How to Get an EIN and Complete Amazon’s Tax Questionnaire
Like many of you I got an email from Amazon recently :
“In order for Amazon to comply with U.S. tax reporting regulations, it is required that all KDP publishers provide valid taxpayer identification. Our records are showing we haven’t received valid tax information for your account yet. To ensure you may continue selling on Amazon, please complete your tax information by 10/25/2013.”
I have been intending to look into withholding tax for some time, but just never seemed to get round to it. Actually I have ‘a round-
tuit’ as my Husband bought me ‘a round-tuit’ mug for Christmas still it was not a priority as my book sales have always been mainly in the UK. Like a lot of writer’s procrastination seems to come with the gig, but now every time I log into my Amazon account I see the banner telling me my tax information is incomplete. So I decided that it was time to take the plunge and this is what happened.
So How Do You Complete Amazon’s Tax Questionnaire?
First Get Your EIN – Here’s How:
Using Skype and the hands free from my Blackberry, I phoned:
US 1 267 941 1099
You will get the normal press this button, and at the time of writing this it was 1 for non-US citizens requiring an EIN. (Employer Identification Number)
Remember you are calling across the pond, I tried once on Labour Day and once in the morning – not sure what time they open but 2pm worked on the third try.
Be prepared for a wait, I was on hold for about fifteen minutes but then it was easy, this is what I got asked:
Q: Are you applying for an EIN?
Q: She then asked me the dreaded do you have a form SS-4 filled out?
A: Everywhere I have looked tells you that if they ask this question hang up and try again, having just been on hold for fifteen minutes I decided to say – Yes.
The lady just said okay let’s go through it.
Hugh Phew form this side of the phone.
Q: She asked me what it was for?
A: With-holding tax for eBooks.
I was then asked three questions one of which was US tax – answer no. The others were all un-applicable something about heavy goods? Just answer no.
Just Give Them Your Tax Details to Get Your EIN
Next just give your details. If you are an individual tell them you are a sole proprietor and use your name as the company name. I did this but also used my publishing company, but there is no need to complicate this, you are an individual use your own name.
You will have to deal with any tax due, in your own country, for me the UK. If you are making any profits then it is no longer a hobby and you will need to use self-assessment to inform the UK Inland Revenue of you profits, but this is a different post altogether.
You will need to be prepared to spell out, name, address, etc and wait for the operator to spell it all back to you. My operator was great but it was really strange hearing United Kingdom spelt out.
She will then give you your EIN. Write it down and confirm it, then write it somewhere safe, post it to yourself and make a few hundred copies in safe places so you won’t lose it.
Now go back to Amazon or other online retailers and let them know your shiny new EIN.
This was so simple and took about twenty minutes and only eight months of procrastination.
Filling in Your Amazon Tax Questionnaire
For Amazon you can now complete your W8-BEN online. Log into you Amazon bookshelf and click on the box to complete your tax information. There is a link to a help page open this in another window, just in case you need to refer to anything.
The form is pretty self explanatory, the only difficult parts I found were it asked for a TIN – this is simply your EIN without the dash.
Keep filling in the form and press continue to advance each page.
You will come to a question Do you derive the income from which you can claim treaty benefits? This is your royalty income with Amazon and yes you do, so tick yes.
It will then tell you that your withholding tax rate is 0%. Woo Hoo.
Next it will show you your W8 – just review all the information to make sure it is correct then click continue, this takes you to the next page where you can electronically sign and submit it to Amazon. Type in your name and on the drop down box click individual – unless of course you are a company, but you got that didn’t you.
Now print out a copy of your W8 and go celebrate with whatever floats your boat.