Is ITIN still necessary for Non-US BMI members?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  md2 9 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #25897 Reply

    greystone
    Participant

    Hi there,

    I’m a german citizen and I’d be interested to join BMI as a composer…

    In their ‘BMI writer kit’ (http://www.bmi.com/forms/affiliation/bmi_writer_kit.pdf) it says that…

    ‘Non-resident aliens living in treaty countries may qualify for a reduced withholding rate by supplying a U.S. ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number) on a completed W-8BEN form.’

    Yet I recently read that it is no longer necessary to apply for an ITIN if you have a foreign tax identification number (foreign TIN) that you can fill in when filling out the W-8BEN form.

    This information can also be found here:

    https://www.irs.gov/instructions/iw8ben/ch02.html

    In the Instructions for Line 5, it says:

    ‘If you do not have an SSN and are not eligible to get one, you can get an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). To apply for an ITIN, file Form W-7 with the IRS. It usually takes 4-6 weeks to get an ITIN. To claim certain treaty benefits, you must complete line 5 by submitting an SSN or ITIN, or line 6 by providing a foreign tax identification number (foreign TIN).’

    So my question is: Do I really still have to apply for an ITIN? Or would it be enough to fill out the W-8BEN form and use my german tax identification number?

    Any hints would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help!

    PS: I tried to get a direct answer from BMI, but they simply didn’t respond to my emails…

    #25900 Reply

    Mark_Petrie
    Participant

    Here’s how I understand it <DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A TAX EXPERT)

    The ITIN as you quoted above, is for the purpose of avoiding withholding about 28% tax. You just pay the tax in your home country.

    You would very likely be able to write off the 28% – 30% tax paid when filing taxes in your home country any way, but it saves a lot of accounting work. And for smaller companies, that’s a significant cost of time and money, which is why many libraries require the ITIN. Maybe BMI is ok with doing all that extra work.

    Without the ITIN, their accountant will charge a fee (probably a couple hundred dollars per person every year) to calculate and process an extra tax payment. Not to mention, before paying you, the company has to make sure they’ve withheld 28% of every dollar you made. You can imagine why most libraries don’t want to deal with this.

    From what I’ve seen, there are some countries that might not need an ITIN – like the UK and Australia. Don’t quote me on that, but I have seen this mentioned before.

    Here’s more useful info about it (the IRS page is a bit lacking in detail)

    http://www.jonathanmedd.net/2011/10/obtaining-a-us-individual-taxpayer-identification-number-itin-as-a-uk-citizen.html

    #25901 Reply

    md2
    Participant

    Hi Greystone,

    ** Disclaimer I am not a tax expert ** but here’s what I have found out.

    I found this article : http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/about/taxforms.html

    You don’t need to obtain a SSN or ITIN from the IRS, as the U.S. has a tax treaty with the Germany , and just need to give your German tax ID number and quote the treaty article 12.1 so no tax will be deducted by the IRS.

    On the W8-BEN form ( https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw8ben.pdf ) fill in Part One Sections 1-4 , leave section 5 blank , section 6 enter your German tax ID , leave section 7 blank , section 8 enter date of birth.

    Part Two, Section 9 enter “Germany”, Section 10 enter “12.1” then in the next blank “0” % , next blank section type of income I’d guess would be “music royalties”

    Sign it at the bottom and job done.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers
    Mark

    #25903 Reply

    Andrej

    Hello,Mark or anyone knows if France has similar tax treaty with the US (regarding the itin number)?
    Thank You

    #25904 Reply

    md2
    Participant

    Hi Andrej,

    ** Disclaimer – I’m not tax expert **

    The link I gave above http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/about/taxforms.html ,scroll down to near the bottom and you will see in the table – USA has a treaty with France section 12.2 and they will withhold 5% of your royalties.

    Here’s the IRS tax treaty between USA and France again scroll down to section 12.2 which confirms this : https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-trty/france.pdf

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Mark

    #25905 Reply

    greystone
    Participant

    Hey everybody,

    thanks so much for your responses!

    Believe it or not, just minutes ago BMI actually got back to me and wrote this:

    No you do not need to obtain an ITIN. Please just complete a W-8BEN that has your German tax ID number in box 6.

    So markdorricott’s answers seem to be spot on…!

    Hopefully this thread will be helpful for others with the same question.

    Thanks and have a great day!

    #25906 Reply

    Andrej

    Thank You Mark so as I understand it no tin necessary for me and 5% tax for US,
    I wonder if after updating my WE8BENS in certain libraries where I have been taxed 30% by US for over three years I could recover retrospectively those 25% ?
    Any help appreciated ,thank you

    #25907 Reply

    Kubed
    Participant

    @andrej: i had some sales in a RF site (PT) before i got my ITIN number so,i was taxed 30%.
    When i updated my W8BEN form,including my ITIN,and sent it to them,they immediately send me the withheld amount (30%) of these sales.
    BUT i didn’t receive the withheld amount of the sales of the previous year (it was just 1 sale though).

    So,maybe you could get back the withheld taxes of 2016.
    Update your W8BEN form asap and check with the libraries if you can get back this 25%.

    #25910 Reply

    Andrej

    Thank You Kubed ,good to know ,so I have to hurry up then

    #26496 Reply

    Gabriel Simão

    I also need to register with BMI and am trying to go through all the form filling needed. In my case I am a Portuguese citizen (living in Portugal) with Brazilian citizenship (no Portuguese citizenship as of yet). As far as I have checked the US does have some treaties with Portugal but I couldn’t understand whether they could be taken into account when filling my W8-BEN or not. Please help me understand whether I can use my Portuguese tax ID number or not and whether I am doing the right thing by filling out a W8-BEN or not.

    #26501 Reply

    md2
    Participant

    Hi Gabriel,

    ** Disclaimer I am not a tax expert ** but here’s what I have found out.

    You don’t need to obtain a SSN or ITIN from the IRS, as the U.S. has a tax treaty with the Portugal ( https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-trty/portugal.pdf ), you just need to give your Portuguese tax ID number and quote the treaty article 13.2 , then whoever pays you royalties from the U.S. will withhold 10%

    On the W8-BEN form ( https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw8ben.pdf ) fill in Part One Sections 1-4 , leave section 5 blank , section 6 enter your Portuguese tax ID , leave section 7 blank , section 8 enter date of birth.

    Part Two, Section 9 enter “Portugal”, Section 10 enter “13.2” then in the next blank “10” % , next blank section type of income I’d guess would be “music royalties”

    Sign it at the bottom and job done.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers
    Mark

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