Sorting out the IRS and 30% Withholding on Royalties

I am now the proud owner of an EIN, or Employee Identification Number to you and me, and it comes to me courtesy of the United States Inland Revenue Service. I can’t tell you how much that 30% withholding on royalties has rankled over the years and I did try way back in the distant days of my early self publishing venture to see if I could get an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) but despite several months of form filling, telephone calling, visits to the US Embassy in London and notarising of official document, they sent me a polite letter say ‘sorry, can’t have one’.

The alternative then was always to process the payments through my normal accounts and have the accountant use it as a deduction against my tax bill.  I’d much rather have had it up front thank you very much.

You can imagine how surprised I was then when I came across a wonderful post on Catherine Caffeinated called Non-US Self-Publisher? Tax Issues Don’t Need to be Taxing which explained an alternative system to get hold of your very own EIN instead. I followed the advice by both Catherine and David Gaughran to the letter and despite getting a little frustrated by having to hang on the phone to Philadelphia for over an hour (I am so glad I’m not the one that will be checking the phone bill when it comes in next month ….!) I came away with it sorted, with my number in my hot little hand and a yippeee! in my throat. It comes to something when tax issues can cause you to sing, dance and shout ‘thank the lord’ and ‘praise be’.

Now, there will be many self publishers out there who are saying why bother it’s only a few pence! Well it isn’t for me, it amounts to a not insubstantial amount of money and I’d much rather be the one to declare it!

So, just in case you missed the link to this really, really useful piece of information, go here: and read it all up for yourselves; I promise that for the price of a phone call to the USA, you won’t be disappointed.

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  1. I happen to agree with you wholeheartedly, that post, was the one that literally saved my life and my tax! It was brilliant and it just goes to show how much we learn from others all the time Joanna 🙂

  2. I’m so glad that Catherine’s excellent articles are making their way around the web. I bookmarked this one when it first came out, and believe her post is THE top tip on ‘how to do the US tax thing’ for those of us who aren’t in the US.

    Kudos to you for sharing, Linda – it’s a lovely way to pay it forward. 🙂