Paying Artists Overseas

Today TaxMama hears from Barb in Kentucky who tells us, “I have a client that is hiring artists from Japan & Italy on a subcontracting basis. Is there any special thing that I need to be aware of in this case? He will pay them with a company check and we will issue 1099-MISCs.”

Hi Barb,

Great to hear from you.

First of all, since the payments are going to foreign nationals, there’s no 1099-MISC needed. They won’t even have US taxpayer ID numbers.

Of course, if your client knows they are US citizens or green card holders, then, yes, have them fill out a W-9 and issue the 1099-MISC.

What does your client need to do?

Get invoices before issuing payments. Preferably in English. If the artists don’t really know how to issue an invoice, have them use FreshBooks.

There is no charge for the first three clients they each put into their accounts. And since they’ll only have the one US client, they can use the service for free.

And prove the payments went overseas. This can be done via cancelled checks, wire transfers, or PayPal. Easy, see?

OOOPS – you will also need to have them submit a Form W8-BEN – Read Roger B. Adams, EA’s comment with excellent information. Roger is TaxMama’s expert on all things international.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about paying outsourced workers and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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  • Form W8-BEN :: Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding

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