The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has required all U.S.-based companies, like Upwork, to make sure that international freelancers complete a new W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E form. The form needs to include their tax identification number and current tax residence.
The IRS uses W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E forms to determine whether a freelancer lives in the U.S. and what taxes, if any, we need to collect from their earnings on Upwork.
It’s essential to complete the form by Dec 31, 2022. If we do not have a new form on file as proof that a freelancer is a non-U.S. citizen, we are required to withhold 30% of the freelancer’s future earnings on Upwork and send them to the IRS. As long as a new W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E form is filled out, we’re not required to withhold at this rate.
We can’t provide refunds on tax withholdings submitted to the IRS, even if the forms are completed after Dec 31, 2022. Please fill in the required forms as soon as possible.
We encourage international freelancers to review and update their tax information to avoid these tax withholdings. To review and update, go to your settings and select Tax information.
Frequently asked questions
What are W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E forms?
These forms are required by the IRS. The IRS uses this information to determine whether you live in the U.S. and what taxes, if any, we need to collect from your earnings on Upwork.
Who needs to complete W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E forms?
All non-U.S. individual taxpayers who receive payments on Upwork must complete the W-8BEN form to verify that they are not a U.S. Person, and are performing services outside of the United States.
Why is it important to fill in these forms?
Completing these forms is required to prove you are not a U.S. citizen and do not need to pay U.S. income taxes. Without this proof, the IRS requires that we withhold 30% of your future earnings to pay for income taxes.
As long as a new W-8BEN/W-8BEN-E form is filled out completely, we’re not required to withhold at this rate.
What happens if I don't fill in these forms?
We are required to follow with IRS regulations and withhold income tax from your future earnings if a new W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E is not completed by December 31, 2022.
Any tax withheld this way will be sent to the IRS. Unfortunately, refunds will not be provided if the forms are completed at a later date.
Why do I have to complete a W-8BEN form for Upwork when I already have one on file?
Due to the recent change in reporting thresholds by the IRS, we need to reconfirm this information.
What is a tax identification number and how do I get one?
This is the number that your country uses for collecting your tax information and may have a different name, such as PAN in India, for example. Some countries may use a national ID number.
You may be able to find information about your country’s TIN here. If you have questions about your number, you will need to consult a tax advisor in your country or contact your local tax authority.
Why do I have to complete a W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E form when my address is obviously outside the U.S.?
Your address alone does not confirm that you’re not a U.S. citizen. For example, U.S. citizens living abroad are still subject to U.S. income tax (and must provide us with a W-9 form).
Without the W-8BEN form, U.S. tax law requires us to withhold up to 30% of your future earnings on Upwork and send the withholdings to the IRS. The W-8BEN confirms that you are not a U.S. taxpayer and not subject to U.S. tax on your earnings.