Dead Or Even Worse.

Regular readers will recall, that sometime ago, my bank and subsequently my internet and telephone provider decided I was dead.  Now then, whilst I acknowledge that there are a lot of people who would be happy to see me shoving up daisies, I am in fact very much alive and kicking all be it a little creakily.

I have come back from the dead about three time in the last 12 months and each time after after a bit of fucking about, loads of telephone calls – mostly to Indian call centres and the ensuing usual stupid questions the problem eventualy gets sorted out.

Now to be fair I can almost see why this happens.  I have dropped off the grid for extended periods and then popped up sometime later somewhere totally unexpected, before returning home like a wayward dog.

It has all been a little irksome if not mildly amusing.  The being dead not the coming home that is.

However the other day I received in the post a form W9.

What is a W9 I hear you ask?  Sorry that should really be W-9,  lets get it right.

The W-9 is actually a US tax form and my question is why have they sent one to me, a Brit who spent most of the last year – through no fault of my own – dead?

Its bad enough been considered dead, but to be considered American, well that’s going to far.

I have done some research and there could be answer.

In the days gone by pikeys were pikeys, not ” misunderstood travelling folks who are really honest guvnor with hearts of gold” and chaps like me were referred to as mercenaries or dogs of war.  Not any more, oh no.  Now in the era of “management speak” and “lets give it a fancy titleism” we are often referred to as “Independent contractors” or “Security Contractors” and “Freelancers” and so on.

TheW-9 does come with an explanatory letter and there is information on t’good old t’internet.  Here is a taster

“A W-9 is used to gather information about the independent contractor.”

That might explain why I have beens ent one, but only might as I have not worked in the US or for any US companies.  It goes on to explain

“The formForm W-9 may be developed if it is substantially similar to the actual Form W-9. Check the IRS’s instructions for the Form W-9 for more details on this.”

WTF does that mean?  This is the instruction for the Form W-9.  It gets better.

“The client or company will use the information collected on the W-9, or substitute W-9, to produce a Form 1099 which details the earnings that the independent contractor received from that client that tax year. The Form 1099 is sent to both the independent contractor and the IRS; some states may also require a separate mailing of the 1099 as well.”

Well thats clear enough except I dont have a 1099 and dont feel too inclined to ask for one.   There is then some guff about the form W-4 and the 1040 E-S before it goes on to say

“The W-9 is only required of independent contractors who are US citizens, US resident aliens, and some other less common categories (e.g., a domestic estate). Non-US independent contractors may be required to fill out a Form W-8 (like the Form W-8BEN) instead of a W-9. This is not always the case. Investors, or freelancers, living in other countries may simply file the W-9, which will provide the employers or financial institution with a way to keep record of their information.

The W-9 also requires a signature, though unlike the W-4, the signature does not have to be witnessed by an employer or client. In most cases, freelancers merely send in a W-9, which can be a copy of the original.”

Right oh, squire, right oh, know what you mean, know what you mean, nudge is as good as a wink to a blind horse.

I am told that in reality this is a last ditch attempt by the dying Bush administration  to track down naughty US scallywags who may have bank accounts outside the US and who would be funding terror or more likely avoiding paying tax to the IRS.  I also suspect it is a way those crafty spooks at Langley will get unwitting “Private Contractors” to volunteer their details to the CIA database.

However my favourite bit on these instructions is the bit that says “If you are a U.S. person, please complete the enclosed W9 Form and return to us at the address below. ……blah blah blah…….. If you are not a U.S. person, please complete the enclosed Customer Information Form and include an explanation as to why you are not a U.S. person.”

Fuck off I am Uncle Norman seemed a bit too subtle so I would like to know if anyone has any better suggestions.

3 Responses to “Dead Or Even Worse.”

  1. JH says:

    Cheeky sods. I am afraid I cannot think of anything better than giving them the finger. I have read about this form going out to a lot of Americans outside the USA and heard it was to get access to their bank accounts. I trust you are not actually going to send this form back?

  2. havingmycake says:

    I suspect that they’ve heard how good you are and since only Americans are considered to possess that quality…

  3. dl says:

    Doesn’t it make you feel comfortable to know they’re the most powerful force on the planet!

    Just tell them you’d be delighted to send their form back, just as soon as they send you your green card. I imagaine it’s the last thing you really want, but they wouldn’t be pestering you again.

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