Friday, October 1, 2010

How To Get an ITIN Number (If You're a Canadian Musician)

If you do business in the states you may have heard that 30% of your money must be withheld by law for tax reasons. The way around this is getting an ITIN number which basically tells the companies in the states that you're dealing with that you are exempt from US income taxes. I just went through this process recently (twice) and I figured I'd put a blog posting with detailed instructions so all my fellow Canadian musicians will be able to get theirs a lot easier than I got mine. These instructions probably apply to Canadians who are not musicians as well but I'll let you decide that for yourselves. Please note I am not an accountant or tax lawyer so I'm not going to be held responsible if there is anything here that is incorrect. Use this as a guide and do your own homework!


You must get your a photocopy of your passport notarized at the U.S. Consulate. You can book an appointment here (this is the Toronto consulate):

They have reminders of this on the website but please note you can't bring cell phones, laptops or even the remote car openers into the consulate. They won't let you in with any electronic devices.

The cost for getting the photocopy of your passport notarized is about 30 to 40 dollars. They photocopy it for you so no need to bring a photocopy in.


Filling out the form.

You can download the form here:

Ok so this form is deceptively simple but it was a royal pain finding the article numbers for section H.

When answering the first question "Reason you are submitting Form W-7" you select "A" and then "H". Beside "H" you put "Exception 1(d) - Royalty Income" and the treaty country is Canada.

Again this applied to me who is a Canadian musician who gets paid from people in the states occasionally. If your situation is different (and even if it isn't) make sure to do your own research!

The rest of the form is pretty self explanatory with just personal info going where it should.


You need a letter from someone paying you in the states stating that they owe you money and you need an ITIN number. This part is a bit up for debate, some people said you didn't need it and some did. Since it was my second time applying I wasn't taking any chances and I made sure to have it.


You mail it off to this address:

Internal Revenue Service
ITIN Operation
PO Box 149342
Austin TX 78714-9342

Just another day in the life of running a Toronto recording studio. Here's the links to my site for the studio and twitter/facebook page.  Special thanks to my girlfriend who made sure I got it the second time!!!

Catch me on the sites:


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