Personal ID number for translators from the US with European clients
Thread poster: Thais Peiffer

Thais Peiffer  Identity Verified
United States
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Dec 13, 2010

I have just been asked by an European client for my personal ID number or company number in order to be paid. I wonder what other US translators do in a situation like this. Do you give the client (who you don't know) your social security number?

Btw, I don't have a company code, I have worked as a freelancer so far and filed taxes as self-employed.

Any help will be much appreciated!


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sokolniki  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:40
English to Russian
+ ...
I work a lot for.. Dec 13, 2010

.. European clients and never give them my SSN. If they insist on having your SSN, this is definitely a scam.

In those rare cases when some personal ID number was requested, I explained that I am self-employed/pay my own taxes and never had a problem with that.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:40
Flemish to English
+ ...
Perhaps the VAT-changes. Dec 13, 2010

Thais Peiffer wrote:

I have just been asked by an European client for my personal ID number or company number in order to be paid. I wonder what other US translators do in a situation like this. Do you give the client (who you don't know) your social security number?

Btw, I don't have a company code, I have worked as a freelancer so far and filed taxes as self-employed.

Any help will be much appreciated!



Were it Spaniards/Portuguese. Since the VAT-changes of 2010, they have become quite obsessed with a VAT-number, which you, as Americans don't have.
From a European point of view, they export a service to a "third country", so I do not see why they need your tax-number. After all, American incomes are taxable worldwide.


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:40
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Employer Identification Number / EIN Dec 13, 2010

Or you can apply for an EIN from the IRS (even if you are a sole proprietor) and use that. Even if the foreign agency doesn't really need the EIN either it may be less trouble than arguing with them. It's probably a good idea to get an EIN anyway and use it domestically as well for your W9's, rather than giving out your SSN. In any case there is no legitimate reason that non-US companies would need your SSN.

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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:40
French to English
+ ...
Doubt it's a legal requirement Dec 13, 2010

I doubt there's any requirement for them to have any ID number/company number, especially if no such publicly disclosable number exists.

What they might be worried about is being accused themselves of tax evasion. Can the IRS produce any kind of certificate saying "To whom it may concern, Ms Peiffer is a US taxpayer"?


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Inge Meinzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:40
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
It is... Dec 13, 2010

IRS form 8802, an application for certification of US residency for tax purposes. It will cost you $35.00 to obtain form 6166, which is apparently required by some foreign authorities. I personally have only one client (in Spain) who insists that, without providing the form (each year), I cannot be paid.

Good luck!
Inge


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Thais Peiffer  Identity Verified
United States
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you very much, guys! Dec 13, 2010

I will definitely try to get the ID you guys talked about. I do think it's better to use it than my SSN. I will talk to this client and tell them I don't have the personal ID number now and see how it goes. But, I will definitely apply for the EIN ASAP! Thank you again

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:40
English to German
+ ...
Give them the last four digits of your SSN Dec 13, 2010

Thais Peiffer wrote:

I will definitely try to get the ID you guys talked about. I do think it's better to use it than my SSN. I will talk to this client and tell them I don't have the personal ID number now and see how it goes. But, I will definitely apply for the EIN ASAP! Thank you again



But nothing more. BTW, you can not "apply" for a FEIN, you have to decide in which form you would like to register your business. You may register as a sole proprietor, as an LLC and later on as a corporation (takes two years minimum and the IRS has to approve it).


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:40
English to German
+ ...
Muuuuch better. We have forms. :-) Dec 13, 2010

Neil Coffey wrote:

I doubt there's any requirement for them to have any ID number/company number, especially if no such publicly disclosable number exists.

What they might be worried about is being accused themselves of tax evasion. Can the IRS produce any kind of certificate saying "To whom it may concern, Ms Peiffer is a US taxpayer"?



There are two different forms, one if you are an American living abroad and paying taxes to the USA (form W-9), one if you are neither a US-citizen nor a permanent resident (W-8BEN). All they want ist your signature and your address in a proper form.

Those forms were not invented to annoy translators in particular but to keep money laundering and similar lucrative hobbies in check and under control.

