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Quick Guide to the W-7 US Tax form

Posted on 2010.12.08 at 21:47

Hi Everyone.

I just spent an hour on the phone with a very nice IRS agent/tax lawyer Who was very helpful in helping me get the forms completed.

They offer phone help for these forms to anyone who needs it, the information is found on this page:


If you talk to someone on the phone they always give you their name AND their ID# WRITE THIS NUMBER DOWN! Do no be afraid of asking them to repeat this. Keep the number because if they tell you do so something and you do and you get in trouble knowing this number so the IRS can pull the call will save your butt in the long run!

This started as a quick note but it turned into a guide to the W-7 form! So I hope it’s helpful!

—Non-US Citizens, those who do not file a US Tax Return—

Here are a few tips/Hints that he pointed out to me while filling out this form : http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw7.pdf

Instructions for the form are here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/iw7.pdf

This is for us authors who are royalty based only FYI, if you make a salary from the company then the process maybe slightly different!

"Reason you are submitting Form W-7"

Select "A" AND!! "H"

Under H "Other (see instructions)" Write "Exception 1(d)"

Exception 1(d): 1(d) Individuals who are receiving distributions during the current tax year of income such as pensions, annuities, royalties, dividends, etc. and are required to provide an ITIN to the withholding agent (for example, an investment company, insurance company, or financial institution, etc.) for the purposes of tax withholding and reporting requirements.

Translation: If you're being paid royalties you fall into this category.

Also Under H, "Additional information for a and f" You must fill out the country you live in/file taxes in. (For me I live in Canada, There for I fill in Canada under "Enter treaty country")

Now for "and treaty article number" you must fill in the article number for your specific country. For Canada it's Article XII (Royalties). While for the UK it's Article 12. I encourage you to go here: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/international/article/0,,id=96739,00.html and look up your country. Ensure you read the first treaty AND the amendments to make sure they haven't changed any.

ALSO: if you call and speak with an IRS Agent/Tax Lawyer. They are not allowed to tell you which article you fall under (*rolls eyes*) but they will confirm that you have the correct one if you already know the article number.

Section 1a & 1b: is your name. Put your current legal name in 1a, then your name at birth (IE maiden name) in 1b. If your current legal name is the same as your name at birth, Put "N/A" in ALL BOXES (the IRS loves to reject forms if they don't have N/A's in the right place).

Section 2: is your address. If you have a PO box it MUST be listed in your LEGAL name. It cannot be listed under your pen name OR a company.  Otherwise Enter your address as usual.

Section 3: Is your address again! If you have a PO box enter in your physical address (IE: 1234 Highway 1) It says "if different than above" but as we are all applying outside of the US the agent I spoke with said put the address down again on both lines. As if you are applying for a "Tax Treaty Benefit" then your country MUST! be in section 3. Just put your address again to save a returned tax form!

Section 4. Date of birth, Country of birth, Where it says "City and state or province (optional)" if you know it, Put it down, will save possible paper work later on. If you don't know put "unknown". Try and avoid using N/A here.

Section 5: Male or Female. (Side note, if you're transgender it's the sex listed on your record of birth).

Section 6a: Your country of Citizenship. Enter ALL that apply.

Section 6b: This is your number used by your country to track things like Taxes. In Canada it's your Social Insurance Number, if you have one you're required to provide it.

Section 6c: If you have a US Visa enter the information in, if not use "N/A"

Section 6d: What type of Identification document(s) are you submitting? You must submit two pieces of ID, One for Foreign status and one for Identity. OR! A Passport. (for a full list see the instructions on page two here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/iw7.pdf  )

You can submit the original document HOWEVER, they HIGHLY suggest you submit certified copies. This process can take as long as 10 weeks!! You don't want to be without your documents for that long! 

Also the IRS is VERY picky as to who can make a certified copy. They will NOT accept a copy notarized by a Canadian Notary Public for example.

The following from the main page ( http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/international/article/0,,id=96690,00.html) states who they will accept copies from:

"The IRS will accept copies of original documents, if the copies have been properly certified or notarized by:


1-the government agency (foreign or domestic) which issued the documents,

2-employees of the U.S. State Department located in U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, or

3-a U.S. notary public who is allowed under U.S. state law to notarize foreign documents. "

As I live in Ottawa the fastest thing for me to do is to go to the US embassies and have them make a copy. You will have to inquire at your local embassies to see how they make copies if you are not able to present yourself in person.

