What is the purpose of the security questions?

IB requires applicants to select and provide answers to three security questions each selected from a separate pool of questions having varying degrees of complexity. In the event we receive a telephone inquiry involving sensitive information, prior to acknowledging or discussing any account specific information with the caller we will first look to verify that caller's identity. This is accomplished through a multi-tier security process, one tier which requires that the caller answer a randomly selected security question.  The caller must provide an answer to the security question which exactly matches the answer we have on file. Otherwise, the request for information will be denied and a potential lock-down placed upon the account.

Am I required to fund my account prior to application approval?

While applicants are required to provide IB with notification as to the amount they intend to fund their account with and the manner in which they fund the account in order to have the application considered for approval, there is no requirement that the funding actually take place prior to approval.   

Applicants may nevertheless elect to remit funds via wire, check or electronic funds transfer (e.g., ACH, EFT) prior to receiving confirmation of account approval in an effort to accelerate commencement of any credit hold period. It should be noted, however, that deposits received prior to account approval are held in suspense and are not credited to the account nor eligible to accrue interest until the application has been approved.  In the case where the applicant has authorized IB to fund the account via asset transfer (e.g., ACATS, ATON) from another broker, IB will not initiate the transfer until the application has been approved.

Overview of Secure Login System

The security of your assets and personal information is of utmost concern to us and we are committed to taking the steps necessary to make certain you are protected from the moment you open up your account.  

To provide you with the highest level of online security, Interactive Brokers has implemented a Secure Login System (SLS) through which access to your account is subject to two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication serves to confirm your identity at the point of login using two security factors: 1) Something you know (your username and password combination); and 2) Something you have (an IB issued security device which generates a random, single-use security code). As both knowledge of your username/password and physical possession of the security device are required to login to your account, participation in the Secure Login System virtually eliminates the possibility of anyone other than you accessing your account.
Benefits of Enrollment
The principal benefit of SLS enrollment is to protect your account from unauthorized access. There is no fee associated with enrollment[1] and participants have the added benefits of: 1) higher withdrawals thresholds over both single and five day periods; 2) ability to change your banking instructions and email address without contact from a member of our Security Team; 3) ability to effect ACH & EFT funding transactions beyond an initial USD 20,000 account funding transaction; and 4) the ability to share a single device across multiple like accounts.
How to Enroll
Enrollment is easy. In the case of new applicants, you will be provided with an email link with instructions for printing and activating an on-line security card during the account configuration step of the online application. This on-line card is intended as a temporary device expiring 21 days after your account has been funded, during which time a permanent device will be shipped to you. Once you receive your permanent device and follow the instructions for its activation, your on-line card will be automatically de-activated and may be disposed. It’s important to note that the permanent devices are set to automatically activate after a set timeframe if not manually activated by the account holder. If you choose to use the IB Key (smartphone digital access key application) you will need to validate your phone number. You can do so directly in the smartphone app. Detailed instructions are available in KB2260.
If you are an existing user and haven’t already enrolled in SLS, you will need to log into Account Management and select the Manage Account, Security, Secure Login System and then Security Device menu options. You will be presented with a screen displaying the device that you will receive and through which you will confirm your address of record.
Lost, Damaged or Temporarily Unavailable Device
In the case of a lost, damaged or temporarily unavailable security device, you will need to contact your regional Customer Service Center via telephone to arrange for a replacement and/or to provide for interim access. Once your identity has been verified you will be provided a temporary passcode (i.e., a static alpha-numeric code which replaces the random code supplied by your security device) that will allow you to log into your Account Management and print the on-line security card. The on-line card will provide interim access for up to 21 days, sufficient time for a replacement device to be shipped or, should your device be temporarily unavailable, time to regain possession and re-activate your permanent device. See KB1943 for instructions on requesting a replacement device.
Types of Devices
IB provides a range of security devices, each tailored to meet the portability and security needs of your particular account. Once funded, account holders can activate a smartphone security application or request a physical security device.   
1. Security Code Card - This resembles a credit card with 224 alpha-numeric codes.

2. Digital Security Card+ - Similar to the Digital Security Card, but requiring entry of a challenge code as an additional layer of protection.

3. IB Key – This is an iPhone application that requires a PIN code to operate.
For Additional Information 
See KB1042 for video instructions on logging in with the Secure Code Card.

