Congrats on finally getting your Twitch Affiliate invite! The good news is that there aren’t that many steps between you and having bits turned on. The slightly unfortunate news is that you have to do some annoying tax forms. Let’s take a peek at those and make them a little less scary. Trust me, they’re not that bad at all. The entire process took me about 15 minutes. With this guide it shouldn’t take you much longer than that!
What do I need to have before starting?
Not much! Everyone will need their name, birth date, address, and some information about their stream. If you’re in the US then you’ll need your Social Security Number (SSN) or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). If you’re outside of the US you’ll need to provide whatever number it is that your country uses to identify you for tax purposes. For instance, in Canada it’s your Social Insurance Number. If your country doesn’t have a number like that you’ll need to fill out an IRS form to get a TIN.
Luckily, you don’t need a ton of information about your stream to get through this process. You need to know what type of business you are and the name you’re using. Not that bad, huh?
Top tips for the tax interview
- If you’re non-US then you might also need to fill out a W-8 or IRS form 8233 to get verified. This form helps you avoid an automatic 30% tax withholding on income earned from US companies. The IRS instructions are here for the W-8 and this is a handy guide for the form 8233. It takes a couple of extra steps for you since Twitch is an American company. It will ask for most of the same information you’ll need for the tax interview anyways.
- You’re most likely a sole proprietorship or individual. There are a couple of places in the form that ask for your federal tax classification. You wouldn’t be one of those only if you legally filed for another type of business. Those could be corporations, LLC’s, or partnerships. In this case a partnership doesn’t mean Twitch partner it means you’ve legally formed a partnership with another person as a business.
- You probably don’t have or need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) so don’t worry about it. That’s the number that you’d need to get if you had a paid employee.
- The W-9 is the standard form the IRS has businesses collect for people they’re paying who aren’t employees. Twitch isn’t asking you to do anything weird or out of the ordinary by requiring it because they’re required to do it!
- You don’t really need to worry about the checkboxes they make you check for this form. For the second checkbox, companies are required to withhold 28% of what they pay you unless you’re exempt. Being a US citizen and properly filing the W-9 (this form) will exempt you. If you’re a non-resident alien (means non-US and doesn’t live in the US) then you’ll have to look at those forms I mentioned earlier (W-8 and 8233). It’s just there to make sure the IRS gets paid.
- If you later discover that you did something incorrectly you can re-take the interview without a penalty. I’m not saying you should be cavalier about it but it’s good to know that not everything is riding on getting it right the first time.
Ok, so what are you going to do with your newfound affiliate power? If your stream’s as small as mine then it’s not going to be some major windfall, but it’s still great to get the recognition. My basic goal is to turn the bits I earn into bits I can use on others, therefore creating an endless stream of bits. If you’ve got questions on this form that you think we can help with leave a comment below!