Writing experiences

Tax Withholding on Amazon eBooks and Createspace books

When I first started out in the book world, I just pressed “publish” and hoped for the best. I didn’t have a clue about all the ins and outs. As I’ve moved along with the book world, it has moved on too. You learn something new every day . . .

I remember someone saying to me they sent their passport to America and got it sent back to them TWICE because they’d sent it to the wrong department to get either an EIN number or a ITIN so they didn’t have to pay 30% of their royalties to Amazon.com any longer. (That’s the 30% withholding rate unless you provided them with an EIN or ITIN.) The whole process seemed archaic to me. Anyway, I think it went around the houses that it was actually easier to just ring up, and keep ringing up, until one of the IRS officers (who didn’t ask too many questions or ask for more forms to be filled in) gave you a EIN code to plug into your Amazon tax information.

In the olden days, you couldn’t even do an electronic signature on Amazon so the addition of that function alone improved things vastly. Talk of W8-BENs and all that quite frankly left me feeling positively terrified of all the paperwork involved but now IT IS SO MUCH EASIER!

Back in the day, a guy friend of mine said he spent a whole morning (or afternoon possibly) on hold to the IRS, but luckily he was using Skype so hadn’t had to pay for long-distant calls.

ANYWAY, whether you have got an EIN or an ITIN now DOES NOT MATTER. I only found this out the other day so fellow authors… please read. NOW IT IS SO MUCH EASIER TO AVOID LOSING 30% OF YOUR PROFITS FROM AMAZON.COM.

After all, our country has a treaty with the US and we shouldn’t be paying extra, extra tax . . .

Anyway . . .

Here goes . . .

When you fill in your tax information on your KDP or Createspace account, and you’re asked for your (foreign i.e. non-US) income tax identification number, simply plug in your NI number. That’s it. That’s all you have to do. (In Ireland that is your PPS number.)

No more international phone calls. No more passports being sent recorded delivery or whatever. No more nonsense.

Anyone would think Amazon are finally cottoning on that self-publishing makes them a lot of money and therefore, to give back, they should make this much easier for authors . . . ?

Anyway, I hope this helps a UK or Irish author or two out there who’s maybe sitting there confused and wondering what the hell to do. You may not have even realised you were paying 30% of your US royalties to the US in tax. Anyway, if you are, it’s so easy not to!

N.B. Smashwords have not done this yet and still ask for an EIN or an ITIN. 

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