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Author Topic: IRS Withholding Taxes for non U.S. Submitters  (Read 96786 times)

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« Reply #175 on: May 28, 2009, 17:29 »
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I think the CEO was probably up all night with this problem and flew a bit off the handle today. Such things happen (look at the tone of some posts on here or any microstock sites, are CEOs immune to emotion?).

In defense of SS, they have almost immediately provided a whole forum just to discuss and try to reconcile this problem. And some contributors have threatened and tried to carry out obnoxious protest movements, for example hijacking all the threads in all SS forums, including those which have nothing to do with this problem.

Many contributors are acting as if SS is attacking them with some selfish motive. What would SS's motive be? Obeying the IRS decree is going to cost SS money, even it contributors go along with it without further uproar.


« Reply #176 on: May 28, 2009, 17:32 »
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Maybe they earned enough money so IRS got interested and audited them?

« Reply #177 on: May 28, 2009, 18:10 »
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In defense of SS, they have almost immediately provided a whole forum just to discuss and try to reconcile this problem.

where I cannot post, since they baned me ;) And I think I was not alone because I really wasn't among the most emotional posters there. I did not even get a message telling me why exactly I'm baned. Perhaps because I posted a link to the petition there when another user asked what petition everyone was talking about.
I don't think that they should treat contributors that way. Especially when they themselves have problems keeping control of their feelings.

« Reply #178 on: May 28, 2009, 22:41 »
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For me the real issue is that as an Australian that has a treaty even if I fill in the forms another 5% of what I earn is not going to be given to me, already SS has one of the lowest payment figures and there is an issue where you may have the same image with a number of agencies the buyer will get the cheapest.

So my plan is to wait until the next payment is due then drop SS, probably most of the agencies, take up the exclusive offer with IS and just contribute to IS and Alamy.

David

« Reply #179 on: May 28, 2009, 23:09 »
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For me the real issue is that as an Australian that has a treaty even if I fill in the forms another 5% of what I earn is not going to be given to me, already SS has one of the lowest payment figures and there is an issue where you may have the same image with a number of agencies the buyer will get the cheapest.

So my plan is to wait until the next payment is due then drop SS, probably most of the agencies, take up the exclusive offer with IS and just contribute to IS and Alamy.

David

my issue is the cost and hassle of the paperwork, I'll have to get a passport etc to show them. It will take a while for the 30% to 5% difference to make up the costs involved.

you can claim the 5% against foreign income on your tax return (of course assuming you are not considered a hobby by the tax office, in which case then it is just lost, I think)

« Reply #180 on: May 29, 2009, 01:44 »
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you can claim the 5% against foreign income on your tax return (of course assuming you are not considered a hobby by the tax office, in which case then it is just lost, I think)
If you pay higher than 30% tax in your own country, I wonder if it is better to let them take 30% in the US and claim against it on your tax form?  Does anyone do this now?
« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 01:48 by sharpshot »

« Reply #181 on: May 29, 2009, 01:55 »
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If you work for a company, how would you like for it to move for a different country? Should the employees at SS be thrilled with the idea of having to move to a foreign country and turn their lives upside down so they could keep their job in a time of world crisis just to satisfy a bunch of people who don't take this activity seriously?

you forget one important thing: IT'S NOT EMPLOYEES OF SHUTTERSTOCK THAT MAKE THE CONTENT THEY'RE SELLING, IT'S THE CONTRIBUTORS, MOSTLY FROM OUT OF US. Employees are just administrators, guys with bunch of servers as someone noticed. Digital Railroad sank, Lucky Oliver sank, Photoshelter sank, Shutterstock will float as long as people making images are making it float, not guys in the board room making insulting posts to their business partners (yes, we're their business partners, vendors that is) on their forum.

if you're fishing for shrimps in the middle of Sahara, of course it makes sense to move somewhere where there are shrimps, even if it is "problem" for you.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 01:57 by Aetherial »

« Reply #182 on: May 29, 2009, 02:41 »
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Could SS (or someone) pls explain why this ITIN is required?

I did quite a bit of business via US banks (investment/ brokerage) and they all wanted a W8 form. But never was I required do get an ITIN/ W7.

From what I read so far, it is very difficult to meet the certification requirements to get the iTIN (unless you are a citizen of an English speaking country and living there - certification must be in English language I guess). I am a German Citizen (issuing authority of passport in Germany) living in Australia and the below is seems pretty much impossible to me. Any tips are welcome.

You can submit copies of original documents if you do any of the
following.

Have the copies certified by the issuing agency or official
custodian of the original record.

Have the copies notarized by a U.S. notary public legally
authorized within his or her local jurisdiction to certify that the
document is a true copy of the original. To do this, the notary must
see the valid, unaltered original document and verify that the copy
conforms to the original. Consular offices at U.S. Embassies and
Consulates overseas may not certify true copies of foreign public
documents and will refer applicants to the foreign authority that
issued the document.

