PDA

View Full Version : Germans: How to get U.S. ITIN (Form W-7) for tax-exempt royalty payments?



Moonbase
01-17-2011, 06:54 AM
As I’m a »non-resident alien«, U.S. publishers will have to withhold 30% off my royalties and pay them to the IRS instead. Now fortunately Germany has a tax treaty with the U.S., so I could in theory get tax exemption on my U.S.-generated royalties and pay German income tax instead. Saves a lot of money, not getting double-taxed.

For that to work, I need to apply for a U.S. ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number), using IRS Form W-7, and later send my publisher a filled-out W-8BEN form. No problem so far, but …

What would be considered sufficient »substantiation« of my name and place of residence?

The IRS instructions for Form W-7 (http://www.irs.gov/instructions/iw7/ch01.html#d0e200) state

Your application must include […] The original documents, or certified or notarized copies of documents, that substantiate the information provided on the Form W-7.
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.To save the cost of a notary (and a certified English translation), I think about sending in a copy of my German ID Card (Personalausweis), certified by the issuing authority (Einwohnermeldeamt).

Has any German author here already gone through the procedure?
And can you tell me if this would be considered sufficient by the IRS?

Thanks for any feedback!

SaraP
01-17-2011, 07:36 AM
Take a look at this thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=194850). Might have some useful info. :)

Moonbase
01-17-2011, 03:45 PM
Thanks for pointing me at the other thread, SaraP.

Unfortunately, it has no information about the specific question »Will they accept a certified copy of my German ID Card?«

JustLooking
01-18-2011, 02:29 AM
It doesn't really answer your question but I've needed proof of address for various financial-type officials in the UK on occasion and they have always been satisfied with a copy of my Meldebestätigung from the town hall and a utility bill. I haven't ever needed to provide a translation.

Don't know how useful that is: just thought I'd throw it out there :).

Nickie
01-19-2011, 07:44 PM
Hi there! I'm not German, but Belgian, and I also need to file a W-7 form. From what I can see and read I think it's enough proof of identity if you just include a copy of your identity card. There is a number and a seal on it, so I think it doesn't need certifying.


Nickie

Moonbase
01-20-2011, 07:31 AM
Thanks for your responses so far! The W-7 is in the mail now and I’ll keep you updated on the progress.

I actually sent it to the IRS’ Frankfurt office and included a certified copy of my ID card. The Einwohnermeldeamt here was quite helpful—they made a stamped and signed copy stating it was for presentation to the IRS (»Nur zur Vorlage bei der amerikanischen Steuerbehörde (IRS)«). Cost me 5 Euros. Let’s see how far I get. At least it’s from »the issuing agency«, so they shouldn’t complain. Hopefully.

JustLooking: Hey, nice to read someone from home (U.K.). My girlfriend also lives in Baden-Württemberg and tends to use nicknames like »JustMe«, »JustLooking« or the like … I could have mixed you up! Hee, hee.

Nickie: Did you already get an answer on yours? I hear they respond faster if something is missing or wrong …

Scriptissima
01-20-2011, 08:54 AM
Thanks for your responses so far! The W-7 is in the mail now and I’ll keep you updated on the progress.

I actually sent it to the IRS’ Frankfurt office and included a certified copy of my ID card. The Einwohnermeldeamt here was quite helpful—they made a stamped and signed copy stating it was for presentation to the IRS (»Nur zur Vorlage bei der amerikanischen Steuerbehörde (IRS)«). Cost me 5 Euros. Let’s see how far I get. At least it’s from »the issuing agency«, so they shouldn’t complain. Hopefully.

JustLooking: Hey, nice to read someone from home (U.K.). My girlfriend also lives in Baden-Württemberg and tends to use nicknames like »JustMe«, »JustLooking« or the like … I could have mixed you up! Hee, hee.

Nickie: Did you already get an answer on yours? I hear they respond faster if something is missing or wrong …
Guess I am a tad late. :)
Back in the day I sent an original "Meldebestätigung" to the IRS office in Frankfurt, and it got accepted. I don't see why you shouldn't be equally successful with the certified copy of your "Personalausweis". Those folks in Frankfurt are familiar with German documents, and I have no doubt that they will accept your proof of residence.

Oh, and congratulations on your contract with a U.S. publisher! :)

JustLooking
01-21-2011, 03:26 PM
... JustLooking: Hey, nice to read someone from home (U.K.). My girlfriend also lives in Baden-Württemberg and tends to use nicknames like »JustMe«, »JustLooking« or the like … I could have mixed you up! Hee, hee...



How funny! I can imagine that made you do a double-take.

And yes, I've always found the Einwohnemeldeamt very helpful. Hope their copy does the trick for you.

aruna
03-02-2012, 12:08 AM
Has any German author here already gone through the procedure?
And can you tell me if this would be considered sufficient by the IRS?

Thanks for any feedback!

