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Beware of Form W-8BEN Tax Scam

Beware of Form W-8BEN Tax Scam

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Be advised that you should only submit Forms W-8BEN directly to your withholding agent.

Form W-8BEN and W-8BEN-E, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding (for individuals and business entities), is a legitimate U.S. tax exemption document. However, fraudsters typically target non-residents of the U.S. and use the W-8BEN format to acquire personal details including:

  • PIN numbers and passcodes
  • passport number
  • mother’s maiden name
  • date of birth

The legitimate IRS Form W-8BEN does not require any of that information.

According to the IRS website,  if you receive such a scam form via email, fax, mail or other format:

  • Do not reply.
  • Do not open any attachments.
    • Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
  • Do not click on any links.
    • If you clicked on links in a suspicious email or phishing website and entered confidential information, visit the IRS identity protection page.
  • Forward the email as-is, to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.
  • After you forward the email and/or header information to us, delete the original email message you received.

View Example of Scam Letter

If you have any questions, please contact a WithumSmith+Brown professional, a member of our International Services Group or email us at international@withum.com.

Kimberlee Phelan CPA, MBA, Partner Practice Leader, International Services Group 609.520.1188 kphelan@withum.com Kimberlee Phelan, CPA, MBA
Partner, Practice Leader,
International Services Group

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To ensure compliance with U.S. Treasury rules, unless expressly stated otherwise, any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by the recipient for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code.

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