Thursday, May 28, 2009

Microstock: ShutterStock's 30% Withholding Tax

It is disgusting for me to learn that ShutterStock is going to withhold 30% of our earnings for US tax purposes.

For submitters from countries that have a tax agreement with the US, they can go through some paper work by applying for an individual tax identification number (ITIN), filling in W9 form, W8BEN form, blah, blah, blah, then they can get a better rate, from 20% down to 0%.

For submitters from countries that do not have a tax agreement with the US, then bad luck, no matter what you do, 30% of your earnings will go to US tax authority (IRS) and help to pay up the trillions of budget deficits in the US.

Non-US submitters now are having an uproar in ShutterStock's forum, venting their utmost dismay and anger over this drastic change.

I, for one, feel very disappointed. Why in the past we didn't have to pay that 30% tax? Why only now we have to pay? Why other agencies don't seem to have this problem but only ShutterStock?

My original plan is to have 800 photos in my portfolio in ShutterStock by the end of the year, but now, I think I will just stop submitting to ShutterStock. I don't want to waste my time and effort and only to make somebody else rich.

Creativity is what made US such a great country in the world, but this high tax rate on creativity is killing the progress of the country. No wonder US is in such deep sh*t right now. Their politicians are insane! They want to kill the goose that lays gold eggs!


  1. yes, there's a hot debate going on right now. A lot of us contributors to shutterstock who have helped to make it a wealthy successful company have voiced their disappointment in the forums and been blocked by the management.
    There is a petition not yet 12 hours old threatening to remove (currently) 120,000 images from their database and moving elsewhere. Here is the petition url

  2. I thought it is not only shutterstock? Dreamtimes also implemented such policies