
Fidelity is required by the US to have a new W-8BEN form even if you submitted a form with your previous provider.
If you're completing a W-8BEN form as a Power of Attorney, we'll need to make a few additional checks. We'll get in touch if we require any further details.