Work in the USA from BC, Canada
- Personal service income that’s foreign sourced requires neither a TIN nor Treaty Benefits.
- Foreign sourced means the service provider is physically located outside the US while doing all work.
- The US does NOT tax foreign source income.
- To the employer, it’s a business expense. They need neither to report nor withhold.
- It’s a different circumstance if the service provider enters the US to install, demonstrate, present, or otherwise do any work.
- The Tax Law Area of the International Taxpayer Service Call Center is a terrific resource!
- Call 1-267-941-1000 and use option 4 and then option 4. There’s little wait time.
My Questions (and Answers)
- I need a U.S. taxpayer identification number, because a potential employer needs a completed W-8BEN form, including Part II on Treaty Benefits. Should I apply for a SSN or ITIN?
- That little question lead to a very thorough, unexpected answer – be sure to read to the end, because I was misguided in my question.
- Answers are from the International Taxpayer Service Call Center.Use an ITIN unless you’re a US Citizen or resident.
- Start with an “informal” tax number, to get started with your employer.
- Then start the process for obtaining an ITIN.
- Thank you helpful call center person #1!
- The ITIN is not designed for income but can be a hack to make it work for contractors.
- The SSN is for citizens or those who are sponsored employees.
- Questions that the agent asked me:
- Are you applying for a Green Card / VISA? NO
- Have you applied for an ITIN in the past? NO
- Do you possess any US identification? NO
- Are you eligible for a SSN? NO (because I’m not a US citizen)
- Will you be physically present in the US to do any work? NO
- “Well, in that case, this will be easy…”
- Personal service income that’s foreign sourced does NOT require Treaty Benefits nor a TIN…
- because the US government will NOT tax it.
- This is based on the location in which the person completes the services, which in this case, is in Canada.
- When my employer pays me, in this case, they have neither to report nor withhold. It’s a business expense.
- This might change if my physical presence moves into the USA for an installation, demonstration, or presentation, for instance.
- Then we’d need to look at the specific circumstances.
- Further, if the employer wanted to hire me as an employee, then they would sponsor me, and I would apply for a VISA and SSN.
- Office of International Operations, British Columbia, Canada
- International Taxpayer Service Call Center