3 quick and easy steps to registering for 0% US tax withholding for UK-based writers.

There are many really helpful articles about this on writers’ websites, but it can get confusing. I’ve gulped at stories of trips to the Embassy in London or parting with passports for weeks on end so I put it off, thinking my Amazon.com royalties would probably never reach the $100 threshold where they’d deduct 30% before sending me a cheque.

But that threshold was approaching and the whole complicating-sounding business was starting to worry me so I delved a bit and it turned out to be an extremely simple process. All that’s required is an EIN number and a W-8BEN form.

Regardless what you might have read, you don’t need an ITIN, or SSN. It is an EIN you want.

The whole process will only take a few minutes. Here’s what to do.

1.           

Ring the IRS in America and ask for an EIN number for the W-8BEN form. You will speak to a real person. They will give you the number over the phone.

Call 001 267 941 1099 any time after 11.00am (British summer time) or 12.00 noon (winter time).

2.           

Download, print off and fill in Form W-8BEN.

In Part I put your new EIN number in item 6) and cross the EIN box.
In Part II put a cross in a) and state United Kindom. Put a cross in b).
In item 10 write ‘zero’. After ‘specify type of income’ write author/writer. In ‘explain the reasons … ‘ write ‘British citizen & resident of the United Kingdom’.

Sign and date the form in both places where indicated in Part IV and write ‘self’ where it says ‘capacity in which acting’.

TAKE A COPY of the form for your own reference.

3.           

Post the form to:

Amazon.com
c/o Vendor Maintenance
PO Box 80683
Seattle, WA 98108-0683
USA

I wrote a letter to enclose with the form:

Dear Amazon

Re: W-8BEN form for UK resident MY NAMEXXXXX selling books through KDP on Amazon.com (using author name PEN NAMEXXXXXXX)

I enclose a completed form W-8BEN which I understand you need so that my income from KDP / Amazon.com is not taxed in the US.

I understand that, once you are in possession of this form, I will receive all income from sales of my books on Amazon.com free from US tax deduction, ie gross.

Please confirm (email xxxxxx@btinternet.com) you have received this form and that all monies due to me will be paid without any tax deducted.

Thank you for your help.

Regards

MY NAMEXXXXX

British citizen and resident of the United Kingom.

No awards for best business letter ever written but it did the trick. My letter and form were dated 11 May. I received an acknowledgement by email on 30th May:

  

Whoopeeee! Simples.

NOTE to non UK residents:
I think the same process will work for residents of any country where a Tax Treaty exists between the US and that country.
Details here: http://www.unclefed.com/ForTaxProfs/Treaties/index.html

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