Question of the Week
Friday, March 8, 2019 7:30 AM

Question:  We have a person that wishes to apply for membership in the credit union and is presenting social security card stamped with “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION”, do we use a W-8BEN or W-9?

Answer:  A W-8BEN would be appropriate.  The Social Security Administration offers these cards to persons lawfully admitted to the United States on a temporary basis who have DHS authorization to work.  This indicates that the person is a non-resident alien, who should fill out a W-8BEN.  That person’s SSN may be documented on that form.

When it comes to whether a W-8BEN or a W-9 is appropriate, the determining factor is whether or a person is a nonresident alien (NRA) or a person with permanent status in the USA (resident alien or U.S. Citizen).  Resident aliens are persons that have a green card or meet the IRS’s substantial presence test.

Note, there may be persons who meet the substantial presence test who do not have legal status to be present in the USA.  Credit unions may still service these members as long as they apply for a Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), as the IRS is unconcerned with immigration status as long as the person pays taxes.  That may not be the case with other government agencies.