Can I invest if I don’t live in the U.S?
Yes, you can.
But to be clear, when we say that a non-U.S. investor is allowed to invest, we mean only that she is allowed to invest under the laws of the United States. We do not make any representation that she is allowed to invest under the laws of her country of residence, or even that the offering is legal under the laws of that country.
When you invest as a non-U.S. investor, you will be asked to represent that the offering and your investment are permitted under the laws of your country of residence. Be sure to consult your tax advisor on the legality of investing under the laws of your country, and the legality of investing in any particular offering on our site.
If I don’t live in the U.S., is there anything additional required for me to make an investment?
However, unless your country has a tax treaty with the United States that stipulates a lower withholding rate, the issuer is required to withhold 30% of any return you earn per the United States tax code. If you plan to claim a refund of any of the tax withheld, or claim the benefits of reduced tax withholding rates per any income tax treaty for which you are eligible, you will need to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (or ITIN) prior to the end of the year, as this is required when filing such a claim. If you already have an ITIN you will be able to provide that number during the investment process. If not, you will need provide it to the issuer later.
What is an ITIN?
An ITIN is an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is required to process tax documents in the United States. It is a nine-digit number that always begins with the number 9 and has a 7 or 8 in the fourth digit, example 9XX-7X-XXXX. You can download the application from the IRS website.
How can I obtain an ITIN?
I don’t live in the U.S., where can I have my W-7 form certified?
W-7 forms and accompanying documents must be certified by a Notary Public. This service may be available at your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate, as U.S. Consular Officers abroad can sometimes function in the place of U.S. notaries public.
If I invest as an individual, how much of the income generated through my investment is withheld?
Unless your country has a tax treaty with the United States that stipulates a lower withholding rate, the issuer is required to withhold 30% of any return you earn per the United States tax code. You can find a list of countries that have tax treaties with the U.S. on the IRS website. These can be complicated documents, so always consult your tax advisor to assess whether the treaty has any impact on your withholding.
What is a tax treaty?
The United States has tax treaties with quite a few foreign countries. These treaties may provide residents (not necessarily citizens) of foreign countries with a reduction or exemption on United States taxes on certain types of income they receive from sources within the United States.
How can I find out if my country has a tax treaty with the U.S.?
You can find a list of countries that have tax treaty with the U.S. on the IRS website. As noted above, these can be complicated documents, so always consult your tax advisor to assess whether the treaty has any impact on your withholding.
My country has a tax treaty with the United States, how do I claim treaty benefits?
To claim treaty benefits, you must have an ITIN (see above) and you must complete Form W-8BEN which can be find on the IRS website. If you have your ITIN and have confirmed the existence of a tax treaty between your country and the U.S., you will be able to provide all the required information during the investment process and will not need to file a separate W-8BEN with the issuer. If you do not have the ITIN or still need to confirm the existence of an income tax treaty or the specific benefits for which you may be eligible, you can always provide this information to the issuer prior to the end of the year.
In either case, always be sure to consult your tax advisor If you have any questions about the W-8BEN or your country’s tax treaty with the United States.