Quote Originally Posted by JE9Lizle View Post
Okay, you might not be around still, but I have a question on this. You had to file a US tax return to get a refund of money withheld from a publisher who didn't process your W8-BEN in time to avoid withholding taxes. Who contacted you about this? The publisher or the US government?
Quote Originally Posted by Polenth View Post
It doesn't sound like you do get my point. Withholding isn't income tax in the sense of filing a return and then paying tax to the people who handle taxes. It is the entity who is paying that does the withholding. So for Amazon, it is Amazon who withholds the money, and Amazon who sends it where it needs to go. For a trade published author, the publishers/agents would handle the withholding. The author then files a return in their home country as usual, but doesn't need to file anywhere else. The whole point of those treaties was to make it so people didn't have to file returns in every country.

I just wanted to jump into this discussion since I work for a trade publisher in France and I deal with foreign rights - that is I sell translation rights to publishers around the world. In order for us, French publisher, to pay an author/agent/publisher royalties due we need to receive what is called a "Tax Exemption Form" for the current year, signed by local tax authorities. This means that the author/agent/publisher provides us each year with this document that they obtain by contacting their own tax authorities. This "Tax Exemption Form" enables us to pay the sums due without witholding taxes. If the author/agent/publisher do not provide this document, then taxes are deducted from the amount due, and it is the author/agent/publisher's responsibility to contact our tax authorities to get the money back. This is why sending this "Tax Exemption Form" is really the best way to obtain the whole sums due. However, some authors don't want to have to go through this hassle and choose to have taxes deducted. In the treaty between France and the USA, the sum thus deducted for taxes amounts to 33,33% which is quite a lot.

The other way around, when I sell rights to a foreign publisher, I need to provide a "Tax Exemption Form" as well. For some European countries, it is now called a "Certificate of Residence", and it confirms that our company pays taxes in France. We obtain it from our tax authorities. With the US, we need to provide a W8 form that is specific for companies. Some countries do not need such a document (Scandinavian countries), but others need them such as Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy...
So my advice is always to contact both the "foreign" publisher and your own tax authorities to know what you must provide to obtain the whole amount of royalties due.
Good Luck!