Have the copies notarized by a foreign notary. However, foreign
notaries are only acceptable as outlined by the Hague Convention.
The Hague Convention provides for the simplified certification of
public (including notarized) documents to be used in countries that
have joined the Convention. A certification will be issued in the form
of an "apostille," which will be attached to the copy of the
document. If the document originates in a country that is not party to
the Convention, applicants should have the document certified by
the foreign authority that issued it.

Note. The apostille must stay attached to the copy of the document
when it is sent to the IRS.

« Reply #183 on: May 29, 2009, 03:20 »
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If you work for a company, how would you like for it to move for a different country? Should the employees at SS be thrilled with the idea of having to move to a foreign country and turn their lives upside down so they could keep their job in a time of world crisis just to satisfy a bunch of people who don't take this activity seriously?

you forget one important thing: IT'S NOT EMPLOYEES OF SHUTTERSTOCK THAT MAKE THE CONTENT THEY'RE SELLING, IT'S THE CONTRIBUTORS, MOSTLY FROM OUT OF US. Employees are just administrators, guys with bunch of servers as someone noticed. Digital Railroad sank, Lucky Oliver sank, Photoshelter sank, Shutterstock will float as long as people making images are making it float, not guys in the board room making insulting posts to their business partners (yes, we're their business partners, vendors that is) on their forum.

if you're fishing for shrimps in the middle of Sahara, of course it makes sense to move somewhere where there are shrimps, even if it is "problem" for you.


I'm sorry to say but the only insults I've read on the forums were from the photographers and not from the SS staff. A real mass hysteria. Totally unprofessional from the photographers part.

90% of those posts were simple insults from people who look at this BUSINESS as a paid hobby with no responsibilities at all. The time of paid hobbies is long gone, now you either take this seriously or you're out. And paying taxes, like it or not is part of a serious business.

I also think this could, and still can, be better handled by SS and I'm not happy paying taxes, but once again we're talking about the law of a sovereign country.

We may not like the decisions taken by the SS administration but the agency is THEIR business and they are entitled to do whatever they want with it. Even sunk it! We have the right to make proposals and try to bend things in our interest but the agency is their business. And they even gave us room to express our opinions! In my former company that didn't happen at all and we all knew physically and contacted daily! So I think SS did an acceptable job here.

And Photography is OUR business, and we're also entitled to do whatever we want, namely, stop submitting to SS and go elsewhere. It's not like there's a shortage of micros out there.

Time will tell about SS decisions. At the end they have the right to run THEIR business (agency), as much as we have the right run OUR business (photography) in the way we want.

e=mc2

alias

« Reply #184 on: May 29, 2009, 03:36 »
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you can claim the 5% against foreign income on your tax return (of course assuming you are not considered a hobby by the tax office, in which case then it is just lost, I think)
If you pay higher than 30% tax in your own country, I wonder if it is better to let them take 30% in the US and claim against it on your tax form?  Does anyone do this now?

Problem with this business of offsetting against tax deducted abroad is that it may not be applicable in many countries. Say if a person is bringing in less than the amount which is liable for tax. Or, if a person or a company is tax exempt. Then there is nothing to be offset.

I'm not criticizing SS over this because I doubt they have any choice. If they stay in the US. But what this does seem to demonstrate is that the US is not a good place from which to operate a stock photo business.

« Reply #185 on: May 29, 2009, 03:36 »
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I pay taxes in my country and as far I know the stock sites in my country don't withhold 30% tax and make people from selected countries fill out forms to get it back while keeping it from others.

I don't see why SS are doing this when other companies aren't.  Some of them obviously think this is just red tape that can be ignored and others have set up their finances outside the US while keeping their employees in the US.  Snap village were based in Ireland but they are owned by a US company, it can't be that difficult to set up.  It is obvious to me that SS need to look at this again.

What other companies aren't doing this? The "other" companies are in Canada, France, Romania, etc.!

From the Big six only SS, 123rf and BS are in the US. And how do you know that BS and 123rf are not breaking the law by not collecting the taxes? So, who's wrong here? SS or BS and 123rf?

Getty (and thats' GETTY!) and the defunct Photoshelter also withhold the 30% for taxes and they were from USA. Again, who's wrong here? Do you think that a company the size of Getty could get away with a illegality of this size? They would be stealing 30% of hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Do you think that their photographers, many of which earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per year would allow to be "robbed" in 30% of their income? They all would be in another stock agency by now and Getty would be gone!

I don't know about the laws in your country, but that is YOUR country. YOUR country makes the laws the way they want. USA makes the laws the way THEY want. If you don't like it no one is forcing you to accept them. Just leave and submit to the other agencies.

I also don't like to have to pay 10%, but I'm a professional and I must comply with my obligations. The time for happy snappers is gone. Microstock is maturing into a real business and people either step up the game or leave.

If the SS doesn't want to change their accounting to other countries it's their right. They'll suffer the consequences in the end.

e=mc2

RT


« Reply #186 on: May 29, 2009, 03:50 »
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The way I've always understood this US tax thing is that they are required to withhold the 30% ONLY from sales originating in the US, i.e. if a European buyer buys an image from me on Getty the tax isn't withheld but if the buyer is from the US it is. Without reading through the hundreds of pages on the SS forum does anybody know if this has been addressed or whether the US tax law has changed?



