From shutterstock email and forum:
To All non-US Submitters:
Letters are being emailed to all non US submitters individually today, advising of possible changes in the amount of tax that will be withheld from your Shutterstock earnings.
If you are a citizen or resident of the United States living abroad, please provide us with a signed, completed U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification.
If you are a resident of a jurisdiction which has an income tax treaty with the United States that provides for a reduced rate of withholding tax on royalties, you will need to complete U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding. We are in the process of installing an online version of Form W-8BEN, and we will notify you when the online form is available. However, in order to complete the form you must have a U.S. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If you do not currently have an ITIN, you can obtain one by filing a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, with the IRS. This process takes only 4-6 weeks and could reduce your withholding taxes significantly.
Please refer to your personalized letter and the below information for more details.
Full article http://submit.shutterstock.com/forum/abt62243.html
P.S.: the controversial post is no more present in the main ANNOUNCEMENTS section and it was later replaced by a less strong version; if you follow the link you can find the second one, I copied here the first version…
Witholding Tax Issue – Calm down.
1) This is a US government regulation. What would you like us to do about it? Go to jail? Go out of business? We are sorry – but we can't just move the company out of the US or creating another company somewhere else to pay you. That is called tax evasion. These are laws. We can't change the laws. We have 60 employees in NYC – they aren't going anywhere.
2) If you follow the rules you won't be double taxed. Your country has rules that we follow every day also. You may need to do a bit of work here, but we will help you out with them. You will have a chance to get your ITIN before we start following regulations and witholding.
3) If you don't want to deal with this, then leave. We are happy to remove all your images for you. If I continue to read threads on the forum that you will be taking your images elsewhere, I will delete them myself and close your account. I've done it a few times already- I am not kidding about this.
4) Online petition claiming we are taxing you? Why would we be taxing you? Again, this is the US government. We are just following the law.
5) Want to change your avatar to something obnoxious? Again, I will personally delete your profile, images, etc. You are just creating more work for us.
6) If you think other microstock companies are except from paying tax, think again. It's a matter of time before they start following the law also.
7) Why don't US citizens have to deal with this? Because we already have their W9 forms. Don't worry – they dealt with it also.
8) Welcome to doing business internationally. We will all make money together – but we have to follow the rules.
9) We will answer every single question you have – but you have to give us time to get to them.
Shutterstock Images LLC
Full article, new lighter version, http://submit.shutterstock.com/forum/abt62351.html
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