What Is a W-8 Form and why do I need to complete one?
The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), a US governmental agency, requires Zazzle to collect W-8 BEN forms from all international payees to establish non-US residency status and to claim beneficial ownership of the income. In accordance with US tax law, Zazzle will not process payment to non-residents unless a properly completed W-8BEN form is received. W-8 forms are used to determine the appropriate tax withholding rate that should be applied on the payments Zazzle sends to non-resident Designers and Associates. Once your W-8 form is approved, Zazzle can start paying you either at the default 30% withholding rate imposed by the IRS, or at a lower tax treaty rate if you reside in an applicable country (more details below). There is a lot of information provided by the IRS regarding W-8 forms, which you can find on the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/instructions/iw8ben/ch01.html
The information regarding W-8 forms can sometimes be confusing, as Designers and Associates from different countries may have to provide different information on their W-8 forms. Zazzle is unable to offer tax advice - we encourage you to contact a tax professional. However, there is some general information we have found to date in reference to the W-8 forms and processing, and the following is based on what we most commonly see.
Types of W-8 Forms
In 2014, the IRS created multiple types of W-8 forms for different tax situations. All of the different types of W-8 forms can be found on the U.S. IRS website: https://apps.irs.gov/app/picklist/list/formsPublications.html;jsessionid=XX-O2sg-ix4OTXpHWK+OGA__?value=W-8&criteria=formNumber&submitSearch=Find
In Zazzle’s experience, the most commonly used W-8 forms are W-8BEN forms for individuals and W-8BEN-E forms for legal entities such as corporations and partnerships. Other versions of W-8 tax forms are meant for other specific types of business entities. Please carefully read over the descriptions and information provided with each form to determine which is best for your tax situation.
What information do I need to fill in? (Based on W-8 BEN form for individuals)
**Please note that you will want to use the full legal name and address information that is on file with your government. Please also ensure that the same information is used in your Zazzle account’s Payment Settings, as we at Zazzle use that information for verification purposes, including verifying information on your W-8 form.
There are two levels of completed form that Zazzle will accept:
Basic Level: At the first and most basic level, providing all of the following information will enable Zazzle to begin processing your payments using the default 30% tax withholding rate required by the IRS:
- Your full legal name (formatted with given name first and family name last) as the government has it on file.
- Your country of citizenship.
- Your full legal permanent address, including postal code if applicable (and your full preferred mailing address, if applicable).
- Your date of birth (see form for format).
- Your signature (actual signature or certified electronic signature).
- The date you signed the form (see form for format).
- Your full printed name under your signature.
Again, the information provided on the W-8 form should match the information that you have listed both in your Zazzle account’s Payment Settings and on file with your government.
Second Level: The second level of completed form that Zazzle will accept is described in the next section below.
I live in a country with a tax treaty with the U.S. What information do I need to fill in to obtain the benefit of the tax treaty rate? (Based on W-8 BEN form for individuals)
Some countries have tax treaties with the U.S. that will allow for a tax rate that is lower than the default withholding tax rate for income types such as royalties. You can find a list of countries that currently have tax treaties with the U.S. and the tax treaties themselves here: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/International-Businesses/United-States-Income-Tax-Treaties---A-to-Z
Residents of countries that currently have a tax treaty with the U.S. have the option of applying for a lower tax rate than the default 30% under the treaty by filling out the following:
- All of the information needed for basic acceptance, as detailed in the section directly above.
- All parts of the section “Claiming Tax Treaty Benefits” on your form.
- Either one of the following, or both:
- Your IRS-issued Individual Tax Identification Number (“ITIN”)
For more relevant information on the ITIN: (https://forum.zazzle.com/news/action_required_international_designer_payment)
- Your Foreign Tax ID number, as provided to you by your country of residence
While filling in your W-8 form, it is helpful to keep in mind that the form generally concerns the type of income you receive from Zazzle, such as royalties. Much of the information you will need will be available in the tax treaty between the U.S. and your country of residence (see link in paragraph above), but some countries require a more specific description of the nature of your earnings with Zazzle than others. It will be helpful to reference the definitions in the tax treaty article that best cover the type of income you receive from Zazzle.
Also, the following tax tables will help you look up the appropriate tax rate that will be applied under the tax treaty between your country of residence and the U.S.: https://www.irs.gov/PUP/individuals/international/Tax_Treaty_Table_1.pdf
Where do I submit my W-8 form?
Please submit your form using one of the following methods:
- Email: email@example.com
- Fax: 1-650-362-2199
- Mailing Address: Zazzle Inc., 1800 Seaport Blvd., Redwood City, CA 94063
What if I am submitting a W-8 form for a lower tax rate under a tax treaty, but have had the 30% default withholding tax rate applied to previous payments?
If this is your situation, it indicates you have a processed W-8 form on file with Zazzle that is not sufficiently completed to allow us to give you the benefit of the tax treaty rate and thus we are required by the IRS to use the default 30% tax withholding rate until such time that we receive the revised form. If the only payment affected was within the last 30 days of when you submit your W-8 form, your correctly filled in W-8 BEN form will be enough to receive a refund for the difference between the 30% default withholding tax rate and the appropriate tax rate under the tax treaty with your country of residence, and this refund will be included with the following Zazzle payment.
If you have had payments (to which the default withholding tax rate was applied) issued to you more than 30 days ago, you will want to read over the information here for details and the Affidavit document text you will need to submit with your updated W-8 BEN form in order to receive a refund: https://forum.zazzle.com/news/refunds_for_international_designers_of
Please note that you will need your correctly filled in W-8 form to be received by us before 12:00am March 1st Pacific Standard Time (PST) in order to receive a refund for any payments issued to you in the previous calendar year. Any form received at 12:00am on March 1st or later will only be able to receive a refund, reflecting the difference between the two withholding tax rates, for the current calendar year.
Do I need to do anything else after my appropriate W-8 form has been processed?
There are instances where we will need a new W-8 form from you. Please send us an updated form if:
- Any of your information on the W-8 form changes (name change, address change, etc.)
- The IRS issues a newer version of the W-8 form.
- The life of your current W-8 form runs out. The life span of a W-8 form is 3 years from the date you signed your form.
- If the IRS issues new regulations that could impact your payment.
What if I am a US citizen living abroad?
Please indicate on your Zazzle account’s Payment Settings that you are a US citizen and provide the necessary information. Also, please fill in a W-9 form (https://apps.irs.gov/app/picklist/list/formsPublications.html;jsessionid=tqfXlHZyzBDZir9CZC+qSA__?value=w9&criteria=formNumber&submitSearch=Find) and submit it to us by e-mail, fax, or mail as described for the W-8 above.
What if I need more information?
If you need more information, you can email your question to our W-8 form email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Again, Zazzle is unable to offer tax advice, so we strongly encourage you to contact a tax professional who can evaluate your tax situation or can work with you individually and advise you on what information to provide on your tax form(s).