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  1. #1
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    Question ss#
    Are there any affiliate networks or programs that dont require my ss#? Iam not signing up as a merchant so I will not be paying anyone. I do not want my identity stolen.

  2. #2
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    They need it, don't worry about it.

  3. #3
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobugs
    Are there any affiliate networks or programs that dont require my ss#? Iam not signing up as a merchant so I will not be paying anyone. I do not want my identity stolen.
    You have to provide an id number as you will be receiving income through the network and that has to be reported to the IRS assuming you earn over $600 in a calendar year. But you do not have to use your social security number. If you have a federal employer id number you can use that. If you do not have one, you can quickly and easily get one from the IRS - look on their website under the forms section.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  4. #4
    Affiliate Network Rep DirectAgents's Avatar
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    My network, Direct Agents, doesn't require a SS#. You can sign up here: https://da-tracking.com/affiliate_signup.html.

    Let me know if you need any further details!

  5. #5
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    DA:
    Does your company send a 1099 to those that make $600+ ???

  6. #6
    Affiliate Network Rep DirectAgents's Avatar
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    hmm...I don't think we do right now.
    Jill
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  7. #7
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirectAgents
    hmm...I don't think we do right now.
    Well, you better start or you are in violation of the Internal Revenue Code (for every affiliate earning $600+ in a calendar year).
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  8. #8
    Affiliate Network Rep DirectAgents's Avatar
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    Oh Sorry! All i know for sure is that we don't require social security number. I'll find out from my accounting department and keep you updated about the 1099- honestly I'm not sure. We have a pretty large network so I doubt we are in violation of any law, but thanks for your concern Affiliatehound.
    Jill
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  9. #9
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    One further note, Francesca:

    The 1099 requires either a social security number or Federal Employer ID Number.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    There are plenty of indie merchants and possibly even a few networks that don't require SS or tax ID number on signup. But to be legal they have to get the info when you reach $600 AFAIK.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by simcat
    There are plenty of indie merchants and possibly even a few networks that don't require SS or tax ID number on signup. But to be legal they have to get the info when you reach $600 AFAIK.
    Bingo. If they don't ask for it up front, you will eventually have to provide it.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  12. #12
    Newbie gonzalop's Avatar
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    I don't use my personal ss#. I opened a corporation and use the company tax number.

    Gonzalo

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the great info! Can you provide the names of some of these "indie merchants" or networks, or can you tell me how I can find some?

  14. #14
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    If a US-based company enrolls US affiliates without requesting a social security number, then they either (A) don't plan to pay you, and/or (B) don't plan to comply with US tax-reporting laws.

    In my experience, these folks usually are clueless newbies who don't understand how to run their businesses. They might have an honest (although misguided) belief that they will earn money that they can use to pay affiliates (and if so, they may be very apologetic when they can't fulfull their promises); but quite often, they have no intention of paying their affiliates (and when you ask about payment, they'll delay and delay and delay).

    US tax laws require that ANYONE who pays someone else more than $600 in a calendar year, MUST collect the recipient's tax identification number (usually using Form W-9), and they MUST prepare and send a Form 1099 in January (usually a paper copy to the recipient/payee, while also sending the same data electronically to the IRS).

    Some companies don't request the social security number or W-9 form until earnings grow to $600 or more. The problem with this is that some unethical affiliates might create multiple accounts, using each to accrue $500 in earnings before switching to another account. The IRS won't be sympathetic to the payor's claim that they didn't know what was going on (especially if payments are made to similar names, addresses, and/or bank accounts, or if the traffic comes from the same domain or referring-URL).

  15. #15
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    What about affiliate programs based outside the US?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobugs
    What about affiliate programs based outside the US?
    Do you live in the US? If yes, then you have to report your income from networks outside the US also.

    Are you looking for real merchants to promote or just looking for programs you can "get away with" not reporting your income from.

