Account set-up at CreateSpace and US tax matters

The three part novel which I referred to in my opening post is still out being read at the moment. As yet it doesn’t have a title. I’m working on that, and a synopsis at the moment.

It seemed a good point to set things in motion with regard to the self-publishing of it. This is very much a learning experience for me so it will be interesting to see whether I can do it without making a total hash of it.

Although I possess a Kindle I personally prefer reading real books and the idea of print on demand really appeals. I have therefore decided to publish it in paperback format as well as in Kindle format. To that end I created myself an account at www.createspace.com (an Amazon company) to make a paperback version available. They have tools to help you through the process or you can opt to pay them for a range of services. As I am new to this and keen to learn about the process I am going to attempt to do it by myself.

Setting up a basic account at CreateSpace was very straight forward however once I was able to log into the account there were a number of things which needed to be done to complete the set-up. I need to find out the IBAN and SWIFT codes of my bank for the account that any royalties will be paid into and I need to have a US Tax Identification Number (TIN).

The latter requirement seems to have been the cause of much confusion in self-publishers outside the US. I did a great deal of reading around this topic on the internet. There are too many accounts of experiences with this to single out any one for mention, but the general consensus appeared to be that the easiest way to get a TIN was to obtain an EIN (employer identification number) by phoning them direct (the alternative way to get an EIN is to fill in form SS-4 and post it to the IRS but that has a turn around time of about 4 weeks). Some sites suggest that an ITIN is required but that appears to be an extremely messy approach to obtaining a TIN with a requirement to see originals of certain documents, hence most author blogs suggesting the EIN route.

So, allowing for the time difference because I’m based in the UK, I rang 001-267-941-1000. Most blog entries I read said you have to wait your turn in a queue and I was no exception. I waited between 20 and 25 minutes before I finally got to speak to someone. I explained I needed to set up a TIN to allow me to self publish on Amazon and to take advantage of the tax treaty between the US and the UK. I answered the various questions. As was pointed out by other bloggers they spell everything back to you, including words like ‘United Kingdom’. I was a bit disconcerted however by the fact that the girl kept referring to me as a business.

However in less than ten minutes I had an EIN (which I will use as my TIN). I will have to wait two weeks now for it to find its way onto the IRS system, so I can’t immediately complete the set-up of my CreateSpace account. When I enter my EIN I will be directed to a form W-8BEN which I need to fill in to ensure they don’t collect tax on behalf of the IRS (more on that when I get to doing that).

Self-publishing is lot more involved than I first imagined!

Finally, on a rather morbid note, I had a thought after I had obtained the EIN. Any royalties I will hopefully earn will be paid into my bank account, but what happens if I should die? I am the registered individual for tax purposes in the US and my royalties will be paid into my personal bank account. Anyone know how to bequeath the royalties to next of kin?

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