[1] If your device is lost, damaged or stolen or if you close your account and fail to return the device, a charge will be assessed to cover its cost. This charge, which is a function of the device provided, ranges from 20.00 – 150.00 USD.

Why am I required to provide a W-8 if I am not a US citizen or resident?

As IB LLC is a carrying broker domiciled in the U.S., it is required to report information and, in certain instances, make payment of withholding taxes to the U.S. tax authority, the Internal Revenue Service for all account holders. To certify oneself as a non-U.S. person, a Form W-8 is requested at the time of application and is required to be re-certified every three years thereafter. If IB does not receive the W-8 or the account holder fails to re-certify the W-8 in a timely manner, then the account holder is presumed to be a US person and, absent a W-9, may then be subject to back-up withholding taxes on interest, dividends and substitute payments in lieu, as well as gross proceeds.

By certifying yourself as a non-U.S. person through a properly completed W-8, your U.S. withholding is limited to dividends issued by US corporations. Note that virtually all countries apply withholding taxes when local companies seek to distribute dividends to externally based shareholders (whether those shareholders are corporate or not). The rate at which IB is obligated to withhold for a given payment depends largely upon whether there is a tax treaty in place between the country where the dividend paying country is based and the country of residence of the dividend recipient.

Application Assistance - Registration Confirmation Number

The Registration Confirmation Number is a random numeric code sent to the applicant's email address which serves to register the email address as valid once the number has been retrieved and entered into the application. Failure to receive the email containing this number can generally be attributed to one of two causes:

1. Service Provider Delay - Most email messages are delivered within a few minutes, although messages can sometimes be delayed as they move from point to point to their ultimate destination, the recipient’s email client. Once the email containing the Registration Confirmation Number is sent from the IB mail server it is tracked to ensure it reaches the mail server of the recipient’s service provider, however, IB is unable to track status beyond that point. Most cases of delayed email are due to slow or overloaded mail servers and in rare instances delays can last for several hours or more.
2. False Spam Detection – most service providers have spam filters and other checks they run on incoming emails and oftentimes legitimate messages can inadvertently be flagged as spam. The techniques used to block email traffic that is judged extremely likely to be spam vary by provider and as a general rule are not disclosed..
If, after a reasonable time, you fail to receive this email, the first step should be to review and ensure that the email address you’ve provided has been entered correctly. This address is displayed on the application page where token entry is required and if incorrect, simply re-enter the correct address on that page. If that address is correct you may wish to request that another Registration Confirmation Number be sent by clicking on the Request Confirmation # button.
If the problem persists, check the Junk or Spam folder in your email account. Most service providers also allow users to create a White List of contacts that the user deems as acceptable for delivery of messages to the In box. This can typically be accomplished by adding the following IB address to your Contacts List: help@interactivebrokers.com and then requesting another Registration Confirmation Number.
Should that step all fail, you may wish to contact your service provider and inquire as to the status of their mail server and whether they have a block in place on the IB mail address. If your ISP cannot provide a satisfactory answer to your inquiry, we recommend that you use an alternate email account to resend the email. You may then subsequently change your email address at a later date.


Which Tax Form Should I Select?


3 simple questions can help you choose a tax certification form.   Read the questions and select the form.  For more detailed help, see Tax Information & Reporting.

Question # 1:      Are you a U.S. Person or a U.S. Entity?

• U.S. Citizen • U.S. Business or Organization
• U.S. Green Card Holder • U.S. Domestic Trust
                                       • U.S. Legal Resident

If the answer is YES, complete Form W-9

If the answer is NO, go to # 2.

Question # 2:      Do you have a U.S. Visa?


• H-1B Visa Holder • TN Visa Holder         
                                         • O-1 Visa Holder

If the answer is YES, find your status by the "substantial presence test." See More U.S. Legal Resident Info 

If the answer is NO, go to # 3.

Question # 3:      Are you a Legal Resident or Entity of another country?

                                      *Question does Not apply to U.S. Citizens/Entities or Green Card Holders

• Permanent Home Outside of U.S • Entity Formed Outside of U.S.
                                      •Business or Organization formed outside of U.S.

If the answer is YES, complete Form W-8  (U.S. Citizens, Green Card Holders, and Entities still complete the W-9.)

