I am having a really exhausting and frustrating time trying to sort out a number from the United States IRS (Inland Revenue Service). I need this as I had my book published with an American company, although I was assured they had a UK office, my royalties will be paid from the US and unless I have this IRS number they will take 35% of any earnings.
Having completed the forms as instructed my first attempt was rejected as I had not completed a tick box and I had sent a notarized copy of my passport (£90 thank you very much!) and apparently they wanted a certified copy. On talking to the IRS it appears that the information on their website was incorrect at the time I first applied.
Unfortunately the IRS will only accept a certified copy from one of their accepted agents or from the US Embassy. I worked my way down the list and discovered that the cost for this service can be anything from £250 up to £2,500. None of them will just certify my passport but want to offer the full service of dealing with the IRS in my stead. The US Embassy offers this service for $50, however, getting an appointment with them is another hurdle. Not to mention the additional costs of having to travel to London.
I know that once I have cracked this at least I will not have to do it again for 3 years.
Royalties are not the first thing that enters your mind during the publishing cycle, so a warning to all new authors, check this out before you decide on the right publisher for you!