How I Got My EIN – As a Non-US Amazon Kindle Book Self Publisher

This post is about my journey to getting an EIN. Watch the video and read what’s written below for the full story :)

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How To Get Your Book Royalties Paid in Full
I write and publish books for kindle on Amazon has set up a great system where you can upload your digital books and they are available for people to buy all over the world.

If you are not a US citizen and you are selling things in the USA, tax is withheld. You might have noticed this on your remittance invoices. Amazon was withholding 30% of my earnings for tax purposes.

In order to stop them from doing this,you have to prove that you are not a resident of USA and therefore not liable for tax under their rules.

You Need an EIN
How I got My EIN for AmazonYou have to have an EIN – an Employer Identification Number. Once you have this number, the tax that is withheld will be reduced to the glorious figure of 0%. That is the good news. The bad news is that information about how to do this is incredible difficult to find.

Thank goodness for the help of other bloggers, who have gone through the process and documented their journeys. Some people found it really traumatic but I was able to use bits and pieces of all the blog posts I read and the following is how I gotthis thing DONE!

Name Check To The Following Really Helpful Posts

I am not an expert in this field. This is what worked for me. If you are unsure, then you might want to get proper legal advice.

How I Got My EIN
The whole process took just under 33 minutes. Gather together everything you need and let’s do this.

How to Prepare
I suggest that you do the following things, in whatever order suits you:

# 1 – Go To The Toilet
You are going to be on the phone for a while. Make sure you make pee pee before you dial.

# 2 – Get Skype Credit
This is the first time that I have used my Skype phone. I loaded up £10 in credit because I knew that calling America could cost quite a bit, especially if I am having to hold for 20-60minutes.

The call ended up costing just 48p for 32 minutes 2 seconds. Sweet.

# 3 – Get Your Headphones if Using Skype
One of the blog posts I read mentioned that the IRS do not like to hear that people are on speaker phone so use a hand held phone or wear headphones.

# 4 – Write out Your Whole Name, Address & Telephone Number
You will be asked to spell everything out, so make sure you know how to spell everything. It will all be repeated to you so you want to be sure that the information has been taken correctly. Sounds stupid but having the information down on paper is one less thing to worry about.

# 5 – Have a List of The Acronyms Used
It can all become a bit of a blur trying to remember what it is you need and what everything means. Here’s a list of the important ones:

  • EIN – Employer Identification Number
  • SS4 – No idea what this stands for but this is the form you need to fill in to get a TIN/EIN
  • TIN – Tax Identification Number
  • ITIN – International Tax Identification Number
  • W-8BEN -The form you need to fill in to reduce the amount of tax that is withheld

My Step by Step Procedure – This Worked for Me
I have summarised the whole process, as I remember it. I was a little nervous, not knowing what to expect so here goes.

Call the IRS – telephone number is + 1 267 941 1000
Press 1
Put on hold – listening to ghastly Muzak
I waited 19 minutes before Mr Jones (really?) answered my call and gave me his ID number.

Mr Jones – What is the nature of your call
Me – I would like an EIN please Sir (nervous, me? hell yeah!)
Mr Jones – Do you have a SS4?
Me – Errrr…….. Yes
Mr Jones – Great, so lets just go through the details
(Mr Jones proceeded to ask for my full name, address, country of residence and company name)
Me – (Company name??) Errrrr…… Victoria Virgo
Mr Jones – And the reason for needing an EIN?
Me – Withholding of tax for digital books
Mr Jones – When is the EIN to start?
Me – Err……… 01.01.2012
Mr Jones – Great
He read everything back to me to make sure it was all correct.
I concurred (love that word – concur)
Mr Jones – Here is your EIN, ready?
And Mr Jones proceeded to give me my number.
Me – Thank you Mr Jones (really?), have a nice day
Mr Jones – Well you too, goodbye
Victoria hits the end call button on her computer and punches the air in happy and delirious delight.
Hurrah – I have my EIN!

Now it was time to scurry over to my Amazon KDP account to fill in the W-8BEN form. Once you log in you will find this under the Accounts tab at the top of the page. Scroll down to the Tax Information section and update the form.

The form should be pre-populated with most of your information

Where To Add Your EIN – Employer Identification Number
When filling in the W-8BEN, there is a section where it asks whether you have a TIN (Tax Identification Number), without explaining that a TIN is for a business and an EIN is for an individual.

So to the question “Do You Have a TIN?”, answer yes and the box where you can enter your EIN will magically appear, yes really, just like magic. Why is it hidden away like this? To piss us all off!, naturally.

Once entered, your tax withholding rate drops to 0%. Hurrah. The form is completed so you hit the submit button and wait for the information to be reviewed by the IRS.

I hope that this has been helpful. Once again, thank you to those who did all the hard work before me. I was procrastinating on this issue because it seem so difficult.

The next step is to fill in a form to claim taxes that have already been withheld. Wish me luck :)

Have Your Say: Have you been through the process of getting an EIN? How was it for you? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

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