Windows Phone Developer Account Setup Guide
I firstly have to apologise to anyone who used my previous Windows Phone Developer account guide as I had gained some wrong information courtesy of call centres – thank you IRS. Anyway, this updated version remains as a series of tips for people who are trying to start up their Windows Phone Developer account and it is now a more complete and thorough version. In short the three processes you will need to complete are;
1. Register a Windows Phone Developer Account
2. Get an ITIN
3. Submit to Microsoft
All of these in detail below;
Part 1. Register your Windows Phone Developer account
Noting a blog post made by Mitch Denny this first step should be taken with care.
- Make sure you type your company name in correctly, because you currently are not able to change it.
- You can not change the Live ID that your account is linked to.
- Also if you mess up this step and would like to start again, it might result in you having to re-pay the $99 setup fee and you can’t re-use the same Live ID
(Note that students get free registration through the Microsoft program Dreamspark)
Part 2. Get an ITIN
An ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) is a form of identification given to you by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). To obtain an ITIN is probably the hardest part of the whole process as I have now been given two different sets of advice courtesy of IRS call centres. Anyway, in short to obtain an ITIN you need to fill in a W-7 Form (W-7 Instructions here) and Post it to the IRS along with supporting Documentation.
2a). Get your Documents Certified
Supporting Documentation to verify your identity is The most challenging step. There are a whole list of documents you could submit but the easiest is to just submitting a Passport that is verified by the issuing agency along with an “apostille” that is recognised by the Hague Convention. If you do not live in Australia yet are up to this step, then ring the agency which issues Passports and ask them how you can get a “Certified Copy that is recognised in the United States, along with an apostille”
If you are in in Australia, this single process has two steps (if you’re not in Australia, read the above paragraph!);
2a. 1) Get your Documentation signed by a Public Notary
Google “Public notary” and Google Maps will pop up with hopefully a good selection of them in your area. Shop around because some charged between $88, $70, $60, and $50 dollars. Also ask how much a second copy is because they might do it cheaper and you could need it! (I did!, read along).
2a. 2) Ring DFAT in your State
Go to the DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) website, and ring the Australian Office of which State you are In. Ask them about getting a “Certified Copy of a Passport with an Apostille”, they will ask if you have a Public Notary copy of the passport, you will hopefully by this stage say you do. In my case they emailed me a Payment Form to fill out to send along my photocopied passport picture (you don’t need to send your passport with it). The Charge for this is $60, along with Postage and Handling. Ouch.
This process will take you a week or so.
2b). Filling in your W-7 Form
The first part of this is the “Reason you are submitting Form W-7″. If you read my original post I was told to fill in check box a and a tax treaty article, but no, in fact you need fill in check box h) which is Other. If you then go along to the W-7 Form Instructions, you are supposed to input in checkbox h) as the reason 1 (d) . The IRS said I belonged in this category because I was an overseas developer being paid by Microsoft. Whoorah.
The rest is pretty self-explanatory such as your name and passport number and what not.
2c) Be sure to include Microsofts Cover Letter!
Make sure you also put it in the format;
- Date – The date you print the form in MM/DD/YYYY format.
- To – The Developer’s full name in first name + last name format.
2d) Submitting your W-7 Form
So you’ve finally got
- A copy of your passport verified by the Issuing Agency with an Apostille
- Microsoft’s Cover letter with the correct formatting
- A properly completed W-7 Form
Now before you send it along Ring the IRS
All up to get an ITIN the process takes about a week to get a passport certified, and six weeks for the IRS turn around. If you are rejected you have to submit everything all over again! (They don’t send your documents back). So get a cheap calling card and ring between Office Hours (Austin Texas, Central Daylight Time). Their international calling number is 215 516 2000 (from Australia I dialed 001112155162000). When calling them Option 2 for “International Calling”, then after that Option 4 for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. Ask a lot of questions because this is the only way to get some thorough answers.
Part 3. Submit to Microsoft
This is the final process and this won’t occur until you’ve received your ITIN back.
For this process Microsoft lists three steps;
1. Download the appropriate W-8 form, (according to MS it is usually the W-8BEN)
2. Fill in the Appropriate Tax Treaty Article Number
To quote Microsoft directly; “The list can be found in Publication 901 (see Table 1, Column 12 – Copyright Royalties, Other, and Footnotes).”
3. Send it to Microsoft at;
‘Windows Marketplace for Mobile’
One Microsoft Way
Redmond WA 98052
N.B. Please note I haven’t touched on topics such as VAT in detail or countries without a Tax Treaty as Australia isn’t influenced by these two things. Countries that are affected by VAT can find the extra information underneath.
- Beau Allison
VAT (Value Added Tax) Information
For countries affected by VAT (not Australia), Microsoft lists theses steps (Direct Quote) “Provide your Value-Added Tax (VAT) Identification Number to Microsoft A valid VAT Identification Number is not strictly required to get paid, although without it you will be charged the VAT. Microsoft also needs your valid VAT Identification Number to send you a hard-copy tax invoice (HCTI), if applicable to your country/region.”