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
ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED:
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).
WHAT YOU NEED TO APPLY:
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.)
WHERE TO APPLY:
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
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342
Private delivery services:
Internal Revenue Service
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,firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanks and I’ll post another guide when I get my ITIN on how to fill out a W-ben.
Angela S. Stone