Tuesday, 8 February 2011

London and that ITIN

Tuesday morning there were only two people in the queue at the American embassy More gunmen than visitors! I explained I wanted the IRS department and was invited into a temporary cabin and told to remove my haversack, shoulder bag, belt and put them in a tray that went through a scanner while I walked through security gates.

Luckily I didn’t beep, but I’d forgotten the battery charger in the haversack. That was hauled out, tagged and put in a drawer. (I knew I shouldn’t have a mobile or any electrical device and had off-loaded them onto my friend.)
Once inside the embassy, I was directed straight to IRS, downstairs. Once in there, I was told to get your stuff ready, ma’am. So I laid out my passport, the completed form, the letter and contract from the publisher, and waited.

That nice man declined to award the ITIN. The letter was dated 2010 and as he genially pointed out, it is now 2011. Plus which the publisher hadn’t used the correct wording in the letter. He handed me some printed instructions and tapped the appropriate paragraph. ‘Read it out.’

Embarrassment, or what? I still couldn’t see what was wrong. Evidently he wanted the whole phrase about withholding royalties cited in the letter. I asked him if the form was OK, and he filled in a section giving passport details, had me sign it and said if I got the correctly worded letter back to him within 30 days, it would go through. Longer than 30 days and I’d have to start all over again.

We’re tightening up on these people, he said, scanning the publisher contract, because there’s a lot of charlatans about. I left, promising to get the package back to him in good time. No sense in wasting a rail fare and two nights in a London Hotel £106 and then what we spent on eating and having fun as well, what with cinema and plays and art galleries and London itself, but even so, I didn’t want to fail in the primary mission!

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