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DPChallenge Forums >> Stock Photography >> Withholding taxes-non US Submitters
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05/28/2009 09:56:05 AM · #1
I got this from a stock agency I submit to. Has any other agency sent out letters like this?
And if I even choose to comply, should I get some kind of certificate to show i paid the taxes?

Also! what other large MS agencies are not in the U.S.?

To All non-US Submitters:

Letters are being emailed to all non US submitters individually today, advising of possible changes in the amount of tax that will be withheld from your earnings.

If you are a citizen or resident of the United States living abroad, please provide us with a signed, completed U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification.

If you are a resident of a jurisdiction which has an income tax treaty with the United States that provides for a reduced rate of withholding tax on royalties, you will need to complete U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding. We are in the process of installing an online version of Form W-8BEN, and we will notify you when the online form is available. However, in order to complete the form you must have a U.S. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If you do not currently have an ITIN, you can obtain one by filing a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, with the IRS. This process takes only 4-6 weeks and could reduce your withholding taxes significantly.
05/28/2009 01:53:30 PM · #2
bump
05/28/2009 02:00:41 PM · #3
I got a similar request from Shutterstock, but I'm in the US so I was just able to file the one form. I'm pretty sure it's a big pain for them -- even more than for you -- so they are almost certainly being required to do this by the IRS.
05/28/2009 10:46:55 PM · #4
If I get some kind of certificate to show taxes paid, maybe I'll consider it. But I'm beginning to think it's not worth the effort anymore. I've learned from microstock's sometimes unrealistic but all in all high standards. So now I've started to put it to use by shooting on demand commercially, still stock type stuff. And I just put all that effort wasted keywording stuff into direct sales.

I won't close my account, but I'm begining to lose interest in submitting consistently fast. I know it's poor economic times but downloads have almost grinded to a halt. And almost overnight, there's this mass of contributors. It's been fun challenging and rewarding. And I think this is a clear sign to move on.
05/28/2009 10:57:27 PM · #5
I assumed they already had to do that.... If not then you got a free ride for a while....
05/29/2009 09:09:42 AM · #6
Originally posted by robs:

I assumed they already had to do that.... If not then you got a free ride for a while....


Free ride? I'm not american, so how can I be required to pay taxes on earnings and I can t file a tax return? I cant file a tax return in a country I dont live in. Is the I.R.S. going to guesstimate my expenses and automatically deduct them?

05/29/2009 10:03:08 AM · #7
Not sure how it works internationally but it's common to live in one community and work in another. Where you work collects the tax, but you owe it where you live.
One of two things occur at the end of the year.
You will get a recipt (1099-misc perhaps in your case) that shows your earnings and what they withheld. You then file your tax return with your local gov't and include a copy of the receipt. They deal with getting the money (the company that withheld the money actually pays it to the taxing body where's it's due).

In come cases the local law says they collect a tax on everyone. We have an EMS tax here of $58. If you work in more than you municipality each will collect it, but you only owe it once. Take both receipts to one of them and they'll refund your money.
05/29/2009 10:53:32 AM · #8
Originally posted by dmadden:

Free ride? I'm not american, so how can I be required to pay taxes on earnings and I can t file a tax return? I cant file a tax return in a country I dont live in. Is the I.R.S. going to guesstimate my expenses and automatically deduct them?


It's common for countries to have withholding for non residents on certain types of interest & income... Some are covered by tax treaties for a reduced rate and others not. I pay Australian withholding on some stuff even though I live in the US now. It's been too long but I think I also paid withholding from my UK accounts as well (could be wrong on that as memory is getting old)....

Sorry - I didn't men free ride in the sense you took it.... I mean a US based business paying out $ should have always been doing the W9/Withholding and I am not sure why it's just all of a sudden come up - it's not a new requirement. Most countries have a credit od claim back on local taxes... some do not an it's just an extra cost.

Edit: Cause I don't do sprelling apparently :-/

Message edited by author 2009-05-29 10:55:28.
05/29/2009 11:50:40 AM · #9
I guess it is what it is. I see that my country has a treaty that would let me pay 10%. Based on my expenses, I could recover that 10% by filing a tax return in my country. This arrangement does not allow me to recover anything. So should I pay 10% on earnings to a country that does not represent me and on top of that I'm not even making a profit? It's cleary a hold down and take away policy designed to do just that. Having said that, I reserve the right to just walk away and walk away I shall.

I'll just have to ensure I dont sell to U.S. companies.
05/29/2009 12:01:11 PM · #10
Sure a non-us-res (edit: non us citizen - forget about the world wide income thing for us citz) not dealing with a US company would be set... although the list of countries that have withholding is pretty long, so your limiting you sales to some extent :-/ Better to factor in the cost of the paperwork & withholding just as you would any other cost.

Message edited by author 2009-05-29 12:02:01.
05/29/2009 12:49:16 PM · #11
Thats the thing Rob, it's really the worth Vs. the effort. Diminishing sales, effort and time to upload and keyword, rejection re-upload and now this. The other sites suffered because I concentrated on SS, the transfer of effort should equate to transfer of lost earnings from SS.
Fact is with the little I make, I'm not prepared to eat a 10% loss and my country wont even see a penny of it. Not while I have options.
05/29/2009 01:03:38 PM · #12
Originally posted by dmadden:

I'm not even making a profit?


If you can't pay your taxes and make a profit then you need to re-evaluate the viability of your business. Taxes are due whether you make a profit or not and need to be taken into consideration.

I've just signed an advertising contract and the company requires more insurance than I carry now, for liability reasons. Should I tell them I can't make a profit if they make me carry more insurance? I'm about to hire an employee and in addition to their salary I have to have workers comp insurance in case they get hurt, pay unemployement compensation insurance in case I fire them and pay a part of their salary to the government for their eventual retirement. It's expensive, but every business does it. If I can't pay this stuff and make a profit I don't have a successful business.

All these costs are what goes on behind the scenes that make photographs 'so expensive' and why stock shooters for years said microstock was gonna kill the industry. Wendy Weekender thinks it's cool to make $100 a year for a few pics that sell, but if you have to actually make a living or intend to turn a profit then it's a whole different ballgame.
05/29/2009 09:17:54 PM · #13
Your tax structure is different. I write up a form and show my income and expenses for the year, if there's a loss there's nothing to pay. We don't pay up front and wait to get re-embursed. Besides! microstock is just to offset some expenses of my photography hobby.
And I dont know who Wendy weekender is, but David weekender thinks the whining stockshooter needs to stop feeling sorry for him/herself and deal with it :)
05/29/2009 09:44:47 PM · #14
Originally posted by dmadden:

Your tax structure is different. I write up a form and show my income and expenses for the year, if there's a loss there's nothing to pay. We don't pay up front and wait to get re-embursed. Besides! microstock is just to offset some expenses of my photography hobby.
And I dont know who Wendy weekender is, but David weekender thinks the whining stockshooter needs to stop feeling sorry for him/herself and deal with it :)


I think we should change it to sally weekender
05/30/2009 08:47:57 AM · #15
I am not sure if people have seen that SS has issued an update that the tax withholding will now only take place on those images that are purchased from a US buyer, which should ease the pain a little.

Message edited by author 2009-05-30 08:48:13.
05/30/2009 12:14:19 PM · #16
Yes It does ease the pain somewhat. But I'll wait till everything settles, then decide if I'll continue to submit to U.S. based stock agencies.
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