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Fake Form W-8BEN Used in IRS Tax Scams

Remember:
You can only submit Form W-8BEN directly to your
withholding agent.

The Form W-8BEN (Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding) 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 such as,

  • mother's maiden name,
  • passport number,
  • date of birth,
  • PIN numbers and passcodes.

The legitimate IRS Form W-8BEN, does not ask for any of that information.
The fraudulent forms use various angles that may claim, for example:

  • Anti-money laundering regulations require a review of your client information and ask you to complete the form.
  • You are exempt from tax reporting and withholdings on income including interest paid to you. To protect your exemption from tax please complete the attached form.

What do I do if I receive such a scam form via email, fax, mail, or other format?

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

Related information

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 24-Mar-2014

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Free tax com 5. Free tax com   How To Get Tax Help Table of Contents Whether it's help with a tax issue, preparing your tax return or a need for a free publication or form, get the help you need the way you want it: online, use a smart phone, call or walk in to an IRS office or volunteer site near you. Free tax com Free help with your tax return. Free tax com   You can get free help preparing your return nationwide from IRS-certified volunteers. Free tax com The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helps low-to-moderate income, elderly, people with disabilities, and limited English proficient taxpayers. Free tax com The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program helps taxpayers age 60 and older with their tax returns. Free tax com Most VITA and TCE sites offer free electronic filing and all volunteers will let you know about credits and deductions you may be entitled to claim. Free tax com In addition, some VITA and TCE sites provide taxpayers the opportunity to prepare their own return with help from an IRS-certified volunteer. Free tax com To find the nearest VITA or TCE site, you can use the VITA Locator Tool on IRS. Free tax com gov, download the IRS2Go app, or call 1-800-906-9887. Free tax com   As part of the TCE program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program. Free tax com To find the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, visit AARP's website at www. Free tax com aarp. Free tax com org/money/taxaide or call 1-888-227-7669. Free tax com For more information on these programs, go to IRS. Free tax com gov and enter “VITA” in the search box. Free tax com Internet. Free tax com    IRS. Free tax com gov and IRS2Go are ready when you are —24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Free tax com Download the free IRS2Go app from the iTunes app store or from Google Play. Free tax com Use it to check your refund status, order transcripts of your tax returns or tax account, watch the IRS YouTube channel, get IRS news as soon as it's released to the public, subscribe to filing season updates or daily tax tips, and follow the IRS Twitter news feed, @IRSnews, to get the latest federal tax news, including information about tax law changes and important IRS programs. Free tax com Check the status of your 2013 refund with the Where's My Refund? application on IRS. Free tax com gov or download the IRS2Go app and select the Refund Status option. Free tax com The IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Free tax com Using these applications, you can start checking on the status of your return within 24 hours after we receive your e-filed return or 4 weeks after you mail a paper return. Free tax com You will also be given a personalized refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund. Free tax com The IRS updates Where's My Refund? every 24 hours, usually overnight, so you only need to check once a day. Free tax com Use the Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA) to research your tax questions. Free tax com No need to wait on the phone or stand in line. Free tax com The ITA is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and provides you with a variety of tax information related to general filing topics, deductions, credits, and income. Free tax com When you reach the response screen, you can print the entire interview and the final response for your records. Free tax com New subject areas are added on a regular basis. Free tax com  Answers not provided through ITA may be found in Tax Trails, one of the Tax Topics on IRS. Free tax com gov which contain general individual and business tax information or by searching the IRS Tax Map, which includes an international subject index. Free tax com You can use the IRS Tax Map, to search publications and instructions by topic or keyword. Free tax com The IRS Tax Map integrates forms and publications into one research tool and provides single-point access to tax law information by subject. Free tax com When the user searches the IRS Tax Map, they will be provided with links to related content in existing IRS publications, forms and instructions, questions and answers, and Tax Topics. Free tax com Coming this filing season, you can immediately view and print for free all 5 types of individual federal tax transcripts (tax returns, tax account, record of account, wage and income statement, and certification of non-filing) using Get Transcript. Free tax com You can also ask the IRS to mail a return or an account transcript to you. Free tax com Only the mail option is available by choosing the Tax Records option on the IRS2Go app by selecting Mail Transcript on IRS. Free tax com gov or by calling 1-800-908-9946. Free tax com Tax return and tax account transcripts are generally available for the current year and the past three years. Free tax com Determine if you are eligible for the EITC and estimate the amount of the credit with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Assistant. Free tax com Visit Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter to get answers to questions about a notice or letter you received from the IRS. Free tax com If you received the First Time Homebuyer Credit, you can use the First Time Homebuyer Credit Account Look-up tool for information on your repayments and account balance. Free tax com Check the status of your amended return using Where's My Amended Return? Go to IRS. Free tax com gov and enter Where's My Amended Return? in the search box. Free tax com You can generally expect your amended return to be processed up to 12 weeks from the date we receive it. Free tax com It can take up to 3 weeks from the date you mailed it to show up in our system. 