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US withholding tax on derivatives - 871 (m)

The US Internal Revenue Service ('IRS') has issued regulations under Section 871(m) of the US tax code to ensure that non-US holders of US equity derivatives - including spread betting and CFDs - are taxed on dividend adjustments in the same way as non-US holders of the real US dividends.

IG has an obligation under this US tax regulation to obtain documentation from our clients that hold CFDs and spread betting instruments that reference US equities. Please provide us with either one of the W-8 forms listed below or a Form W-9, depending on your circumstances.

Why choose IG for dealing on US equities?

  • Online form
    Our electronic W-8BEN enables most clients to apply online via a pre-populated form, in as little as two minutes

  • We’re a qualified derivatives dealer (QDD)*
    We can pay dividend-equivalent payments with the relevant amount of withholding tax deducted

What do I need to do?

If you want to deal on US equities from any of your IG accounts, please complete one of the forms detailed below and return it to us as soon as possible.  

Private clients

If you’re not a corporate client, joint account holder, a US citizen or resident of the US, you need to complete our quick and easy electronic Form W-8BEN as soon as possible:

  1. Log in to your IG account
  2. Go to the ‘settings’ tab in My IG
  3. Select ‘dealing US stock’
  4. Answer a few questions about your tax status and e-sign

The whole process should only take a minute or two. Your information will be stored at IG and only be shared with the IRS on audit.

Joint account holders, US citizens or residents of the US, and corporate clients

Please complete the relevant form from our US stocks page and return it to newaccounts.si@ig.com, or to our postal address: IG, Cannon Bridge House, 25 Dowgate Hill, London EC4R 2YA. 

Joint account holders that are not US citizens or residents of the US should each complete a Form W-8BEN, and return both to us together.

Individual US citizens or residents of the US should complete and return a Form W-9

Corporate clients should complete and return ONE of the following forms:

  • Form W-8BEN-E — Certificate of Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Entities);
  • Form W-8ECI — Certificate of Foreign Person's Claim That Income Is Effectively Connected With the Conduct of a Trade or Business in the United States;
  • Form W-8EXP — Certificate of Foreign Government or Other Foreign Organization for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting;
  • Form W-8IMY — Certificate of Foreign Intermediary, Foreign Flow-Through Entity, or Certain U.S. Branches for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting; or
  • Form W-9 — Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification

Form W-8BEN-E: Those corporate clients that are (i) resident in a country with which the US has a double taxation treaty and (ii) are making a claim under that treaty should be aware of the treaty’s Limitation on Benefits provisions and the terms within those provisions.  For more information, please visit the IRS website.

Which products are affected?

This withholding applies to spread bets and CFDs on shares in US incorporated companies, ETFs and non-qualified indices which contain US equities. 

There will, however, be an exemption for spread bets and CFDs on qualified indices, such as:

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average
  • S&P 500
  • NASDAQ 100
  • Russell 2000

The rules apply to contracts with a delta of 0.8 or greater, relative to a US underlying. However, guidance from the IRS allows a phased-in approach such that only 'delta one' products will be in scope for 2017. This includes both spread betting and CFD contracts. 

Which positions will this apply to?

The rules apply to any in-scope positions opened on or after 1 January 2017.  From 1 January 2018, they will apply to any in-scope positions that remain open from 2016. 

What is the new regulation?

The IRS has issued regulations under Section 871(m) to ensure that foreign holders of US equity derivatives – including CFDs – are taxed on dividend income in the same way as foreign holders of the underlying equities. The new regulations achieve that by deeming 'dividend-equivalent payments' arising on derivatives over US equities to be US-source dividend income.

An individual would be subject to 30% withholding tax under normal US rules. However, many countries have tax treaties with the US which allows their residents to pay a reduced rate. 

What does IG do with my information?

We will hold these forms on file and will not provide them to the IRS unless they are required as part of an IRS audit.

* IG has extended its current Qualified Intermediary (QI) status to include a Qualified Derivatives Dealer (QDD) status. This means that for in-scope contracts, we can receive dividend-equivalent payments without the deduction of tax and ensure the correct amount of withholding tax is deducted from dividend equivalent payments made to clients.