Friday, September 27, 2013

How to obtain your EIN from the IRS so you can self-publish your print and e-books with Amazon and Smashwords

So I finally bit the bullet and called the IRS for my EIN [read about it here] , that's an employer identification number, and while it was all fairly simple, I am still nerve-wracked by it.


Because I had to do it via Skype and there were rumours that the IRS refused people who called via Skype unless you had a headset on. Thankfully I had bought one last year for $10 from Kmart and it worked brilliantly! Plus, he never even asked how I was calling!

Second, some people have reported that the IRS refused people EINs over the phone and many have had bad experiences doing it.


However, here is what happened with my call.

1 - I called this number 1 267 941 1099 [IRS website here]. Call this EXACT number AS IS if calling via Skype to the IRS. You don't need to add any area code in front of it, it works EXACTLY as is. I called at 7:10 am Aus time which made it late afternoon their time. The IRS is only open between 7am and 7pm their time so you will need to calculate between your time zone and theirs. Here's the link for the IRS page.

2 - The number for an EIN is now 1. For an EIN it has been reported that it was 2, and then 3. It is now number 1 that you press for an EIN.

3 - The person who answered my call introduced himself, gave his IRS number and then asked me what I was calling for. I said "I'm calling to obtain an EIN for a foreign entity." I spoke clearly and slowly. He then asked many questions.

I had a copy of the SS4 form up on my pc so I could follow along; however I became confused doing so as he never mentioned ANYTHING about a SS4 form.

4 - He asked, and after going back over the SS4 form it is as follows -

Q1 - Name (you tell them your own name). You will need to say it clearly and loudly. You will also need to spell it for them.

Q2 - Trade name - I just said it was in my name so, my name, he had no problems with that.

Q3 was not asked

Q4 - 5B - Name, address, phone number (Q6 is an automatic fill in for them since it's the same country). Again, speak clearly and loudly and spell it.

Q7A - 7B was not asked although he did ask me if I had a SSN (US Social Security number) and I said no.

Q8A - he asked me if my company was an LLC, I said no.

Q9A - Type of entity - Sole proprietor

Q9B was not asked as it was not needed for me.

Q10 - Reason for applying - ALWAYS say compliance with IRS holding regulations.

Q11 - He asked me when I started and then told me this question did not even matter. I told him I published in June last year and was only getting around to this now. He didn't care.

Q12 was not asked

Q13 - Highest number of employees, ZERO just me

Q14 - Q15 was not asked

Q16 - Check one box that best describes the principal activity of your business - I'm not sure if these questions came under this but he asked me if - my company had to do with gambling, trucking, or I needed a 720 form. I said NO to all of the above. He did ask me what my business was for/what are you selling, or something to that effect and I said e-Books and print books. So I think that may come under "other" for Q16.

Q17 - Q18 was not asked.

And that's it!

Once all of that is done, they repeat your name, address and phone number back to you so if there is anything wrong it can be fixed. They give you your EIN number and you repeat it back to them. The IRS will also tell you they will send a notice to you in two-three weeks and tell you to make copies.

So, I spent about 8 minutes on hold and 17:45 minutes in total. I bought a Skype subscription for $4.47 for 60 minutes to the US. I also added the $8 credit just in case. I didn't need it. I not only have 42 minutes left I also have that $8 left to spend as well.

Now, good news for Kindle uploaders. Once you have your EIN, go to your Kindle dashboard and fill in the Tax Interview that's there. It will replace having to send a W8BEN to them. That's right, no more W8BENs for Kindle, huzzah! 

You also go to your Smashwords dashboard and fill in the info there, then send your W8BEN to - (address as of 27 Sep 2013)

Smashwords Inc
Attn: Tax Compliance Dept
PO Box 11817
Bainbridge Island, WA
USA 98110

You will still need to send one to CreateSpace as well - (address as of 27 Sep 2013)

c/o AP Tax
PO Box 80683
Seattle, WA 

So, there you have it, how to obtain your EIN from the IRS. It's nerve-wracking, it's nail biting, it's something many of us put off month after month and year after year. And after trying to get my ITIN last year and all the hassle I had to go through, this was all relatively easy.

1 comment:

  1. I'm totally going to be scouring your blog when the time comes for me to think about all this stuff!


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