Take a look at the future of Form W-8 documentation: the new draft Form W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding (Individual), is on display at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/formw8benindividualexecirculation2.pdf, and a draft of the all-new Form W-8BEN-E, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding (Entities), is posted at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/formw8benentityexeccirculation2.pdf.
Implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 (FATCA), under new tax regulations issued in proposed form in February of this year but not yet made final, makes it necessary for the IRS to revise Form W-9 and the W-8s, and create additional Forms W-8 as well. The new forms will permit a payee to establish its status on a single form for both I.R.C. Chapter 4 compliance (FATCA) and Chapter 3 compliance (the current nonresident alien withholding-at-source rules, including amendments that will make it consistent with FATCA regulations).
The draft W-8BEN and W-8BEN-E forms use two separate sections for Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 status certification, each with its own set of checkboxes.
The IRS has not yet released drafts of the Instructions for filling out these new forms. Also not yet released are drafts of new versions of the W-8IMY, W-8ECI, W-8EXP and W-9. The W-8IMY draft may be available later this month.
The proposed regulations require that, when the IRS issues a final version of a withholding certificate (the W-8s and W-9 are withholding certificates), the previous version generally may be accepted for only a six-month period after the revision date shown on the updated form.