I would HIGHLY suggest that you get AT LEAST two copies of your documents certified or notarized as if your application is lost/rejected you'll have to pay to have them done again!

Section 6e: If you have had  a U.S. temporary taxpayer identification number (TIN) or employer identification number (EIN) Select Yes and enter the numbers in Section 6f. If you select No/Don't Know SKIP!!! Section 6f (DO NOT ENTER IN N/A here!!)

Section 6f: See above

Section 6g: This section only applies if you are going to university OR!! If you are temporarily in the United States for business purposes. Put "N/A" here unless you are living in the US and working for Mundane Press.

Next is the signature. Sign, Date and put your phone number as you would dial from the US. So From Canada I would put (1-123-456-7890) where from the UK you would use (011-44-11-22-3456). So 011-country code-area code-phone number.

Right. Now they do have people who can help you fill this out and get all the correct paper work in. You can find them here: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96304,00.html. They usually charge a fee to do this paper work, but it does save time and hassel. It's really up to you to use them or not. If you choose not to the ONLY FEE! required is the one to have your documents notarized!

Also if you live in China, the UK, Germany or France the embassies in Beijing, Frankfurt, London, or Paris can help you process these forms Contact info for them is located here: http://www.irs.gov/localcontacts/article/0,,id=101292,00.html 


As we are applying under Exception 1(d). We are required to submit:

1(d) A signed letter or document from the withholding agent on official letterhead, showing your name and evidencing that an ITIN is required to make distributions to you during the current tax year that are subject to IRS information reporting or federal tax withholding.

Translation: We require a recent Book contract OR!! A letter from Mundane Press detailing this. (Would Skyla mind advising us on how to go about obtaining this letter if needed, thanks).


1. Your completed Form W-7.

2. A copy of a contract or a Letter from Mundane Press

3. The original documents, or certified or notarized copies of Supporting Documentation of foreign status and Identity. (AKA Passport or other.)


There are several options to apply. Since I live very close to the US border I’ll be applying in person, however here are all the options listed:


Internal Revenue Service

ITIN Operation

P.O. Box 149342

Austin, TX 78714-9342

Private delivery services:

Internal Revenue Service

ITIN Operation

Mail Stop 6090-AUSC

3651 S. Interregional, Hwy 35

Austin, TX 78741-0000


You can apply for an ITIN by bringing your completed forms and documentation to any IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in the United States or IRS office abroad.

*** Ensure any mail you send is sent Registered Mail/Registered Letter so you can confirm it arrives***

I think that’s everything. Sorry if I stated the obvious, or repeated myself.  I hope this gives everyone a good guide as to how to fill out these forms. I’ll be posting this to my blog (http://angelasstone.livejournal.com) and I’ll make a link on the side bar labelled “US Tax Forms” for a quick reference guide that will get updated more often than this one!

If you see any mistake that I’ve made please let me know ASAP so I can correct it. (off list is fine,contact.angelastone@gmail.com)

Thanks and I’ll post another guide when I get my ITIN on how to fill out a W-ben.

Angela S. Stone


~ Cat Kane ~
catkane at 2010-12-09 04:30 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you *so* much for this -- this process has been driving me mad for months. It's fantastic to see it spelled out so clearly. I don't have the option of visiting the US Embassy, and I'm not paying an Acceptance Agent when they require me to do all the hard work (filling the form, obtaining notarized copies) myself, so I'm attempting it all myself by post.

It sounds as though they're really nitpicky about the form being filled out correctly (all those N/A's in the right place... *headdesk*), so I have one quick question on that score if you don't mind?

They set out the space for phone numbers as (___) _______ so my question is which part of the full code (I'm in the UK, so it'd be the 011-44-11-22-3456 style number), goes in the (__) space and which part goes in the second section? Or would the whole thing go in the non-parentheses box?

That sounds like such a silly question, but I have a feeling they look for the smallest reason to reject applications!

Thank you *so* much once again!
Angela S. Stone
angelasstone at 2010-12-09 04:39 (UTC) (Link)
If you're in the UK you can still Call the London Embassy (http://www.irs.gov/localcontacts/article/0,,id=101292,00.html info on how to contact them there) they should be able to provide some help over the phone!!

The (__) section is for when you're following the (123) 456-7890 way of writing a phone # (as is standard in the US & Canada) Techinally the country code (44 For the UK) would go in the (__) section.

I'm not an expert(not by a long shot) but I would (hand write) the full number in the space provided as clearly and nearly as possible. That way there is no question as to the correct phone number and way to contact you.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes!!