« Reply #187 on: May 29, 2009, 04:26 »
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The way I've always understood this US tax thing is that they are required to withhold the 30% ONLY from sales originating in the US, i.e. if a European buyer buys an image from me on Getty the tax isn't withheld but if the buyer is from the US it is. Without reading through the hundreds of pages on the SS forum does anybody know if this has been addressed or whether the US tax law has changed?




Hi,

I've read every page of the threads on the topic.  SS are now investigating this matter further, and have promised to get back to everyone on this.

Keep monitoring the thread because hopefully there will be an update soon.

Unfortunately, i have also been banned from their forum.

lucy x

« Reply #188 on: May 29, 2009, 04:41 »
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Every time I look at that thread, some Johnny Nash lyrics enter my head:-

"There are more questions than answers
Pictures in my mind that will not show
There are more questions than answers
And the more I find out the less I know
Yeah, the more I find out the less I know"

« Reply #189 on: May 29, 2009, 04:49 »
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The way I've always understood this US tax thing is that they are required to withhold the 30% ONLY from sales originating in the US, i.e. if a European buyer buys an image from me on Getty the tax isn't withheld but if the buyer is from the US it is. Without reading through the hundreds of pages on the SS forum does anybody know if this has been addressed or whether the US tax law has changed?




Yes, that's what Getty does, if I'm not mistaken. Just taxing sales in the U.S. That's important because being sales in US about 50% in volume, 30% goes down to 15%.

« Reply #190 on: May 29, 2009, 05:13 »
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Lucy, are you banned only from their forum, or your account is totally canceled?

« Reply #191 on: May 29, 2009, 05:14 »
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loop, are you sure only 50% of sales are US sales? I thought it's much more....about 80%


« Reply #192 on: May 29, 2009, 05:57 »
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Not sure completely, but I remember having seen this figure somewhere regarding istockphoto sales. And seeing sales distribution through the day timetable, and sales in just US holiday days (as coming 4th of July) I would say it could be accurate.

« Reply #193 on: May 29, 2009, 06:15 »
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Sad to hear so many get banned over this...
And the fun part is they didn't get insulted or use the f.... words, they only want some clarification. 
Strange policy these days....makes you wonder...
Souns like my old (American)company I worked for...If you don't like it there is the door...And for you 10 others...
Very frustrating...

« Reply #194 on: May 29, 2009, 06:29 »
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I know its not SS fault or any other US based Stock Site that the Tax has imposed ... it will only make Non US Based Sites Stronger ... Its a real loss for SS ... with Declining Sales .. the Lowest Royalty Payment Percentage Site on the internet .... just got Lower ... I'm not going to Scream & Cry ... but being one of the Non-Country Treaty Submitters ... 30% Tax even if I jump through the hoops required is just not worth continuing to upload to ....  I wish SS good Luck ... and hope it can make a comeback .. but will lose a huge amount of submitters who are also buyers .. in an already dodgy World Financial climate its not whats needed


« Reply #195 on: May 29, 2009, 07:39 »
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Business will comply to continue operations or go out of business. This applies to agencies and contributors alike. Professionals will simply fill out the forms and attach their certified copy, because it is their livehood. The amateurs and snap shooters will move on or move out.
I doubt it will greatly effect SS business model. I bet you will not see SS image base sudden drop from 7 million to 6 millions images!

« Reply #196 on: May 29, 2009, 07:52 »
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Business will comply to continue operations or go out of business. This applies to agencies and contributors alike. Professionals will simply fill out the forms and attach their certified copy, because it is their livehood. The amateurs and snap shooters will move on or move out.
I doubt it will greatly effect SS business model. I bet you will not see SS image base sudden drop from 7 million to 6 millions images!

You don't get it! even after filling and filing the required documents contributors OS will have to pay withholding tax, that is less return on investment from an agency who already pays the less commissions - as a business model this for me means no longer placing my images with this agency, that is not a dummy spit, just a practical business decision on my part, I don't care if SS loose images or not BUT I do think they will loose many OS submitters because of this and not gain to much new blood from OS

David

« Reply #197 on: May 29, 2009, 08:53 »
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The CEO rant post has been removed.

Thats hilarious :)

Did anyone manage to get a copy of it before it was taken down?

« Reply #198 on: May 29, 2009, 08:57 »
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you can claim the 5% against foreign income on your tax return (of course assuming you are not considered a hobby by the tax office, in which case then it is just lost, I think)
If you pay higher than 30% tax in your own country, I wonder if it is better to let them take 30% in the US and claim against it on your tax form?  Does anyone do this now?

I would also like to know this.  I guess each one of us need to call our local IRS and ask.    I have another business so I dont care if I get 30% of micro at the end of the year.

« Reply #199 on: May 29, 2009, 08:59 »
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The CEO rant post has been removed.

Thats hilarious :)

Did anyone manage to get a copy of it before it was taken down?

Sorry, just caught up with the thread and see that you've got the original rant already recorded.  Good work!


 

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