Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My guide to getting your ITIN from America. Or should it be an EIN?

Now, if you're Australian and you self-publish on Smashwords, Kindle or CreateSpace, you are going to need, or want, it all depends on whether you can be bothered, to get an ITIN or EIN from the IRS in America so you can take part in the tax treaty so you can get the 30% they want to take from you.


STEP 1 - You need a W-7 form for the ITIN to apply to the IRS and then a W-8BEN form to apply to Amazon or SmashwordsSmashwords and Amazon have details on applying for an ITIN and tell you where to get them. Just visit their FAQ pages. Print out all forms and thoroughly read through them.

STEP 2 - If you have a passport, you can use this alone, otherwise you will need to use your birth certificate and driver's licence. Now, as of June 2012, the IRS have changed their rules and you no longer send notarised and Apostilled copies. You must get CERTIFIED copies from the issuing departments. Getting a birth certificate is fairly easy, but I'm still trying to figure out how to get a certified copy of my driver's licence. You can approach the American Embassy in your state or your closest one and speak to them, but you will have to send your original documents to them and the police tell us to NEVER send our driver's licence or passport ANYWHERE in the post. 

STEP 3 - Once you have your certified copies you will need to send them, along with your W-7 form, so type and print out a letter to the IRS, again with your personal details, why you need an ITIN, and all of the papers you are sending to them, plus a copy of the letter from CreateSpace, or Smashwords, stating that you self -publish with them.

If you are with Smashwords you will need to ask them to send a letter to you before you even think of sending your stuff to the IRS. But you will have to sell at least $10 worth of books before you can ask them to send you the letter stating you're selling with them. It takes about 6 weeks for that before you can send your W-7 form to the IRS. So go with Amazon if you can.

STEP 4 - Sit back and promote your books.

STEP 5 - Once you have your ITIN, if there are no issues, you will need to send your W-8BEN form to Amazon/Smashwords with a letter, again stating your details, letting them know you have it and it's official. You can also finish filling out your account details and then you can get paid!


If you are applying for an EIN, which is for individuals or businesses, then all you need to do is call them. A great blog post about that is here! Although you may need to apply for an ABN, (Australian business number), but it's free and only takes about 20 minutes.

You will need to have the ability to call America on your home or mobile phone so it will be expensive, or, you can pay some money on Skype and call them. It won't be free, even though it's Skype, and you will need a headset as they won't speak to you if you don't. Some weird reason why.

So, it's not easy, it's bloody hard and difficult, not to mention expensive if you go the ITIN route instead of the EIN.

I have given up on the ITIN now they want certified as I have no idea how to get a copy of my driver's licence and no one can tell me how. 

I may apply for an EIN since I am self-publishing I am essentially a business.

You may want to speak to a business centre in your area, they may know what to do and if you visit the BEC Centres in your area it might be free advice. Unfortunately mine is in limbo at the moment so I need to find somewhere else to get advice from, but who knows, by the end of the year I may have a business set up and have my EIN. I already have a headset ready to go.

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