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Primary TIN for Alien Joint Checking

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Question: 
A professional sports player who is a non-resident alien would like to open a joint checking account. The other owner will be his manager. Do we have to use the manager's TIN as the primary TIN on this account even though he will not be benefiting from the interest payments? He is on the account only for convenience sake when the other individual is traveling.
Answer: 

That's the IRS requirement. If only one of the joint owners has an SSN, that individual's SSN must be furnished on the Form W-9 (see W-9 instructions, page 4, footnote 1 to the table "What Name and Number to Give the Requester."

Consider, however, the reason you described for having the manager on the account. If it's joint, the manager owns the account, too. If the manager were only a convenience (authorized) signer, the account would belong to the athlete, you'd have to obtain a W-8BEN from him, and any interest reporting would be in the athlete's name, on Form 1042S (assuming he's a resident of Canada or, after 2013, one of the 70 plus countries listed by the IRS as requiring 1042S reporting).

First published on BankersOnline.com 4/30/12

First published on 04/30/2012

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