This is far too late but thought I'd answer for posterity: the answer is NO. They do not accept a German ID card, not even in original.

They do accept a notarised copy of your passport but it has to have the apostille. I got my Apostille from the Landgericht and it cost EUR 15. You basically have to get it notarised, and then go to the Landgericht.

Alternatively you can send a driver's licence AND an ID card. Two proofs of ID. So they say, but I haven't tried this out. Would be the cheapest way.



JustLooking: Hey, nice to read someone from home (U.K.). My girlfriend also lives in Baden-Württemberg …

I live there too!

C.M. Hart
08-20-2014, 10:25 AM
This thread is pretty old already, but I thought I'd update it.
I filled out my form for the ITIN, but I don't have my number yet, so I'm not sure if this works.
Anyways, the IRS DOES NOT accept an Apostille or a notarized copy of your documents. You have to get a certified copy directly from the issuing agency. I went to the Stadtverwaltung/Landratsamt, who kindly copied and certified my State I.D. and driver's licence. I don't have a passport right now, so I couldn't get a copy of that one.
You need two different I.D.s, if you don't send in your passport.
I hope mine are okay.

The webpage of the IRS has a lot of info, as do the threads here.

I will tell you how it worked out. Please hope with me :)

aruna
08-20-2014, 10:37 AM
This thread is pretty old already, but I thought I'd update it.
I filled out my form for the ITIN, but I don't have my number yet, so I'm not sure if this works.
Anyways, the IRS DOES NOT accept an Apostille or a notarized copy of your documents. You have to get a certified copy directly from the issuing agency. I went to the Stadtverwaltung/Landratsamt, who kindly copied and certified my State I.D. and driver's licence. I don't have a passport right now, so I couldn't get a copy of that one.
You need two different I.D.s, if you don't send in your passport.
I hope mine are okay.

The webpage of the IRS has a lot of info, as do the threads here.

I will tell you how it worked out. Please hope with me :)


Hmmm. They certainly accepted my notarised and apostilled document!
Maybe because it was a German passport, and not an American ID etc. Is yours American or German?
I have the proof that they accepted it: got my ITIN number (after a few false starts).
I would never send in my passport. I am not crazy!

Kate B.
08-20-2014, 08:24 PM
No, it's true that they don't accept notorized copies of foreign ID, but you don't need to send in the actual passport. As CM Hart said, the IRS require a certified copy-- so in my case I had my passport certified by Passports Canada.

So yes, I'm Canadian, but I'm chiming in here b.c acquiring a ITIN was a 13 month debacle for me, and I've been meaning to come and share my experience for some time.

I'll spare you the sordid details of the phone calls and conflicting letters from the IRS, but my application was rejected several times because I didn't have specific wording on my supporting documents. Unfortunately, they don't tell you that, they only reject your application with a "you have provided insufficient documentation" notice. And then you chase your tail trying to figure out what you're missing (well, I did, anyway)/

So here is what ended up working for me:

-a certified copy of my passport
-a W-7 form filled out with boxes a) and h) selected
in h) add "1D Royalty Income"
and directly under in additional info add the country, and the Treaty number (in my case: 12)
- a signed letter from my literary agency with this exact wording:
"<my name> requires an ITIN so that <my lit agency> may make distributions to her during the current tax year that are subject to IRS information reporting."

That last bit was the sticking point. The head-banging, eye-gouging, hair-pulling sticking point. (I'll cross post to the ITIN thread)

Best of luck, CM Hart!

aruna
08-20-2014, 08:49 PM
What's the difference between certified and notarised?
I had my passport copied and the copy notarised, ie "certified a genuine copy" by a public notary here in Germany. Then I had to get the apostille, issued be the court. After that I sent it to the IRS with the other documents, and it was accepted; I got my ITIN.

SaraP
08-21-2014, 12:02 AM
(Just popping in to thank you all for the information you're posting here - I'm sure it will be of great help to others out there. You guys rock. :) )

Kate B.
08-21-2014, 12:16 AM
What's the difference between certified and notarised?
Notarized means validated by a notary public, certified is validated by the issuing body. So in my case, I had to take my passport to Passports Canada and they produced three copies of it, with embossed certification (the good news: the 1st 3 certified copies were free).

Also, IRS regulations for ITINs changed in 2012. I'm not sure when you got your ITIN, Aruna, but perhaps this might account for it?

When I looked into it a year ago, there was info on the net about getting an "acceptance agent" to handle your application. This cost hundreds and as far as I could tell, by 2012 it was no longer an option (b.c of the notorized VS certified issue).

aruna
08-21-2014, 10:08 AM
Thanks, Kate, yes, that seems to account for it. I got mine in 2011.Also, I later found out that you can get your ITIN as a furriner if you have a US Social Security number -- and in fact I do have such a thing, strangely enough! From when I spent 6 months for a "Praktikum" in Boston.