I loathe filling in forms, just the thought of it makes me sweat and I’d never have got throught the process without help from others! But I didn’t manage to find a site that took me through the whole process. So I wrote my own instructions, so that I’d be able to remember what I did for future reference. I’ve helped a few people with their forms since so I thought this was worth sharing publically.
These instructions are for UK authors working with US publishers. You need an ITIN number so that you don’t have to pay taxes on your royalty payments to the US tax people. Obviously you may still be eligible for taxes on your earnings here in the UK but that is dealt with through the Inland Revenue here when you do your tax return.
I hope this info helpful for others, but please double check things and don’t take my word as gospel. If you find any inaccuracies feel free to get in touch and tell me so I can update the info.
Step 1: get a legalised copy of your passport
details here: https://www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised
Get a colour photocopy of your passport – just the page with your photo and details on
Take it to a solicitor and get it certified (they will stamp and sign it, there is usually a small charge for this service)
Follow the instructions in the link above but here’s a summary:
Pay online for the legalisation service and print off the confirmation
Fill in the application form in the link above
Print it off and send the following things to the address given in the link above.
● The application form
● The certified colour copy of your passport
● A stamped envelope addressed to you
You should get the legalised copy of your passport back within a few days. It comes back with a new piece of paper attached to it with official stuff on it. Leave it attached.
Step 2: the W7 form
Download and complete the W7 form: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw7.pdf
Detailed instructions for filling it in are here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/iw7.pdf
Use the instructions, but here’s the info you need for the ambiguous bits and some general tips:
In the first section ‘reasons you are submitting form W7’ tick box a, then also tick box h and write in: EXCEPTION 1(d) ROYALTIES
Treaty country is UNITED KINGDOM and treaty article number is 12
The sections for your personal details are mostly self explanatory, but make sure you use block capitals and don’t leave any fields blank (I used SAME AS ABOVE or N/A where appropriate).
Please note the form requires that you use US date format MM/DD/YYYY which tends to catch a lot of Brits out 😉
In the ‘Other Information’ section the Foreign Tax ID number is your National Insurance number.
6g – I put N/A for all of this. I’m pretty sure that’s correct based on the instructions for the form, but I’m aware that it contradicts the advice given on the Dreamspinner Press blog. I think you only need to fill in this section if you are studying or working in the USA. (and mine was accepted)
Once you’ve filled out the W7 form you need to post the following things to the address below.
● The W7 form
● The legalised copy of your passport including the new attachment
● A letter from your publisher verifying that you will be receiving income in the form of royalties.
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342
I sent mine using International Recorded Delivery. It can take a long time to get your ITIN back from them so be prepared to wait.
Step 3: the W8-BEN form
Once you have your ITIN number download and fill out form W8-BEN: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw8ben.pdf
Instructions for filling it in are here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/iw8ben.pdf
Fill in your personal details in 1,2 and 4 as you’d expect
3. select individual
5. I put ‘as above’ because it was the same.
6. Enter the ITIN number that you should have by now, tick the box that says SSN or ITIN
7. Give your national insurance number
8. ? I left this blank.
9. check a and fill in UNITED KINGDOM in the space, also check b
10. fill in: article 12, 0% and ROYALTIES into the first three gaps, in that order. Leave the last gap blank
I didn’t do anything here
Sign it. The form then needs to be sent to your publisher for them to file – if it’s for DSP send it to Elizabeth North and she will sort it out so you can sign it digitally and she will keep it on file.
Edited to add this tip from Becky Black:
If you live near to, or are taking a trip to London, then going to submit your forms at the IRS office at the US embassy can save you the bother of getting a copy of your passport. They’ll also check over the form for you to make sure it’s all correct, so you stand less chance of being rejected over a silly mistake. Always check the embassy website for opening hours and what you’re not allowed to take in. Avoid going at US tax return time!