The nightmare of taxes has begun!
In order to sign up for an Amazon account to publish books, you need a Social Security number. No big surprise there. However, for international writers – like myself – getting a Social Security number is impossible.
If a SS Number isn’t an option, Amazon asks for an ITIN or EIN.
The ITIN – or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number – is a taxpayer identification number for those that cannot get a Social Security number.
The EIN – or Employer Identification Number – serves a similar purpose, though, according to my studies, it:
“Is issued to anyone, including individuals, who have to pay withholding taxes on employees. It is also issued to entities, such as states, government agencies, corporations, limited liability companies, and any other organization that must have a number for a purpose in addition to reporting withholding tax, such as for opening a bank or brokerage account.”
My research into my tax situation led me to this brilliant article by a blog superstar named David Gaughran. It breaks down the process of getting the number to prevent Amazon from holding on to a sizeable chunk of your income.
The secret: getting an EIN instead of an ITIN.
In the comments section at the bottom of the post, there is a ton of advice on how to get the EIN number quickly and easily. Armed with the knowledge, I picked up the phone and made the dreaded call to the IRS.
10 minutes later, I was on the phone with a very nice woman whose name I forget. She was very friendly, made it incredibly easy to get the number, and I was done within 15 minutes. My EIN number was given to me on the spot, and I am ready to post my book to Amazon.
If there are any other international or non-U.S. writers out there wondering what to do about your tax situation, I urge you to follow the link above and find out more. It makes it very easy for you to get everything set up, and you’ll be done in no time. The dreaded tax problem can be put in your rear view mirror thanks to the advice you’ll find on that page.