MicrostockGroup Sponsors


Author Topic: Photoshelter - US tax requirements for non-Americans  (Read 13559 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

« on: July 27, 2008, 16:11 »
0
I've just signed up with Phototshelter, and got a few images accepted. No sales yet, but I live in hope.

However I see that if you want a payment from them, are not a US citizen, and do not live in the US, you still have to complete some sort of a tax form - W-8BEN Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding.

Anyone know anything about this? I'm a British citizen living in Europe and have never been anywhere near the States. I don't see why they want personal details from me. What business is it of theirs?


« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2008, 19:32 »
0
You will only need the tax certificate if you actually ever sell anything there.

« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2008, 22:11 »
0
Bateleur...  my strong suggestion is to NOT upload at all or pull your images from PhotoShelter.   Any US company that requires you to fill this in..and they ARE NOT witholding tax, has no real understanding of their own (and international) tax laws.

Earlier this year I finished a 6-month fight with Disney Corp over the same issue of us filling in a W-8BEN.  Slightly different scenario...  They came to a foreign country, bought  an image then refused to pay on the basis of us not having this certificate. They bought the same image for years, then one guy  (that's all it takes) comes in and and says they the "rights" not to pay us if we don't comply with US tax laws.
The transaction happened in Australia, not the USA...  but one apple can spoil the whole bunch.  ....   run...  far away.  it's not worth the hassle.. trust me on this one.

And no... you REALLY don't need one..  But if you find someone who says you do, you will not change their minds.

Just my 2 cents worth!!    Cheers,  JC


« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2008, 01:53 »
0
What's all the fuss about?  Its just filling in a form.  They don't take all your teeth out at the same time, do they?

« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2008, 02:41 »
0
sharpshot...you're sort of right..  but you are not required to be registered within the US tax system if they are not withholding any tax.  If they are...no problems.  If they're not...it's not required.. simple as that.   Because once you're registered as a nonresident foreigner earning money in the US ..even though you're not being taxed and are required to claim the income within your own tax system..  the IRS will require you to file each year.

Crazy...but true.

« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2008, 03:18 »
0
Bateleur...  my strong suggestion is to NOT upload at all or pull your images from PhotoShelter.   Any US company that requires you to fill this in..and they ARE NOT witholding tax, has no real understanding of their own (and international) tax laws.

Strong words but do you know what you talk about? Getty and Corbis handle this issue exactly like Photoshelter. Guess there must be a reason for this besides not understanding tax laws.

« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2008, 03:29 »
0
hey Gizeh... which sites have made you fill in this paperwork to get paid?

« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2008, 03:36 »
0
hey Gizeh... which sites have made you fill in this paperwork to get paid?


I talk about the main businesses of Getty and Corbis in the U.S. It is different with their micro spin offs as they are not american (Istock-Canada, snapvillage-Ireland).

Microbius

« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2008, 04:27 »
0
I filled in one of these for a smaller agency that represents me in the US, I didn't see a problem with it, why not fill it in?

« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2008, 04:50 »
0
an US based micros?

we're currently with RF and separate RM agencies in the US and don't have this issue..  only one corporation to date and that was enough for us! 

The funny thing there... is only one staff member was trying to enforce it and the rest of the admin staff didn't think it was required.

« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2008, 07:29 »
0
Simple really don't fill it in and they will withold 30% of your 70% cut when they pay you, it will not be $0.25 and if you are happy with that no problem,  however if you do have a sale, you can fill it in and if your country has an agreement with the US then they will not withold tax or withold a different percentage, and you will then pay your local tax.

That is the way it works in the US, and it is not optional.

David (UK)


« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2008, 08:29 »
0
exactly Dave...  W-8BEN  has NOTHING TO DO WITH WITHHOLDING TAX.   Withholding tax on royalty/commission via worldwide tax treaty is 10% ..  30% is a penalty, not a tax...  and is not payable...  been through it with the IRS .

JC (from USA living in AUS)

Bateleur...  as you can see ..  this will just keep going.  I'm out, good luck.
cheers,  JC

« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2008, 13:46 »
0

I didn't see a problem with it, why not fill it in?


