I just wanted to include or prompt an update on this 1983 Straight Dope Classic, recently featured in Cecil’s e-mail blast.
In the article, Cecil states:
This may have changed since 1983 (who am I to question the hard work of Cecil and the IRS 27 years ago). My wife is a writer residing in Canada but getting paid by US publishers. She does not pay tax to the IRS. At least, she hasn’t since she obtained her Income Tax Information Number (ITIN) from the IRS. This magical number allows her to receive her royalties from the US with no tax deducted, though she must still pay income tax in Canada, thus ensuring that her tax dollars go to support poutine festivals rather than Senators’ mistresses.
Apparently the ITIN was originally created for Americans working abroad who had to pay tax locally to prevent the IRS from double-dipping, but it was expanded to allow foreigners to keep the IRS’ dirty mitts off of their hard-earned cash–even if it was earned from Americans, bless their hearts (and wallets).