Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ongoing W-8BEN saga

I mentioned previously a certain tax debacle. Zazzle is one of many print on demand companies in the US, and on the 13th June, some of us received an email saying our W-8BEN forms needed to be updated or we would have 30% tax withheld on our royalties. I say some, as apparently many designers did not receive this email - a nasty shock in store for them when they have tax withheld on their next payment!

In spite of the fact that my own form was approved, many have not been, and I have to say I'm disappointed with the lack of information and help that has been given to designers by Zazzle. First of all, we were required to obtain an ITIN, no mean feat if you're a foreigner in a foreign land! Then we were told we didn't need to have a letter from Zazzle to apply for one. In fact, I eventually received a letter from Zazzle (thank you!), however I am not going to get an ITIN, and here's why.

Many members of the Facebook group mentioned below, having previously contacted the IRS and been told no ITIN was required, decided to approach the competent tax treaty authorities in various countries. The UK's HMRC came up trumps with a contact for an official at the US embassy's IRS section. Consequently, a letter was received stating once and for all that the IRS do NOT require an ITIN. It does say that Zazzle are within their rights to ask for one, but the point was, that it's not an IRS requirement!

I hope this post helps other people who are caught up in ITIN or withholding tax wrangles, and not just those at Zazzle.

A large group was formed on Facebook to discuss these events. If you're a non-US Zazzler you're welcome to join us, but please have something on your FB page for us to link you to Zazzle, it's very hard to distinguish who's who otherwise!