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Legal Advice on Form W-9 2012/12/26 11:57
I have a book deal for a publisher in America and they sent tax form W-8BEN for me to complete and send back.
I know that this is wrong because I am an American citizen; signing that form is literally perjury because it is specifically meant to denote that you are not American.

I am fairly certain that the form I need to send back to them is W-9, even though I live in Japan.
Can someone with legal knowledge confirm this?

The purpose of W-9 is firstly to inform them of my social security number for tax purposes, but it can also be used to claim tax exemption in certain cases.

My follow-up question then is whether or not there is anything I can claim as a result of the Japan-America double-tax treaty.

They will pay (wire transfer) up-front a certain amount of money to some account of mine (I prefer it to be a Japanese account if possible). After that royalties will be in the form of checks. I mention this because there are apparently different regulations for different types of incomes.

I primarily want to confirm that W-9 is correct and then to see how I can claim any exemptions, but in order to be sure I have mentioned all possibly related information:
#1: I am American citizen living in Japan and have a social security number.
#2: I am trying to take advantage of the double-tax treaty between Japan and America to avoid paying taxes twice.
#3: The first deposit will be wired and will be up-front money. I am not sure how it classifies legally (for example, it is NOT classified as royalties).
#4: Royalties will later be sent out as checks which I can cash directly in Japanese banks. I donft think it matters that these are classified as royalties since they are checks though. It doesnft matter how I got them\checks are checks.
#5: I do have one other question though. I get the checks, I cash them here, done. Is there anything special I have to do for the IRS or is it exactly the same as the rest of my Japanese income? I know I have to file taxes on Japanese income (annoying) but is there anything special about these checks as far as the IRS is concerned given the fact that they come from America and might somehow be issued with the government as income from America associated with my social security number? IE: Do I have to submit some form to the IRS along the lines of, gThe publisher informed you that it sent my social security number a check for X amount, and this is to inform you, the IRS, that I cashed that check in Japan and paid Japanese taxes on it, so donft bother me about it blah blah blah.h

Thank you,
L. Spiro
by Shawn W  

Re: Legal Advice on Form W-9 2012/12/26 14:39
I've read your other question concerning cashing checks, but this time it looks like you need to contact a tax attorney (from the US) to find out what you need to do.

Also, concerning Japanese taxation, have you been a resident in Japan for 5 or more years already? There is a criteria (I believe it was 5 years) for classification of non-Japanese nationals residing in Japan, whether they are classified as permanent residents (for tax purposes only, nothing to do with resident status/visa) or not. Once you are classified as a permanent resident, you need to file all your income from around the world, and pay tax on it here. Only when that applies, you will be eligible to "take advantage" of the scheme to avoid double taxation.

From the sound of it, since you would probably want to continue to have US income associated with your US social security number (otherwise there will be zero contribution for your social security in the future), it sounds like it is better to file your income from US source with the US authorities, and (if you have any other income source in Japan) to pay tax in Japan for the income you earn in Japan. The publisher will inform the tax authorities in the US that they've paid you anyway.

In any case, about the form, you will probably have to find an American attorney.
by AK (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Legal Advice on Form W-9 2012/12/27 02:05
Thank you.

I have been here for just over 4 years.
So basically it sounds as though, unless I am classified for tax purposes as a resident of Japan, I can just forget all of the nonsense related to the fact that my address is actually in Japan, yes?

Then, can anyone confirm when that status gets changed?

I am not so worried about contribution towards my social security in the future\I never plan to live in America again. I am assuming contributions towards my American social security wonft help me at all in the future in Japan, though that is just my assumption and I could be wrong.

Since you mentioned that there is a time limit for when one gains tax status in Japan it brings another question to mind.
Does the same thing exist in the opposite direction? I have only been in Japan for just over 4 years but I havenft lived in America for about 9 years. I wonder if that could be an issue at all.

L. Spiro
by Shawn W rate this post as useful

Re: Legal Advice on Form W-9 2012/12/27 03:31
As long as you are a US Green Card holder or a citizen, you pay the tax on the world wide income, albeit the taxes you pay in other countries will be credited. You can pay any Fed. tax amount on W-9 but you need to pay in 1040.
If you don't get Pricewaterhouse or other international tax prepareres, use Turbo Tax software(small business version) to do the tax filing.
IMO, contribute to US SS. You might get back more than you pay into unless you are rich enough but never know what happens in your later life.
by ay (guest) rate this post as useful

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