Those forms will not be forwarded, shared or published. Who cares, anyway? Companies however need to have these forms present and ready in case of an audit.


HTH.


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:40
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
@ Nicole: Two years for what exactly? Dec 13, 2010

Nicole Schnell wrote:

BTW, you can not "apply" for a FEIN, you have to decide in which form you would like to register your business. You may register as a sole proprietor, as an LLC and later on as a corporation (takes two years minimum and the IRS has to approve it).


Nicole - what are you referring to as taking two years? Getting an FEIN? I got mine instantly after requesting it via the IRS website. There is nothing for the IRS to "approve", they just process your request, assuming it's properly documented.

It's true that if you change the legal form of your business (e.g., from sole proprietorship to LLC or corporation), you must request a new EIN, because you can't transfer it from one form to another. In that case you just make a new request. But it doesn't take two years to set up any kind business form - even a corporation can be registered more or less instantly, with a few confirming steps that must be taken afterwards.

What did you mean?


Edited to add: Then again, DW is a tax accountant, so perhaps she used some of her many amazing superpowers to get things done so quickly







[Edited at 2010-12-13 20:39 GMT]


[Edited at 2010-12-13 20:42 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:40
English to German
+ ...
Hi Rudolf Dec 13, 2010

Rudolf Vedo CT wrote:

Nicole Schnell wrote:

BTW, you can not "apply" for a FEIN, you have to decide in which form you would like to register your business. You may register as a sole proprietor, as an LLC and later on as a corporation (takes two years minimum and the IRS has to approve it).


Nicole - what are you referring to as taking two years? Getting an FEIN? I got mine instantly after requesting it via the IRS website. There is nothing for the IRS to "approve", they just process your request, assuming it's properly documented.

It's true that if you change the legal form of your business (e.g., from sole proprietorship to LLC or corporation), you must request a new EIN, because you can't transfer it from one form to another. In that case you just make a new request. But it doesn't take two years to set up any kind business form - even a corporation can be registered more or less instantly, with a few confirming steps that must be taken afterwards.

What did you mean?


This period of time refers to the two years that a company needs to be alive and kicking before the IRS will approve the company to turn into a real corporation with shareholders and such. I founded my company as an LLC in 2001 and we restructured the thing into an S-Corporation in 2007 or so. You pay less taxes but they won't allow you to do so from the start any longer. Has to do with this dot.com blast a decade ago.


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Thais Peiffer  Identity Verified
United States
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Getting an EIN number Dec 15, 2010

So, I saw on the IRS website that I can get the EIN number imediately. The client I was talking about wants an Tax ID number period. ...

I am just wondering how getting this ID will change my tax payer life... so far I have always filed taxes as self-employed and I am afraid with this EIN I will have to start filling as business...


I would love some enlightment here ... please...


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:40
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Shouldn't affect filing status Dec 15, 2010

Thais Peiffer wrote:

So, I saw on the IRS website that I can get the EIN number imediately. The client I was talking about wants an Tax ID number period. ...

I am just wondering how getting this ID will change my tax payer life... so far I have always filed taxes as self-employed and I am afraid with this EIN I will have to start filling as business...


I would love some enlightment here ... please...



First, an obvious disclaimer: For tax advice, please contact a tax professional (I am not one).

Now with the legal stuff out of the way: it shouldn't affect filing status. You file a schedule C, right? There is a field on there for your EIN - use it.

If you have a corporation, or have employees and/or do withholding (as well as some other conditions) you must have an EIN. If you are self-employed, you MAY have one.

Again, please consult a qualified tax professional for advice on your specific situation.









[Edited at 2010-12-15 13:55 GMT]


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sarandor  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:40
English to Russian
+ ...
Background checks Dec 15, 2010

Not long ago I received a request from a very large agency's UK office (the agency has branches in several countries, including the U.S.) to fill out some forms for a background investigation. The forms asked to provide my SSN. When I asked why they need my SSN, I was told that their high-profile financial clients wanted to work only with translators with clean criminal record and good credit. This agency is one of my best clients, so I complied, although quite reluctantly. So, such requests do not necessarity mean they are scams, but you have to be careful.

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Personal ID number for translators from the US with European clients

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