QI regime: collection of customers’ documentation

NRA and US Person Documentation

The collection of documentation from its customers is the backbone of the entire QI regime. Non Resident Alien (NRA) customers must be correctly identified and documented with the W-8 module or alternative documentary evidence (e.g. Know Your Customer, KYC, rules). US customers must submit a W-9 form instead.Only correctly documented QI customers are entitled to the reduced withholding tax.W8 and W9. There are different types of W-8 modules, each of which is used to document a type of customer.
Form NameRecipient type
W-9US person
W-8BENNRA natural persons
W-8BEN-ENRA legal persons
  • Intermediary entities of other clients (es: NQI or other QI)
  • Partnerships
  • Flow Through Entities, FTE
W-8EXPOther NRA customers requesting withholding tax exemption:: 
  • Non-US Governments
  • International organizations
  • Other exempted entities
W-8ECINRA customers requesting withholding tax exemption because the income received is relevant to the permanent establishment in the U.S.
As an alternative to the W-8 forms, the QI may collect other documentary evidence allowed by the IRS. For direct NRA customers, IRS allows documentation via the KYC rules. As an example, the QI may accept the copy of the ID card provided by its customer if it is considered as valid proof for the purposes of the KYC of the country in which the QI is established.

Definition and documentation of US Person

The US person is defined in section 7701(a)(30) of the IRC and is defined as:

  • a U.S. citizen or resident in the United States;
  • a partnership incorporated in the United States;
  • a corporation incorporated in the United States;
  • a trust, if
    • a United States court is able to exercise primary jurisdiction over the administration of the trust, and
    • one or more US Persons have the authority to review all substantive decisions of the trust.

A US Person who has completed and signed form W-9 (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf) is considered documented. Form W-9 must include the customer’s tax identification number, i.e. the customer’s U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). In the absence of W9, or if TIN is missing, the QI shall apply the 24% withholding tax (i.e. the current rate for Backup Withholding) on both proceeds and sales revenues for US securities.

Definition and documentation of NRA

All customers not classified as US Persons are considered NRAs.

NRA customers must be identified by a special form W-8, which varies according to the type of customer. For direct customers, IRS permits documentation through the KYC rules.

Natural Persons NRA
  • W-8
  • Documentation in accordance to KYC rules of the QI’s country
Transparent entities (FTE, NQI)

The documentation of the entity collecting the proceeds shall be: 

  • W8-IMY + Withholding statement


The documentation of the partners/beneficiaries/customers is distinguished according to whether they are actual beneficiaries for QI purposes or not.


Beneficial Owners:

  • W8-BEN/W9 of partners/beneficiaries/customers


NON Beneficial Owners:

  • W8-IMY + Withholding statement of legal entity
  • W8-BEN/W9 of partners/beneficiaries/customers
Legal persons NRA
  • W8-BEN-E of legal persons or:
  • Anti-Money Laundering Documentation + Treaty Statement

Period of validity of the W8 and W9 documentation

The period of validity of the documentation submitted by modules W-8 or W-9 depends for each module. The terms currently in force for each module are as follows.
FormPeriod of Validity
W-8IMYAs long as the information given does not change
W-8BENUntil the third calendar year following the date of subscription and issue  

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