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I am a US citizen living abroad. I am no longer a US resident and file my taxes with a 2555 for the foreign earned income exemption. I pay all my taxes and social security in my country of residence which has both tax treaties and totalization agreements with the US (so I should owe nothing in the US).

I am currently consulting for a US company which pays me in US dollars to a US bank account. They are asking me to fill out a W9 form. As you can see from the form, the assumption is that you have a US address on the form:

W9 Form

Do I need to fill out this form as an independent consultant with a contract to provide services for a US employer as a US citizen non-resident? If so, do I just wing it on the address field? Does this impact withholding or tax status?

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Yes.

As a US citizen - you're US tax resident. Your address matters (if it is within the US) for State withholding (if any required...), so don't write a fake US address if you don't want to pay taxes to a State you don't live in.

This form stays with the company that pays you, and while the assumption is that you're in the US - you can definitely write a foreign address as well. The address fields are free text.

  • Wouldn't he just use SSN? Why would a sole-proprietor consultant need a W-9 or a second TIN? – Jeff-Inventor ChromeOS Aug 11 '14 at 0:39
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    @Jeff-InventorChromeOS I'm not sure I understand what you mean. W9 is a form on which he'd just use SSN. Who said anything about a second TIN? – littleadv Aug 11 '14 at 0:51
  • Oh, sorry, I thought this was the form for applying for a new TIN. NM – Jeff-Inventor ChromeOS Aug 11 '14 at 0:55
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This form is just a request for your SSN or EIN and your type of business (sole proprietorship, corporation, etc). It's intended for US citizens, wherever you may be in the world.

The purpose of the form is so that the business receiving it can report your income to the IRS correctly. So it's important that everything on the form be correct.

Technically, the form isn't strictly necessary, as long as the business receives all the information it needs (and the form is meant to do that). I've had plenty of clients who just asked me to email them my SSN. But if you were sent the form in the first place, it's probably a larger company with a human resources department that's not up on the finer points and just knows to "get the W-9"...

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