Things just got serious

1 August 2011 15:00

Have you ever been excited about receiving a letter from the IRS? I’m sure a lot of Americans reading this post will instantly respond "No!", but in my case the answer is most definitely "Yes!". Regular readers of this site know I intend to e-publish my novel Revenant Rising (and any other book I may write for the foreseeable future), and the most common venues for this are Kindle Direct Publishing, BN’s Pubit and services such as Smashwords. While all of these are excellent venues* for me to get my books "out there", these are American companies. Of course, having an American company sell my books is fine with me, except that any royalties I receive would be taxed both in the United States and in the Netherlands. The good news is that there is a tax treaty between the United States and the Netherlands, so I can get an exemption. The bad news was the amount of paperwork required.

For those unfamiliar with the procedure, to avoid double taxation you need to fill out a W8-BEN form and send it to the company that pays you royalties. This form is fairly straightforward, but requires the person filling it out to have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). To get such a number, you need to request one with the IRS (using form W7), which requires a whole stack of paper to be sent along with it.

Last saturday, I received a letter from the IRS that my ITIN request had been granted, so I can now proceed with filling out my W8-BEN forms.

Now, one might wonder why a few pieces of paperwork have gotten me so excited, but I’ve been using my lack of ITIN as an excuse to slow down my writing for weeks. Now that I am one step closer to publishing my work, my motivation is soaring. I’ve already decided I’ll make no further proofreading copies, and I intend to finish editing around the time my cover should be completed.

So, as the title says, things just got serious.

  • It seems that Barnes and Noble haven’t quite realized there are other countries besides the United States with regard to e-books. The Nook is only available in the United States, and the Pubit site makes no mention of international accounts with regard to e-publishing.