UK Authors embrace their move into independent publishing with excitement and anticipation as they leverage digital book sales, through platforms such as Amazon KDP.
For weeks, or months, you’ve slavishly devoted every waking hour to writing a book full of promise and potential.
You’ve agonised over every chapter, paragraph, sentence and word until satisfied that you can help, educate or entertain your readers, and raise your profile as a published author.
A Book Full of Promise
Your book now holds that tantilising promise of regular monthly royalties as reward.
You can even imagine yourself lazing on a warm beach sipping a long cool drink whilst writing your next book, funded by your royalties, naturally.
You hire someone, or overcome technical challenges yourself, to create a Kindle ready ebook.
You open your Amazon KDP account and you find:
- yourself faced with tax interview questions you can’t answer
- you may not be able to publish your book until you answer ‘most’ of these questions
- after answering ‘most’ questions, that – 30% – of your royalties will be withheld
- you need an Identification Number from the US – IRS, to complete the Tax Interview
- you find the Amazon Tax Interview Guide about ID numbers totally confusing
Now don’t despair – you’ll be on that warm beach soon. First, let’s take…
A Journey Through the Amazon KDP Tax Interview
This journey is for UK Authors. It takes you through opening your KDP account, if you don’t have one yet, through the tax interview questions and steps to obtaining your tax identificaition number from the IRS (US tax dept).
If your existing Amazon account shows 30% withholding follow the article instructions below for obtaining your tax ID and the video (from 3.07) for updating your kdp account information to secure 0% withholding rate..
Ring the IRS for a Tax Identification Number = ‘EIN’
I always recommend that UK authors ring the IRS directly to obtain an all important ‘EIN’ number, before completing the Amazon Tax Interview.
- That way you can whizz through the questions and submit all your details, including your tax identification number, on form W8-BEN, which will result in Amazon setting your withholding rate at – 0% – from the outset.
- Call IRS tel : 00 1-267-941-1099 (international tax dept) – (call charges may apply)
- Select computerised menu option #1 … (eg: you are located outside US)
- When you get to speak to a human being, ask them to please issue you with an EIN number.
- If necessary, explain that you’re a UK author wanting to stop 30% tax withholding on book sales – I was passed over to a ‘specialist’.
- They’ll ask for your name, address, telephone number.
- They’ll ask what type of ‘business entity’ you are : ‘sole-proprietor’, ‘company’ etc plus trading name & address (if different from your own name).
- They’ll ask a few other IRS ‘standard’ questions.
Tah Dah! They’ll issue and confirm your EIN number there and then over the phone, so write it down and keep safely. They’ll send a paper version to your postal address within 2 weeks.
Earlier Article for UK Authors
I first covered the online tax form in this earlier article, which also shows an example of a completed form W8-BEN that may help if you need to visualise how the online version should look, or if you need to send a hard copy to another publisher/company.
More useful resources for UK Authors
- IRS – Forms for Foreign Beneficial Owners
- Updated 2014 IRS W8-BEN form (pdf)
- Fake Forms and scams to watch out for – IRS info page.
Now you can start lazing on a warm beach, sipping long cool drinks, and be writing your next book without worrying about your tax status.
If you follow the above, let me know below how it went for you and do share with other UK authors if it can help them too.