Microstock and IRS Drama
I was shocked to read the following post, posted on the forum by the CEO of Shutterstock. Besides threatening every photographer that contributes to the success of his site, I also find this offensive and shows an abuse of power. I think at least an apology is due here.
(I hope he doesn’t delete my account for expressing myself…)
1) This is a US government regulation. What would you like us to do about it? Go to jail? Go out of business? We are sorry – but we can’t just move the company out of the US or creating another company somewhere else to pay you. That is called tax evasion. These are laws. We can’t change the laws. We have 60 employees in NYC – they aren’t going anywhere.
2) If you follow the rules you won’t be double taxed. Your country has rules that we follow every day also. You may need to do a bit of work here, but we will help you out with them. You will have a chance to get your ITIN before we start following regulations and witholding.
3) If you don’t want to deal with this, then leave. We are happy to remove all your images for you. If I continue to read threads on the forum that you will be taking your images elsewhere, I will delete them myself and close your account. I’ve done it a few times already- I am not kidding about this.
4) Online petition claiming we are taxing you? Why would we be taxing you? Again, this is the US government. We are just following the law.
5) Want to change your avatar to something obnoxious? Again, I will personally delete your profile, images, etc. You are just creating more work for us.
6) If you think other microstock companies are except from paying tax, think again. It’s a matter of time before they start following the law also.
7) Why don’t US citizens have to deal with this? Because we already have their W9 forms. Don’t worry – they dealt with it also.
8) Welcome to doing business internationally. We will all make money together – but we have to follow the rules.
9) We will answer every single question you have – but you have to give us time to get to them.
Shutterstock Images LLC