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I've opened PayPal account for my business and in My Profile I've clearly selected the UK address. My phone is UK, my bank accounts are UK and the balance is shown in GBP. So this is very clear to PayPal that my account is UK based.

However I've received the following e-mail which says:

Your account access will remain limited until you add more information about your business.

Why do I need to add this information?

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), a U.S. tax law, requires financial institutions like PayPal to collect additional information from customers when a new business account is opened. You need to add this information even if your business or your customers are not United States taxpayers or located in the United States. We collect this information for regulatory and compliance purposes.

By adding "more information" they mean to download U.S. form W-8BEN-E, fill it in completely and upload or fax it to PayPal, however I don't want to fill some U.S. form, simply because I'm not from the U.S and I don't want to share my confidential personal details with the foreign country. To clarify, my business doesn't have any clients from the US and my business is registered in the UK. And as an owner of the business I've never been to the U.S.

So my question is, why am I affected by a U.S. tax law? Do I really need to comply with U.S. tax law (having the business in the UK)?


The above quote from the e-mail says that I need to add this information even though my business isn't located in the U.S. However on the FATCA FAQ page (requires log-in) it says:

For accounts held outside the United States that belong to non-US persons, financial institutions such as PayPal must gather information from account holders providing that they are not US persons.

For me this is contradictory to the previous quote (because here they ask me to prove I'm not a U.S. person) so I'm confused as to what I should do.

In other words, can my UK business somehow ignore FATCA requirements or not? Currently I'm forced to comply to the country compliance act tax (by filling W-8BEN-E) where I've nothing to do with it, which doesn't make any sense.


PayPal - Your account has been limited - Complete your business information

  • 6
    Please be aware of the following. There’s a “Your account has been limited” email in circulation, targeting users of PayPal. The mail, which (bizarrely) claims to come from servicesATapple.com. There several variations of these emails and fake PayPal websites so please confirm by contacting PayPal via an alternate route not a link provided the possible scammer. Do a web search regarding these scams before giving away any details of you and your company. – user6999 Jun 20 '16 at 14:31
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    A "US person" can be non-resident in the US (i.e. living in the UK), so while having a UK address, phone number, and bank accounts may allow a presumption that you are a "non-US person", it does not allow a determination that you are a "non-US person". See 26 U.S. Code § 7701 - Definitions paragraph 30. – Randall Jun 20 '16 at 17:18
  • ...add more information about your business... What exactly are you needing to add? Do you find the same request as a 'Notification' or other alert/message when you directly logon to your PayPal account (and not by clicking a link in the e-mail). – user2338816 Jun 20 '16 at 21:46
  • @user2338816 By adding more information they mean Download form W-8BEN-E, fill it in completely and upload or fax it to PayPal. and I don't want to fill some U.S. form, simply because I'm not from U.S and I don't want to share my personal details with the foreign country. – kenorb Jun 21 '16 at 0:12
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    All W-8 series forms (and also W-9 series applicable to US-person recipients) are not filed with the IRS or anyone else in the US government; they are held only by the payor or FI, here paypal. If and only if payments and/or holdings are determined based (mostly?) on W-8 or W-9 to be reportable and/or withholdable, then those payments and/or holdings are reported, on several other forms. – dave_thompson_085 Jun 21 '16 at 12:50
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The reason that you are being asked to comply with a US law is because PayPal, a US company, is required to comply with US laws. If you do not comply, it is likely that they will be non-compliant and subject to sanctions.

For more background, FATCA reporting is used to identify businesses that a company does business with. In this scenario PayPal does business with you, 'Kenorb Inc', and so must prove to the regulatory agencies that you are not a US based company, hence the need for the W-8BENE.

In a similar way - people from other countries cannot simply ignore UK law when dealing with your business.

As for your quotes - they are not contradictory.

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    Said another way: You, Kenorb, are not required by US tax law to do this. PayPal is required to get this info if they wish to continue serving you. – user3851 Jun 20 '16 at 15:45
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    I'm not sure this is correct. When you sign up for a paypal account and give a UK address, you're redirected to paypal.co.uk, a web site that quotes these company details: "PayPal (Europe) S.à r.l. et Cie, S.C.A. is duly licenced as a Luxembourg credit institution in the sense of Article 2 of the law of 5 April 1993 on the financial sector as amended and is under the prudential supervision of the Luxembourg supervisory authority, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier, with registered office in L-1150 Luxembourg." -- that doesn't look like a US company to me. – Jules Jun 20 '16 at 18:51
  • @Jules: because the parent company of that subsidiary will be PayPal US, which will be bound by the US laws (even when acting via a subsidiary). – dave Jun 21 '16 at 6:26
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    Or said another other way, "I don't want to fill some U.S. form" -- then don't use a US payment system. The fact that they've also incorporated in Luxembourg in order to have an EU presence for legal purposes doesn't mean they've gone to the trouble of separating out their EU operations to shield them from US regulation. I think (not sure) that for example Visa and Mastercard operate differently. – Steve Jessop Jun 21 '16 at 7:42
  • And even for a separate, non-US entity/system, FATCA still applies -- in fact its main point is to apply to Foreign (from the US) Financial Institutions aka FFIs -- unless the FFI (or their country) is willing to be cut off from access to the US financial system and markets, and those are (still) so important globally very few FFIs are willing to risk that penalty. – dave_thompson_085 Jun 21 '16 at 12:56
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I am based in the UK and have 2 separate PayPal business accounts (for UK businesses). I have never had to fill in any US tax forms or any other forms.

Both of my accounts were at one point "limited" before supplying relevant documentation relating to the businesses. With one of the accounts I had a lot of trouble trying to supply the information through my online account (I can't remember the specifics but they were requesting information that blatantly wasn't relevant to the type of account and business involved—not the form you have been requested to fill in though).

After weeks of uploading different documentation with no luck I spoke to someone from PayPal on the phone and everything was resolved almost instantly with me sending relevant HMRC documentation. It seems PayPal's automated systems don't always know what they're talking about. Speak to a real person from PayPal and you're likely to get things sorted relatively easy.

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