Sunday, June 19, 2011

US Tax On UK Authors Part III: What to do When You Get Your EIN (or ITIN) Number

My ITIN number finally came through from the US last week.

This is my personal tax ID for the USA tax department (the IRS) which now has me on its books as an author earning royalties.  It took about 2 months. I'll now soon be exempt from the 30% deduction on my US royalties at source made by Amazon and Smashwords.

I wrote about how to fill out the form W-7 (Get here) and jump the fiddlesome hoops to get your number back in February.

UPDATE 8 JAN 2012: You no longer need an ITIN number! An EIN number, (Employer Identity Number) is much easier to get hold of and can be obtained from the US embassy over the phone.

The next thing is to fill out another form, W-8BEN, and send it to the retailers. Kdp (Amazon Digital) request it's filled out in physical (wet ink) ink. As the letter from the US guarantor had to be signed in BLUE ink (as opposed to our officialdom black ink), to be safe I filled this one out in blue ink too. You have to write in the exact words in exactly the right places requested  (eg United Kingdom, not UK) or it'll be rejected. Amazon makes this easy by linking to a sample download PDF which you can get here.

Then, for your Amazon Kindle sales, send the form to:

Amazon Digital Services
Attn: Vendor Maintenance
PO Box 80683
Seattle, WA 98108-0683

Send another original form in wet ink to Smashwords if you sell there. They have an additional instruction:

"Include your Smashwords screen name or email address on line 8 of your W8-BEN form."

Their address is:

Smashwords, Inc.
Attention Tax Compliance Dept.
15951 Los Gatos Blvd., Ste 16
Los Gatos, CA 95032

My third and final form went to CreateSpace, linked to Amazon but a separate company which needs a form:

CreateSpace Accounts Payable
8329 West Sunset Road
Suite 200 

Las Vegas,
NV 89113

In 2 or 3 weeks' time I'll email them all to see if everything's going through. Update: 1 week later and Amazon have emailed to say they've received it. Phew. Now expecting a back-tax refund on the next cheque.


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