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Publication 515

U.S. Taxpayer
Identification Numbers(p29)

As the withholding agent, in most cases you must request that the payee provide you with its U.S. taxpayer identification number (TIN). You must include the payee's TIN on forms, statements, and other tax documents. The payee's TIN may be any of the following.
A TIN must be on a withholding certificate if the beneficial owner is claiming any of the following. In addition, a TIN must be on a withholding certificate from a person claiming to be any of the following.

Exceptions to TIN requirement. (p29)

A foreign person does not have to provide a U.S. TIN to claim a reduced rate of withholding under a tax treaty if the requirements for the following exceptions are met.
Unexpected payment. (p29)
A Form W-8BEN or a Form 8233 provided by a nonresident alien to get treaty benefits does not need a U.S. TIN if you, the withholding agent, meet all the following requirements.
An acceptance agent is a person who, under a written agreement with the IRS, is authorized to assist alien individuals and other foreign persons get ITINs or EINs. For information on the application procedures for becoming an acceptance agent, see Rev. Proc. 2006-10, 2006-2 I.R.B. 293, available at
A payment is unexpected if you or the beneficial owner could not have reasonably anticipated the payment during a time when an ITIN could be obtained. This could be due to the nature of the payment or the circumstances in which the payment is made. A payment is not considered unexpected solely because the amount of the payment is not fixed.

Example. (p29)

Mary, a citizen and resident of Ireland, visits the United States and wins $5,000 playing a slot machine in a casino. Under the treaty with Ireland, the winnings are not subject to U.S. tax. Mary claims the treaty benefits by providing a Form W-8BEN to the casino upon winning at the slot machine. However, she does not have an ITIN. The casino is an acceptance agent that can request an ITIN on an expedited basis.
Situation 1. Assume that Mary won the money on Sunday. Since the IRS does not issue ITINs on Sunday, the casino can pay $5,000 to Mary without withholding U.S. tax. The casino must, on the following Monday, fax a completed Form W-7 for Mary, including the required certification, to the IRS for an expedited ITIN.
Situation 2. Assume that Mary won the money on Monday. To pay the winnings without withholding U.S. tax, the casino must apply for and get an ITIN for Mary because an expedited ITIN is available from the IRS at the time of the payment.