Because I am concerned by the way in which the US authorities are gathering data about individuals, worldwide. Will information about me stay purely withing the tax system ... or will it be sent elsewhere? There is no statement on the form that it will only be used for tax purposes.

I am not a US Citizen, nor have I ever been there, so I fail to see how my personal data are business of the US Government's.

I'm not a terrorist or a criminal either, and many people will say, "If you've got nothing to hide you've not nothing to worry about."

Unfortunately, as a number of innocent but unfortunate individuals will attest, this isn't always true.

 

« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2008, 18:27 »
0
sharpshot...you're sort of right..  but you are not required to be registered within the US tax system if they are not withholding any tax.
If you don't want them to withhold taxes then you should fill out the form. W-8BEN is used to declare that you are not a resident of the United States. If you don't file and they are willing to pay you, then they will likely withhold 30% as taxes (the IRS's recommended amount in this situation) even though you don't own them.

Because I am concerned by the way in which the US authorities are gathering data about individuals, worldwide. Will information about me stay purely withing the tax system ... or will it be sent elsewhere? There is no statement on the form that it will only be used for tax purposes.

I'm not a terrorist or a criminal either, and many people will say, "If you've got nothing to hide you've not nothing to worry about."

Unfortunately, as a number of innocent but unfortunate individuals will attest, this isn't always true.
There are no guarantees in this post-9/11 world that info provided to the US government won't be shared. HOWEVER, the IRS functions as a separate entity within the US government and general refuses to share information about taxpayers. I'll give you an example. Every year millions of illegal aliens file tax returns in the US in order to get a return. The IRS issues special ITIN numbers specifically for this purpose. Even though the IRS has the addresses of all these illegal aliens (and they're known to be illegal by the IRS), the IRS has refused to provide that information to the immigration and naturalization service (INS).

Honestly, you think the US government is going to track you down and take you to Cuba because you filed a tax form?

« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2008, 01:53 »
0
Quote from: yingyang0 link=topic=5332.msg57039#msg57039
Honestly, you think the US government is going to track you down and take you to Cuba because you filed a tax form?

Some of the people currently or previously incarcerated in Cuba might have a different opinion.

I am going to assume you are a US citizen. It's my opinion that Americans and Rest of the World (ROtW) have different views on US government activities.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 02:26 by kgtoh »

Microbius

« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2008, 06:11 »
0

I didn't see a problem with it, why not fill it in?


Because I am concerned by the way in which the US authorities are gathering data about individuals, worldwide. Will information about me stay purely withing the tax system ... or will it be sent elsewhere? There is no statement on the form that it will only be used for tax purposes.

I am not a US Citizen, nor have I ever been there, so I fail to see how my personal data are business of the US Government's.

I'm not a terrorist or a criminal either, and many people will say, "If you've got nothing to hide you've not nothing to worry about."

Unfortunately, as a number of innocent but unfortunate individuals will attest, this isn't always true.

 

Point taken, I assumed the forms were mainly to prevent the payer (rather than the payee) laundering/ hiding money/ defrauding the government etc. It would be very easy to claim nonexistent expenses by paying out to fictional international contributors. 
I can understand you not wanting to fill it in. I have taken the risk however, it's a personal choice.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 06:35 by Microbius »

« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2008, 12:47 »
0
Anyone know anything about this? I'm a British citizen living in Europe and have never been anywhere near the States. I don't see why they want personal details from me. What business is it of theirs?

I guess the same business of theirs that makes them ask 42+ bits of information on your entry visa.  You even have to tell the US government your credit card details.

I know of an awful lot of people that are now deciding to holiday elsewhere in the world because of the US being totally ridiculous on the amount of information it "needs" to know on people in case they are terrorists.

We've been dealing with terrorist atrocities over here since before I was born.  And we don't need those bits of info when you come here.

« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2008, 13:31 »
0
Every agency I ever dealt with that has US roots requires the W-8BEN form. You will need either a EIN (corporation) or ITIN (personal) number which you can get from the IRS. It's a pain but it allows the payment under double taxation agreements between countries which means no withholding taxes. Anyone who says you don't need it probably lives in a park or car.


« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2008, 14:41 »
0
Fortunately there are enough stock agencies with their operating offices outside the US that do not require registration with the US tax authorities. Despite all the posts that try to convince us that registration is a non-issue, it is indeed an issue for many of us, including myself.  Many agencies know this and I am sure this is the reason why many US companies has moved their operations abroad. The latest of these is SV who relocated their offices to Ireland.

I will not register with the US tax authorities. If this means I cannot join Photoshelter it is no big loss to me. At this point in time Photoshelter is still nothing more than a "wannabee".  If they (ever) manage to become I major player with a proven record of regular sales I might reconsider my position, but until such time I will stay away from them. Freedom of choice with regard to what agencies I will join and what information I am willing to hand over to who is fortunately still my democratic right.

« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2008, 21:07 »
0
Quote from: yingyang0 link=topic=5332.msg57039#msg57039
Honestly, you think the US government is going to track you down and take you to Cuba because you filed a tax form?

Some of the people currently or previously incarcerated in Cuba might have a different opinion.

I am going to assume you are a US citizen. It's my opinion that Americans and Rest of the World (ROtW) have different views on US government activities.
Yes I'm a US citizen, and I think you assume wrong. I hate the activities of the US government under the Bush administration, and I think what has been done in Cuba is morally and legally wrong. However, this is a discussion of taxes and the US government doesn't track you down for not filling in a form (especially when by not filling the form out you give free money to the IRS).

It's my opinion that the "ROtW" sometimes doesn't realize that there is a difference between the actions of former drug addict elected officials and the views of normal Americans.

« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2008, 00:50 »
0
yingyang0,
I stand corrected, and apologies if I offended you.
You're right, too often people assume all citizens of a nation support the activities of the current administration. This applies to other countries as well, I suppose.

« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2008, 14:17 »
0

Honestly, you think the US government is going to track you down and take you to Cuba because you filed a tax form?


No. I don't think that. But, as a non US citizen who does not reside in the country and has never been there, I believe that my personal information is still none of a US Government department's  business.

Have you ever read George Orwell's 1984? Okay, he got the date wrong. But a lot of other things that he foresaw are now beginning to happen.


I know of an awful lot of people that are now deciding to holiday elsewhere in the world because of the US being totally ridiculous on the amount of information it "needs" to know on people in case they are terrorists.


I'm one of those people (along with the rest of my family). I would dearly like to see the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, New York, etc. But I will not go because of the amount of personal data the US Government collects. I mean ... why do they need my fingerprints and credit card details?

I'm also going to put a hold on Photoshelter. They've accepted me, but I'm not willing to fill in the forms. Why should I? Shutterstock doesn't require them.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2008, 14:21 by Bateleur »

« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2008, 10:37 »
0
For me Photoshelter has been a complete waste of time... Until they show they can sell I'm not bothering on this issue at all.

grp_photo

« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2009, 12:41 »
0
Every agency I ever dealt with that has US roots requires the W-8BEN form. You will need either a EIN (corporation) or ITIN (personal) number which you can get from the IRS. It's a pain but it allows the payment under double taxation agreements between countries which means no withholding taxes. Anyone who says you don't need it probably lives in a park or car.


Shutterstock is an US-Agency isn't it? It haven't required a W-8BEN form from me in the last four years of submitting.

« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2009, 12:52 »
0
From Shutterstock Terms of Services:

"If you are a "Foreign Person" as said term is defined by the IRS, a signed and completed IRS form W8 must be submitted to Shutterstock in order for you to claim a reduced rate of, or exemption from, withholding as a resident of a foreign country with which the United States has an income tax treaty. You will receive an email containing instructions on how to download and submit this IRS form to us."


 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
8 Replies
3896 Views
Last post March 22, 2008, 17:11
by madelaide
3 Replies
3379 Views
Last post April 21, 2009, 16:50
by RT
57 Replies
17403 Views
Last post July 10, 2013, 11:46
by Uncle Pete
6 Replies
5641 Views
Last post April 29, 2016, 05:07
by suz7
3 Replies
2538 Views
Last post March 16, 2017, 04:16
by Dodie

Sponsors

Mega Bundle of 5,900+ Professional Lightroom Presets

Microstock Poll Results

Sponsors

3100 Posing Cards Bundle