I won’t go on at length, because my blog is “niche” enough already, but I have been dreading signing up to self-publish on CreateSpace (an Amazon company) because I’d heard that they withhold tax at a rate of 30% for foreign people. (Apparently, Canada is foreign.)
There is a way around this, CreateSpace will tell you. First, you need to get an officially certified copy of your passport, which is not the same as a notarized copy because it will cost you a lot more. Then, you submit them (or the original passport – ha ha ha) with a bunch of other paperwork, including a letter from your prospective “employer”, to the IRS to eventually, someday, get an ITIN – taxpayer identification number. You can do this the slow-boat way by mail or submit it – for another fee – to a certified “receiver” company in your foreign location. Either way, once you have your ITIN, you just submit a form to CreateSpace telling them not to keep your money or give it to the IRS… simple.
Anyway, that was the process I was dreading. And I put it off and put it off and put it off… until I finally, deciding not to put it off any longer, serendipitously came across this blog post which offers step-by-step instructions to make it truly easy, thanks to the Employer Identification Number (EIN). One ten-minute call to the IRS later, I was all set with my taxpayer identification number. (Well, ten minutes AFTER the one-hour hold time because I picked a Monday morning to call – the good news was the call was free because I used Google, and I just walked around with my cordless headphones and did other stuff while I waited.)
I still have to send the form in to CreateSpace telling them not to keep my money. The rate for Canadians is 0%, which is great (more for me!), but when we move to Israel, I will need to submit another form with my current address, and I suspect the rate is 10 or 15% (the rate is determined by pre-existing tax treaties between governments). Whatever it is, it’s still better than 30%.
Naomi Rivka is out delivering the form to the mailbox now. So now I’m all set! In about 2 weeks, they’ll have it and hopefully, someday, I will “tip” over the royalty threshold and will actually get a cheque. Oops… I mean, a check.