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How not to pay US tax: my experience

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Offline LexiRevellian Reading A book which I have forgotten to add here
22 Feb 2012, 02:14 PM | Post: #1

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How not to pay US tax: my experience

This post was last modified: 22 Feb 2012 02:33 PM by LexiRevellian.
I've started this thread for any author who is thinking about applying to the IRS to avoid Amazon retaining 30% tax on American book sales.

I had such good sales with my recent Remix promotion that Amazon will be withholding about $2,000 in US tax. This galvanized me into action. This morning I visited the American Embassy in London. I took with me:

I took lots of other stuff - a blue pen, printouts of my sales, my Citibank dollar chequebook, a UK tax letter, two paperbacks in case of queues, but needed none of them. After going through various checkpoints, a nice chap copied my passport, stamped it, my letter and form, and told me I should receive a certificate in due course, which could be several months. When I have it I send it with Form W-8BEN to Amazon.

And that was it. I've been putting off getting started with this as I've read so many horror stories about how next-to-impossible it is to get an ITIN. Of course, I'm not there yet, but I feel optimistic at having accomplished the first step. And I bought myself a fabulous pair of black suede biker boots in Debenhams' sale on the way back.

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Offline Lou Reading Ryria Series by Michael J Sullivan
22 Feb 2012, 02:17 PM | Post: #2

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RE: How not to pay US tax: my experience

Great news Lexi - I've been dreading having to do that but sounds like a day trip to London is the way to go.

I am going to be publishing some stuff on Amazon's app store soon, so need it for that as well.
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Offline LexiRevellian Reading A book which I have forgotten to add here
22 Feb 2012, 02:19 PM | Post: #3

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RE: How not to pay US tax: my experience

Yes, I was dreading it too. I was only in there twenty minutes.

I'll update the thread once I get the certificate - or if I run into any problems.
Offline Notoriety Reading Five Days in May by Andrew Adonis
22 Feb 2012, 03:11 PM | Post: #4

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RE: How not to pay US tax: my experience

This post was last modified: 22 Feb 2012 03:12 PM by Notoriety.
(22 Feb 2012 02:14 PM)LexiRevellian Wrote:  I took lots of other stuff.... two paperbacks in case of queues....
Omg

Well done Lexi to even get started with that kind of thing. Hope it works for you. But did I read that right... missing a chance to show the embassy people your stuff on the Kindle!

Tony
Arab proverb: Only a fool lends his books and only a fool returns them.
Offline LexiRevellian Reading A book which I have forgotten to add here
22 Feb 2012, 03:20 PM | Post: #5

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RE: How not to pay US tax: my experience

I knew they take all electronic items away from you and put them in a box. Anyway, the offspring has appropriated my Kindle for her commute now she has a job. She was a bit sniffy about it before. I'll have to buy her her own.

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Offline davidwailing Reading The Atholl Expedition by Alex Roddie
22 Feb 2012, 07:23 PM | Post: #6

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RE: How not to pay US tax: my experience

Lexi, thanks very much for starting this thread. The whole US tax thing feels like the homework assignment from hell, and I know I can't put it off forever. So this is going to be a great resource for the day when I finally knuckle down to it!

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Offline Czerkawska Reading On Writing by Stephen King
22 Feb 2012, 10:53 PM | Post: #7

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RE: How not to pay US tax: my experience

Thanks so much for this! I've not quite got to that stage yet, but I'm hopeful - especially since there's a chance that my next book might appeal to that big US Polish diaspora - but I'm starting to see US sales and it's nice to know it's do-able. Plus my game designer son's small start-up company is sellling apps in the US and I don't think they've even thought about the tax implications yet!
Offline cecilia_writer Reading The Chocolate Egg Murders by David W, Robinson
23 Feb 2012, 06:41 AM | Post: #8

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RE: How not to pay US tax: my experience

Thanks Lexi for all this information.
(and what amazing sales you must have had!)
I don't have anything like this sales volume but I decided recently to start the process, knowing how long it takes me to get things done! I got as far as getting a letter from Smashwords, and then realised my passport had run out so that is another excuse for me to procrastinate - as if I needed an excuse! - but I'm going to London in late March on a work trip so am going to try to get everything together by then. It's good to know it might not take too long at the US embassy.
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Offline AnneBrooke Reading The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
23 Feb 2012, 07:31 AM | Post: #9

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RE: How not to pay US tax: my experience

Good thread, thanks, Lexi!

If anyone does want to do this, I have the definitive and very clear set of instructions given to me by a fellow-author, which has never let anyone down yet! Just PM me, and I can send the document to anyone who wishes it. It even includes the fact that you must not write "UK" anywhere on your form, but it always has to be "United Kingdom" - or they end up rejecting it.

Also, bear in mind that your first response might well be a rejection, but if you ring them up at that point and talk it through with them before resubmitting, then things tend to go okay the second time.

Anne
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Offline LexiRevellian Reading A book which I have forgotten to add here
23 Feb 2012, 07:43 AM | Post: #10

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RE: How not to pay US tax: my experience

Anne, I think I have read the instructions to which you refer, and they are so doom-laden they have to be one of the reasons so many of us are putting off dealing with this issue.

Hiding

Honestly, it's much easier than people make it sound.

Cool

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