Foreign Authors wishing to publish on Amazon. Read this, it’ll save you a lot of time.


IRS Form W-8BEN

Image via Wikipedia

This post is for Foreign Authors wishing to publish on Amazon; the complete lowdown on how to get a US TIN (Tax Identification Number) and file a W8-BEN.

Below is what it says on DTP Amazon:

2. I am a foreign resident in a country with a U.S. tax treaty and have provided a Form W8-BEN, but the W8-BEN does not provide a valid U.S. TIN. Will taxes be withheld at the applicable treaty rate?
NO. Taxes will be withheld at the 30% standard rate because a valid U.S. TIN on your form W8-BEN is a prerequisite to obtaining a reduced treaty withholding rate under applicable U.S. tax law.

O.K. That’s me. So I need a W8-BEN and a TIN right?

NO!

Read on it’s not much more complicated – you need w8-BEN, an ITIN and a W-7.

This guide will help you.

First check that your country of residence has a tax treaty with the US (IRS). You can get that information from the IRS web site. If your country doesn’t have a tax treaty then I suggest you sell through Amazon UK which doesn’t withhold taxes at source or Smashwords. But Amazon is the dominant distribution channel in the ebook space, and Amazon US is a lot bigger in terms of market than Amazon UK. So if your country does have a tax treaty and item 2 above applies to you then read on.

The first form you need is a W8-BEN. You can download it here. I highly recommend that you read the instructions for filling out the form, because in there you’ll find out you also need an ITIN.  What does a form W8-BEN do?

  • Establish that you are not a U.S. person;
  • Claim that you are the beneficial owner of the income for which Form W-8BEN is being provided or a partner in a partnership subject to section 1446; and
  • If applicable, claim a reduced rate of, or exemption from, withholding as a resident of a foreign country with which the United States has an income tax treaty.

To get an ITIN you need a Form W-7 (I swear I am not making this up). WTF is an ITIN! It’s an Individual Tax Identification number. What does an ITIN do?

  • If you do not have a SSN and are not eligible to obtain a SSN, but you have a requirement to furnish a federal tax identification number or file a federal income tax return, you must apply for an ITIN.

Got it?

A list of Acceptance Agents and Authorized offices that can accept documents for ITIN are the IRS website.

In Summary

  1. Download forms W-7 and W8-BEN
  2. Fill in form W-7.
  3. Take Form 7 and your passport along to an Authorized Agent. or mail them to: Internal Revenue Service, Austin Service Center ITIN Operation P.O. Box 149342 Austin, TX 78714-934
  4. Wait for 4-6 weeks
  5. When you have received your ITIN number fill out form W8-BEN (HEY Wake up we’re almost done).
  6. Mail the forms to Amazon.
  7. You’re done – you just saved 30% of your income

Now I’m going to drink a snifter of Cognac and smoke a large cigar. Bureaucrazy and Taxes have that effect on me…

Advertisements

About Simon Royle

Thinking about the future, and how to affect positive change for that future.
This entry was posted in Publishing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s