Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Do I need a US Taxpayer ID before completing the paperwork?A. You will need to complete all required information before we can fully set you up in Steamworks. If you are requesting an ITIN or EIN for the purposes of tax withholding, please wait until you have the necessary ID in hand before completing the digital paperwork.
Q. Should I form a corporation?A. That is entirely up to you. Many other developers have found it to be beneficial to form a legal entity such as a corporation, but it depends on you and your situation. If in doubt, you may want to hire a lawyer to get proper legal advice on the benefits and costs of forming a legal entity. If you do plan to form a legal entity, you will need to do so before proceeding through the digital paperwork.
Q. Can I use special characters unique to my local language in completing the paperwork?A. No, do not use special characters that are unique to a language other than English.
Q. Can I complete the paperwork as a partnership?A. Yes. If your partnership is outside the US and taxed at the individual partner level, not the entity level, you will need to provide additional tax information for each partner.
Q. Can I enter an alias/nickname when I onboard?A. No. You must enter your legal first and last name when onboarding. Do not enter an alias or nickname during the onboarding process.
Q. What should I enter as my Company’s Legal Name?A. The name you enter must be the legal entity that owns or has rights to publish the game, and is the legal entity that will be signing the Steam Distribution Agreement. The company name you enter here must match the name as written on official documents with your bank and on United States IRS tax documents or foreign tax documents, if applicable.
Q. What should I enter as my Company’s Legal Name if I’m a sole proprietor?A. Do not enter your Doing Business As (“DBA”) or “friendly name” or alias/nickname. Please enter your full legal name. The name you enter here must match the name as written on official documents with your bank and on United States IRS tax documents or foreign tax documents, if applicable.
Q. Where do I change my address?A. You can change your address by clicking on the ‘View and edit company information’ from the Steamworks home page. This link is located under Tools + Links in the righthand column/frame of the page. Please contact the user who has Actual Authority rights for your organization on Steamworks (this is usually the person who completed the initial paperwork with Valve). Please note if you are changing your country of residence, you will be required to go through the tax interview again to establish your new rate of withholding tax based on your new circumstances.
Q. I changed my legal name (and banking and tax information). How do I make this change on Steamworks?A. We will have you re-onboard and create a new partner account in your new name. This will result in entering banking and tax in the new name as well. Once this is complete, we will have to send documents terminating the old company’s rights to the IP and move the games over from the old to the new company. Please use this form to contact us and provide us with the Steam account name that you wish to complete the digital paperwork.
Q. Are there certain countries/regions, entities or individuals Valve cannot do business with?A. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States. OFAC publish lists of such parties (Specially Designated National List) with whom Valve, as a US company, are prohibited from doing business with. In addition, OFAC administers trade sanctions and embargo programs against specific countries (Sanctioned Countries), such that unlicensed transactions involving those embargoed countries are prohibited or restricted. Many, but not all, of the limitations OFAC imposes are also enforced by other countries besides the US.
Valve does not do business with or otherwise engage in or facilitate transactions involving individuals or entities that are subject to sanctions or other applicable trade control restrictions. This includes, but is not limited to parties listed on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) and Foreign Sanctions Evaders (FSE) Lists maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In addition, we do not do business with or otherwise engage in or facilitate transactions with individuals or entities in Sanctioned Countries including Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria.
Q. Where can I find more information on banking info, tax withholding, or payment?A. Please see the Payments FAQ & Tax FAQ
Q. I have another question about releasing my product on Steam. Where should I go?A. We have Steamworks documentation and FAQs specifically to answer the various questions that we've had from developers in the past. Additionally, there is a Steamworks Developer group where you can ask any questions that aren't answered by the documentation. Valve employees are frequently answering questions in there, along with many other developers. It's usually the quickest way to get a response as there are many people keeping an eye on the discussions.
I have questions about using the Source Engine in my product
- If you have a Source Engine mod or game, please refer to the Source Engine on Steam FAQ.
Q. Can I release my games on Steam before I give valid bank and tax information?A. No. You will not be able to release games on Steam prior to providing us with valid banking and tax information.