(Anonymous) at 2011-01-13 08:48 (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Thank you so much! My form was rejected and sent back to me. I can only get recorded messages on the UK Embassy phone line and was COMPLETELY baffled as to why I had ticked the wrong 'Reason' box.
drudhani at 2011-01-16 14:31 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for this- it saved me going insane trying to work out what to put (I'm not too good with official forms!). I got here via the Phaze authors on yahoo (I write as Julia Davies) and had to drop by and say thanks. I sent the paperwork off a few days ago so fingers crossed now to see if I've got everything right.

I hope it's okay- just tell me if it isn't and I'll remove it- but I referenced this post on my lj (since I was having a complain about these forms and this was super helpful).
Angela S. Stone
angelasstone at 2011-01-16 18:51 (UTC) (Link)
Hi! It was no problem!! I hope it helped! Thanks for the mention on your Lj! It's no problem at all I hope it helps other authors find it! I'll be posting a guide to the W-ben when I get my ITIN!

kmfrontain at 2012-12-04 20:50 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much for this guide. It's so easy to miss the 1H box. Other guides don't include this. I've spoken to someone who had their form sent back for not having it done. If I hadn't found your guide, I wouldn't have had it done either. Thanks again.
Angela S. Stone
angelasstone at 2012-12-05 13:37 (UTC) (Link)
Most people miss the "1H" box. I would have missed it too if I wasn't on the phone with a agent as I filled the whole bloody form out!
(Anonymous) at 2013-06-17 18:02 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much, Angela! I'm not sure if this thread is still open, but I have a question that is probably silly, but I don't want to get it wrong!
If I am sending a certified copy of my passport (Canadian), do I check the passport box in 6c? Or do I check the other box and fill in "Passport Certified Copy"?
Angela S. Stone
angelasstone at 2013-06-17 18:11 (UTC) (Link)
When I did it, I selected Passport and it worked just fine. :)!
(Anonymous) at 2013-06-17 18:03 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much, Angela! I'm not sure if this thread is still open, but I have a question that is probably silly, but I don't want to get it wrong!
If I am sending a certified copy of my passport (Canadian), do I check the passport box in 6d? Or do I check the other box and fill in "Passport Certified Copy"?
(Anonymous) at 2013-06-17 19:17 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I'll do that :)
(Anonymous) at 2013-09-16 15:17 (UTC) (Link)
A thousand thank yous! Having heard the IRS are looking for reasons to turns an application down,I've been going up the walls trying to find out what phone number to put. You're is the first blog I've come across that laid everything out clearly.
(Anonymous) at 2014-08-04 22:12 (UTC) (Link)

Absolutely Perfect

I can't thank you enough for the information in the article - I was literally swearing while trying to read through the "help" documents! You saved the day. Many thanks.

Lee-Anne Stack
(Anonymous) at 2014-08-14 15:55 (UTC) (Link)


Thank you sooooo much for this article!!
I've applied for this stupid ITIN number 3 times and been rejected all times but when i call they can not tell me why or what i need to fix..

With this document I've noticed some things I put on the W7 form was wrong so THANK YOU!!

Fingers Crossed it all works now putting in the mailbox as we speak!

Angela S. Stone
angelasstone at 2014-08-14 17:48 (UTC) (Link)


You're welcome! Good luck!! It's so silly how the tiniest thing will throw you off I wrote this years ago and it's still helpful :)!
(Anonymous) at 2014-10-27 21:34 (UTC) (Link)


I don't know if you are even still checking this, but thank you a million times for this. My publisher just sent me these forms and I had no idea what to do. This really helped. I have a quick question though. In 6d where it asks you what documents you are submitting I chose passport. But then it asks for the date you entered the US. I have never entered the US for any author related purpose but I have entered twice this year for pleasure. So what entry date do I put here?
Angela S. Stone
angelasstone at 2014-10-27 21:54 (UTC) (Link)


I do believe that's only for if you're living in the USA and applying for an ITIN #, If you're outside the counrty then you can just leave it blank!
(Anonymous) at 2014-11-21 14:50 (UTC) (Link)

filling out the 'h' section

Did my message get through to you, Angela inquiring about the 'h' box and Article XX (royalties)?

Angela S. Stone
angelasstone at 2014-11-21 14:57 (UTC) (Link)

Re: filling out the 'h' section

Sorry I didn't see any message about this!

of you need a direct answer please email me angela@angelastone.ca!
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