I'm a Danish (European) Citizen. I lived in the US from 2009 to 2010 after which I moved to China. I kept a bank account (Bank of America) and stock trading account (TD Ameritrade) in the US after having moved. Now, I did not immediately change my new status as a non-resident nor my address with TD Ameritrade and I continued to trade stocks via this US platform. Two weeks ago I was advised the following via email by TD Ameritrade: "Currently there is a withholding restriction on your account because TD Ameritrade has been notified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that the name or tax identification number (TIN) listed on this TD Ameritrade account may be incorrect." And I had to send a completed W-9. Now, this obviously happened because I no longer live in the US and I assume that my TIN is therefore no longer valid. I have updated my TDA account to show my foreign status, however, they have advised me to contact IRS directly to get back the withheld funds. I just don't know what I need to do.Also TDA advised the following:"Until this issue is resolved, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that we withhold 28% of the total amount of each sale, dividend or interest payment. IRS guidelines also do not allow us to return withheld funds. The withheld amounts will be listed on your Consolidated Forms 1099 for this Tax Year. You may wish to consult a tax advisor for assistance in claiming a refund for funds paid to the IRS from your account."I have completed a W8-BEN with TD ameritrade and with them I have been updated as a non-resident alien for tax purposes. But in my last correspondance they advised the following: "When reviewing your account I am showing that your foreign tax status has been updated. Unfortunately, we are only able to return withheld funds from the time we receive the paperwork going forward and not anything previously withheld. The previous funds withheld will be reported on a Consolidated Form 1099 and you will need to reclaim them directly from the IRS on your personal Income Tax return."Appreciate your assistance in advising what I should do to get the funds back.Also, as a non-resident foreign alien I am required to pay US taxes on stocks traded through a US online broker?
State/Country relating to question: United States
Sorry to hear that you are experiencing this. Basically your TIN is still valid it's just that somewhere, somehow it became clear that you were no longer a US resident alien and as such subject to withholding.
You already did the best thing by providing the W-8BEN. This limits the withholding to only US sourced income such as dividends and certain types of interest. Gains on sales should not be subject to withholding. You can't really get this money back. The withholding is the US's way to tax the income generated in the US.
Regarding the taxes withheld prior to you submitting the W-8BEN - you should be able to file a non resident alien "1040NR" return to claim this tax back assuming you qualify to file. Otherwise I am sorry to say that these taxes are foregone.
Here is a link to the 1040NR instructions - http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040nr.pdf
Sorry I could not provide better news. The US imposes federal withholding taxes on US sourced interest and dividends paid to foreign persons (unless a treaty applies). There really isn't anything you can do to get these taxes back.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.