    It is really easy to find independent affiliate programs, but most ARE going to ask for your social security number. If you don't have one, get one. If you can't get one... then you have issues we can't help you with.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  17. #17
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Mark is spot on. I would be very concerned about affiliate networks that didn't ask for your SS# or Business TIN#.
    Michael Coley
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  18. #18
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    First, I want to acknowledge that "identity theft" is a valid concern. Affiliate data has been stolen by crooks (including thefts from both LinkShare and BeFree in the late 1990's), and some of that data was sold to competitors.

    And remember that once disclosed, your SSN may remain in that database for years, long after you end your relationship with the company. Last month, I was surprised to receive a letter from a school district where I worked in 2004, informing me that their office computers (containing my personal data, including SSN) were stolen. Although the risk of misuse of that information is low, I still placed a "fraud alert" on my credit reports with the three major reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). (While doing this, I also discovered an unrelated error on my credit report, and contacted the reporting bank, which immediately acknowledged and corrected its error.)

    As a practical matter, you can reduce the risk (but never eliminate it) by only creating affiliate relationships with companies that have reasonable signs of legitimacy. I'd never give my social security number to a company that had no privacy policy, or which doesn't identify its office address or telephone number, for example. (Likewise, it's never wise to enroll in an affiliate program that "sounds too good to be true," because it probably isn't. I'd also never share my SSN with a company located in a "tax haven" jurisdiction, including several tiny Caribbean nations.)

    Next, to answer the new question: Companies outside the US that lack sufficient "nexus" with the US would probably not be required to collect taxpayer ID numbers nor to report payments to the IRS. However, if such a company failed to pay you, you'd have no effective recourse against them -- certainly not US courts.

    And as noted by others, "US persons" are still obligated to report and pay US income tax on all income, whether or not a 1099 is filed. (The IRS is getting much more aggressive about pursuing tax cheats who receive payments via PayPal and other third-party payment systems. Of course, if payments are deposited into your checking account, you'd be especially foolish not to report that income.)

    I would also expect that an active affiliate who received multiple 1099s but reported zero additional revenue could trigger an "audit alarm." (Of course, "revenue" is not the same as "taxable income," since affiliates incur a wide range of business expenses that are deductible -- but in most situations, you need to report them to deduct them.)

    Of course, there are may valid reasons to do business with "non-US companies." Certainly, you may have a web site that draws substantial non-US traffic which you want to monetize, or your site may be about stuff that is often bought from companies outside the USA, who may have a direct affiliate program or may choose to use an affiliate network based in the UK or Australia (for example).

    But beware: it's possible that you may be subject to another country's tax reporting and filing requirements if you earn more than a certain amount from a company in that country. And don't assume that you can always evade those requirements, since the USA has tax treaties with many countries around the world, providing for mutual cooperation in enforcing tax laws.

    Finally, tax cheats are vulnerable to an "audit cascade" if a single participant in a string of tax cheating is caught. Imagine what would happen if you failed to report affiliate earnings from the XYZ affiliate network, which never filed 1099s, and which also never received 1099s from some of the merchants whom it received payments from -- and then one of those merchants is audited (perhaps for failing to pay payroll taxes). That audit will lead from the merchant to the network, who will gladly seek any available advantage by reporting what they paid you. The IRS might also identify other merchants who didn't file 1099s for their payments to that network, and then that merchant may identify other affiliate networks and direct affiliates who received payments.
    Last edited by markwelch; October 8th, 2008 at 02:21 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    Do you live in the US? If yes, then you have to report your income from networks outside the US also.

    Are you looking for real merchants to promote or just looking for programs you can "get away with" not reporting your income from.

    It is really easy to find independent affiliate programs, but most ARE going to ask for your social security number. If you don't have one, get one. If you can't get one... then you have issues we can't help you with.
    Sorry Loxly, I should have been more clear. I am not trying to get away with anything.

    The reason I asked about affiliate networks based outside the US is because I was looking into signing up with an AN from Canada and was wondering how I would report my income since they don't ask my ss# and would probably not send me a 1099 form. I believe I could report it using a 1040 form, but how would I report it to Canada ( if they require that I do )?

    THANKS ALL FOR THE GREAT INFO!

  20. #20
    Affiliate Manager FDC's Avatar
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    Ya, affiliate programs need that for tax purposes. Otherwise you can apply for a tax ID #.

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