The IRS today released final instructions to Forms W-8BEN-E and 8966.  Form W-8BEN-E is used by entities that are beneficial owners of offshore financial accounts to document non-resident status to avoid 30% withholding tax.  These long-awaited instructions, appearing just before the July 1, 2014 FATCA compliance deadline, include definitional clarifications that will be important for foreign entities considering their compliance obligations.

Form 8966 is used by foreign financial institutions (FFIs) reporting information about  US accounts.  It is also used for reporting by qualified intermediaries and by a number of other entities.

The IRS also released draft instructions for Form 8938.  Form 8938 is used by US individual taxpayers to report information about certain foreign financial accounts and offshore assets.