Hi there, I'm new to this forum and looking for advice to do with minimising US withholding tax on US shares I plan on selling through my Etrade Australia account.

It turns out Etrade Australia don't offer the W-8BEN form anymore, for reasons I'm not quite sure and this means that if I decide to sell my US shares I'll be taxed at 30%.

Etrade use a 3rd party to execute international trades and also to manage the custody ( CitiGroup, CitiBank) of the international shares and as such they state that tax is automatically withheld at 30%.

Their advice on limiting this tax and claiming it back is either approaching the US IRS directly or engaging a tax agent.

I've rung them twice on this topic and they are very unhelpful and it seems they want to distance themselves as far away as possible from any explanation as to why this is the case and why they don't offer the form or the means to minimise any withholding taxfor their customers like Commsec do?

They did not have an answer on that point..

Anyway, what I'd like to know is, how do I arrange it so that when it comes to selling these shares through Etrade, I'm only going to be taxed at 15% rather than 30%?

I'm not even sure if this is possible as I imagine Citigroup/Citibank are'nt interested in me sending them my W-8BEN form and it sounds like they are the ones who hold onto the 30%.

Is this going to be an after the fact thing where I'll have to chase the IRS to get the money back after selling?

I'm just not up to speed with the process but I'd like to have it all in place like Commsec appear to in that if I sold the shares, they're only going to keep 15% rather than 30%.

Does anyone have experience here with this situation through Etrade Australia and managed to solve it?

I'd love to be able to sort this without having to move my shares from one broker to another as I've heard stories of that going belly up too..

Any advice would be great..