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Free tax com Download forms, instructions and publications, including accessible versions for people with disabilities. Free tax com Locate the nearest Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) using the Office Locator tool on IRS. Free tax com gov, or choose the Contact Us option on the IRS2Go app and search Local Offices. Free tax com An employee can answer questions about your tax account or help you set up a payment plan. Free tax com Before you visit, check the Office Locator on IRS. Free tax com gov, or Local Offices under Contact Us on IRS2Go to confirm the address, phone number, days and hours of operation, and the services provided. Free tax com If you have a special need, such as a disability, you can request an appointment. Free tax com Call the local number listed in the Office Locator, or look in the phone book under United States Government, Internal Revenue Service. Free tax com Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Free tax com Go to IRS. Free tax com gov and enter Apply for an EIN in the search box. Free tax com Read the Internal Revenue Code, regulations, or other official guidance. Free tax com Read Internal Revenue Bulletins. Free tax com Sign up to receive local and national tax news and more by email. Free tax com Just click on “subscriptions” above the search box on IRS. Free tax com gov and choose from a variety of options. Free tax com Phone. Free tax com   You can call the IRS, or you can carry it in your pocket with the IRS2Go app on your smart phone or tablet. Free tax com Download the free IRS2Go app from the iTunes app store or from Google Play. Free tax com Call to locate the nearest volunteer help site, 1-800-906-9887 or you can use the VITA Locator Tool on IRS. Free tax com gov, or download the IRS2Go app. Free tax com Low-to-moderate income, elderly, people with disabilities, and limited English proficient taxpayers can get free help with their tax return from the nationwide Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Free tax com The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program helps taxpayers age 60 and older with their tax returns. Free tax com Most VITA and TCE sites offer free electronic filing. Free tax com Some VITA and TCE sites provide IRS-certified volunteers who can help prepare your tax return. Free tax com Through the TCE program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program; call 1-888-227-7669 to find the nearest Tax-Aide location. Free tax com Call the automated Where's My Refund? information hotline to check the status of your 2013 refund 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-829-1954. Free tax com If you e-file, you can start checking on the status of your return within 24 hours after the IRS receives your tax return or 4 weeks after you've mailed a paper return. Free tax com The IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Free tax com Where's My Refund? will give you a personalized refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund. Free tax com Before you call this automated hotline, have your 2013 tax return handy so you can enter your social security number, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund. Free tax com The IRS updates Where's My Refund? every 24 hours, usually overnight, so you only need to check once a day. Free tax com Note, the above information is for our automated hotline. Free tax com Our live phone and walk-in assistors can research the status of your refund only if it's been 21 days or more since you filed electronically or more than 6 weeks since you mailed your paper return. Free tax com Call the Amended Return Hotline, 1-866-464-2050, to check the status of your amended return. Free tax com You can generally expect your amended return to be processed up to 12 weeks from the date we receive it. Free tax com It can take up to 3 weeks from the date you mailed it to show up in our system. Free tax com Call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) to order current-year forms, instructions, publications, and prior-year forms and instructions (limited to 5 years). Free tax com You should receive your order within 10 business days. Free tax com Call TeleTax, 1-800-829-4477, to listen to pre-recorded messages covering general and business tax information. Free tax com If, between January and April 15, you still have questions about the Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ (like filing requirements, dependents, credits, Schedule D, pensions and IRAs or self-employment taxes), call 1-800-829-1040. Free tax com Call using TTY/TDD equipment, 1-800-829-4059 to ask tax questions or order forms and publications. Free tax com The TTY/TDD telephone number is for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability. Free tax com These individuals can also contact the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service. Free tax com Walk-in. Free tax com   You can find a selection of forms, publications and services — in-person. Free tax com Products. Free tax com You can walk in to some post offices, libraries, and IRS offices to pick up certain forms, instructions, and publications. Free tax com Some IRS offices, libraries, and city and county government offices have a collection of products available to photocopy from reproducible proofs. Free tax com Services. Free tax com You can walk in to your local TAC for face-to-face tax help. Free tax com An employee can answer questions about your tax account or help you set up a payment plan. Free tax com Before visiting, use the Office Locator tool on IRS. Free tax com gov, or choose the Contact Us option on the IRS2Go app and search Local Offices for days and hours of operation, and services provided. Free tax com Mail. Free tax com   You can send your order for forms, instructions, and publications to the address below. Free tax com You should receive a response within 10 business days after your request is received. Free tax com Internal Revenue Service 1201 N. Free tax com Mitsubishi Motorway Bloomington, IL 61705-6613   The Taxpayer Advocate Service Is Here to Help You. 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Free tax com Here's why we can help: TAS is an independent organization within the IRS. Free tax com Our advocates know how to work with the IRS. Free tax com Our services are free and tailored to meet your needs. Free tax com We have offices in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Free tax com   How can you reach us? If you think TAS can help you, call your local advocate, whose number is in your local directory and at Taxpayer Advocate, or call us toll-free at 1-877-777-4778. Free tax com   How else does TAS help taxpayers?  TAS also works to resolve large-scale, systemic problems that affect many taxpayers. Free tax com If you know of one of these broad issues, please report it to us through our Systemic Advocacy Management System. Free tax com Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications