I logged into Smashwords the other day and realised something mega cool . . . I have money! Woo! But before I can get it I need an ITIN or an EIN to ensure that the IRS don’t take 30% of my earnings (heh, that enough acronyms for ya?). Anyway, this also made me realise that there are a bunch of other things that I’ve let slide, dreaded admin that surrounds being both a self publishing author and a publisher in my own right.
EINs and ITINs!
For those of you who don’t know these are the bane of any indie publisher’s life. I’ve read buckets of blog posts about people struggling to get one of these magical numbers and fighting with the IRS, their local US Embassy, Amazon, W-8BEN forms or SS-4 forms (ARGH!) and for what?
Well . . . if anybody outside the US sells their goodies within the US, then the IRS will withhold a portion of those sales as tax. Unless . . . your country of residence has a tax treaty with them. Which the UK does (woohoo!). With the right paperwork we can reduce withheld taxes from 30% to 0% which, as numbers (hopefully) increase, will be a substantial chunk of money.
To do this, indie publishers – or any other non-resident person trading within the US – needs an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) or an EIN (Employer Identification Number).
If you follow the outlines indicated by Amazon or Smashwords then there are tonnes of forms to fill in and waiting times and back and forth and uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh! I got on the phone at 11.30am last Tuesday and had my EIN written on a piece of paper by 11.43am. So . . . it can be easy.
I called ’00 1 267 941 1099′ from my landline, hit ‘1’ to indicate I was a non-US resident, then spoke to a lovely, patient lady called ‘Mrs Smith’ who asked me a small list of questions about how I’m trading and when. She then gave me the EIN. That’s it. I can’t use it for a couple of weeks because they need to process it and ensure it’s in the system, but after that I can give it to Smashwords and finally claim Raven’s money.
Considering this is something I’ve put off for months because of how difficult it was, this whole process was startling simple. As to the ITIN? Y’dun need it. If you’re not a US citizen, you don’t want a number that says you are. No wonder people have been finding it so hard to get them.
If you want more detail on the ins and outs and backs and forth of this stuff, speak to somebody who knows about taxes. Or an accountant. I’m neither of those things and certainly can’t give advice, but this worked for me. As to the blogs I used to find this information check out:
They’ve lovely people and both posts and mega helpful, particularly Caroline’s. ^_^
As for all the other stuff . . .
I have ISBNs. I forked out for them back in 2013 when ‘Vicki & Lara’ went live and have been steadily using them for releases since then. If you visit Nielsen you’ll find Little Vamp Press there as a publisher and all the titles published through that name.
Unfortunately it wasn’t until last week that I realised that even though I’ve updated all of my info about releases subsequent to the release of ‘Vicki & Lara’ I hadn’t told Nielsen. The most important people to inform. Oops!
If I want the public, on a broader scale, to know about my releases, then I need to tell them. Their database is what major book retailers check. What libraries check. What book distributors check. If my info isn’t up to date there, I will never be found! Oops x2!
I should mention by the way, this is for publishers based in the UK as Nielsen is the distributor of UK ISBNs. For those of you in the rest of the world, a quick search across the interwebs will tell you what you need to get your hands on some tasty ISBNs for your releases.
The Write Feeling
Though I still do a little editing and critiquing, it is no longer a primary focus for me as a sole trading entity. I’m a writer and a publisher, so that is where my mind is at. I’ve finally done the final clean up and closed that website down as well as routing the DNS away form WordPress. So . . . if anybody has been trying to contact me on that email since mid March, sorry! It will work now.
It’s April now. The tax year 2014-15 is over. Fortunately for me my tax year matches that of HMRC but for five days which means it’s really easy for me to do my books (that wasn’t at all a deliberate decision :-p). I did my form filling this time last year for 2013-14 and it took 45 mins. This year, I plan to be just as speedy about it so I can get it out the way and forget about it (and be smug at all those folk still panicking about it in December/January).
Dunno if this counts as an ‘admin update’ but I’ve been keeping up with my writing fit regimen and doing lots of walking. Mainly walking so far, with the occasional stop at the park gym to do some rowing and bench lifts/presses/whatever the hell they’re called. Aside from achy feet (I’m walking for about an hour, non stop, every day bar Sundays) and worn socks I’m not seeing much difference. Guess these things take time. ^_^
So this feels like something of a ‘spring clean’ update. Which is nice. How are you guys all getting on? Real life hitting you in the knackers, or are you hitting back with a smile and a wave?