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The W-9 is asking whether or not the Federal Government (or, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)) has specifically told you that you're not to be trusted to claim your income in a truthful manner, and that someone else has to do it for you. As a Canadian not working or living in the US, I'm surprised that you even have to fill out a W-9. I'm quite certain that you can lawfully not tick the box. Back-up withholding is where the other entity (in this case, your discount brokerage) will withhold any taxes due; then, at the time of filing your tax forms, you can work out whether the Feds owe you money (i.e., you paid too much taxes) or if you owe the Feds some more money.

I'm unsure exactly what the W-8 and 1001 are. I haven't a memory for form numbers (selective memory, I think). Hope this helps.

David.
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