NOT SURE because you work, live, or study in the U.S. then, see More U.S. Legal Resident Info 


Disclaimer:  IB does not provide tax advice. These statements are provided for information purposes only, are not intended to constitute tax advice which may be relied upon to avoid penalties under any international, federal, state, local or other tax statutes or regulations, and do not resolve any tax issues in your favor. We recommend that you consult a qualified tax adviser or refer to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Certify Your Tax Status


Filling out a tax certification form is required to open an IB account.  The forms confirm your tax status in relation to the United States.  Information provided by you may lower or exempt the U.S. tax withholding on your account.


This article will help you to:

►Choose the correct certification form                            ►Find your tax treaty benefits

►Fill out and submit your form online                              ►Answer tax certification questions





Which Form Do You Pick?

Tax Treaty Benefits

Management of account activity differs for each account type.  IB is a U.S. broker and must follow U.S. guidelines.  3 simple questions help you choose the right form

Some countries have a tax treaty with the U.S.  Find out if you benefit from a lower tax-withholding rate. Tax Treaty Benefit Info

Filling Out The Form

Tax Certification – FAQ’s

The certification form is direct.  Supply basic account information on the true owner of the assets or entity.  Select  W-9 Instructions or W-8 Instructions for help. Seek professional advice for tax questions.  These common questions and answers may help you make an informed decision.  Tax Certification - Frequently Asked Questions




Disclaimer:  IB does not provide tax advice. These statements are provided for information purposes only, are not intended to constitute tax advice which may be relied upon to avoid penalties under any international, federal, state, local or other tax statutes or regulations, and do not resolve any tax issues in your favor. We recommend that you consult a qualified tax advisor or refer to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.



How and When to Use a Direct Rollover


This information is for general educational purposes only.  Individuals should consult with their financial adviser or legal counsel to determine how rollover regulations affect their unique situations.

Generally, an investor changing jobs or leaving the workforce may utilize either a Direct Rollover election to continue their retirement savings outside of their employer-sponsored retirement plan.   Assets distributed directly to your IRA from the retirement plan may qualify as a Direct Rollover.

What is a Direct Rollover?

The Direct Rollover is a tax-free distribution to you of cash or other assets from one retirement plan that you contribute to another retirement plan, including an IRA.  The contribution to the IRA is called a rollover contribution.  The Direct Rollover method transfers the assets directly from the retirement plan (and not to the IRA owner) into the investor's IRA, avoiding the 20% mandatory IRS withholding.  This option to transfer retirement assets has no age limitations.

Eligible retirement plans include:

  • Employer's qualified pension, profit -sharing, or stock bonus plan
  • Annuity plan
  • Tax sheltered annuity plan (section 403(b) plan)
  • Governmental deferred compensation plan (section 457 plan)

Who do you contact first? 

Contact your retirement plan administrator or the human resources office for eligibility and requirements.  The plan administrator is required to provide a reasonable direct method of asset transfer.   Completion of an IRA Rollover Form provided by the administrator may be required, in some cases.  In other cases, the plan accepts an IRA Rollover Form supplied by your IRA's broker.  Therefore, it is important to check with the plan administrator.

Initiating your Direct Rollover through IB 

For those transfers that require a broker-supplied IRA Rollover Form, Interactive Brokers provides a convenient IRA Rollover Form.  Interactive Brokers will forward the request to the plan administrator or broker for processing.  Funds may be transferred by either wire transfer or check directly to Interactive Brokers.

Before accepting an IRA rollover transaction into an IRA, we require that you review your eligibility for the rollover and certify your understanding of the rollover rules and conditions.  The IRA Rollover Form includes the Rollover Form and an IRA Rollover Certification Form.

The Fund Transfers page within the Account Management lets you notify IB of an IRA Rollover deposit of funds into your account.  Select the Funding tab in the header link and choose Deposit Funds in the Transaction list.   In the Method list, select Direct Rollover.  Complete, sign, and return both forms to the Interactive Brokers address on the form.

Contact Customer Service with any additional questions.



In compliance with Treasury Department Circular 230, unless stated to the contrary, any information contained in this article was not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer.

Determining the IB entity in which an account is maintained


All applicants are required to specify their country of legal residency during the initial stage of the application process. Based upon the response provided, the applicant will automatically be provided with the appropriate application forms, agreements and disclosures specific to the IB entity through which the account will be maintained upon approval (e.g., IB LLC, IB Canada, IB UK, IB India, IB Japan).  

It's important to note that the IB entity to which an account is assigned is not subject to client discretion but rather determined by regulation and is a function of an individual's stated country of legal residency or, in the case of an entity, its country of formation.

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