Q. How do I provide Valve with the tax information needed?A. As part of the partner onboarding process, you will be provided a link to start the tax interview. The tax interview takes 5-10 minutes and will ask you a series of questions to guide you through the completion of either tax forms (W-9 or W-8BEN). You can also access the tax interview by clicking on the “View and edit company information” from the Steamworks home page.
In order to change your tax information, you will need Actual Authority rights in Steamworks Manage Users. Please contact the user who has Actual Authority rights for your organization on Steamworks (this is usually the person who completed the initial paperwork with Valve).
Q. How long will it take to verify my tax information after I submit it?A. Once you submit your tax information, it is verified with a third party service. This process may take 2-7 business days, and you may be asked to provide additional documentation. Please keep an eye out for emails requesting additional documents. You cannot make changes to your tax information until this process has been completed.
Q. What do I need to have available before taking the tax interview?A. We require all partners to provide valid tax forms to comply with U.S. tax reporting regulations. For U.S. partners (W9), your TIN is either an Employer Identification Number (EIN), or a Social Security Number (SSN). For Non-U.S. partners (W8), a U.S. TIN or a foreign TIN is required to claim treaty benefits.
Q. Why am I seeing a non-Valve URL upon clicking the link to start the tax interview?A. We use a service called TaxIdentity provided by a third-party company called Lilaham to conduct the tax interview.
Q. Can I save part way through the tax interview and continue later?A. No. You cannot save part way through as the tax interview needs to be completed within the same instance. The tax interview takes 5-10 minutes.
Q. Can I use a name different than what I provided in Company Information to take the tax interview?A. No. The tax interview needs to be in the same name as the name provided in Company Information.
Q. Why am I not getting an instant validation of my TIN?A. The TIN is validated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This process is subject to IRS database outages that can delay the process. In addition, recently issued TINs can take up to 30 days to process as the IRS has to update the database which we check against.
Q. What happens if I retake the tax interview?A. The prior tax interview will be deleted even though that tax information may have been verified and valid. The tax interview should only be retaken if there is a change in circumstance (ie. you moved to a different country) or there is additional information such as a U.S. or foreign TIN that was originally omitted.
Q. I’ve just moved. Do I need to retake the tax interview?A. If your move is within the same country as provided in the original tax interview, then you do not need to retake the tax interview. If you have moved to a different country, you will need to retake the tax interview.
Q. Why do I need to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)?A. Generally, a foreign person is subject to U.S. tax on its U.S. source income. Most types of U.S. source income received by a foreign person are subject to a U.S. tax rate of 30%. A reduced rate, including exemption, may apply if there is a tax treaty between the foreign person's country of residence and the United States. In order to exercise the benefits under the tax treaty, you will need to complete a Form W-8BEN and that requires either a foreign TIN or a US TIN. Countries that have tax treaties with the U.S. can be found here:
If your country of residence is Slovakia, you will need to provide a US TIN in completing the Form W-8BEN to claim tax treaty benefits and apply an exempt withholding rate. A foreign TIN is not sufficient.
Q. Does applying for a TIN require me to file a U.S. tax return?A. Applying for an ITIN for purposes to exercise the benefits under the tax treaty does not require you to file a U.S. tax return.
Q. What types of US TINs are there?A. For non-U.S. persons, a TIN may be an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for individuals and businesses or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for individuals only.
Q. If I’m an individual, can I choose to apply for an EIN or ITIN?A. Yes, an individual can apply for either an EIN or ITIN.
Q. How do I obtain a US TIN?A. An Employer Identification Number (EIN), for individuals (you need to indicate you are a sole proprietor) and businesses, may be obtained over the telephone by calling (267) 941-1099. This is not a toll-free number and long distance charges may apply. An EIN may also be obtained through filing “Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number” by fax which takes approximately four business days and by mail which takes approximately four weeks. More information about Form SS-4 is available on the IRS website.
Q. How long does it take for the IRS to issue an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)?A. It may take a few months or longer to obtain an ITIN.