The pitfalls of publishing in the USA

Well, after 2 attempts to apply for and get an ITIN number from the USA IRS Tax offices, I have now given up.

So far it has cost me in excess of £200 to get copies of my passport and sending registered mail to the USA.

Easy I thought, complete the W-7 form, have my passport copied (as per the IRS instructions on notarizing the copy), add a letter from my publisher. JOB DONE?

Apparently not, as I did not complete the W-7 form accurately with the exception reason. So after a lengthy chat with the IRS I got the correct information for the form. Unfortunately the notarized copy of my passport was not accepted first time round as it has to be with an approved agent OR (as informed by the IRS) by a notarized copy by the US Embassy in London. The approved Agents charge from £300 to £1500 depending on who you contact. The US Embassy charges £50 per copy.

I requested a new letter from my publisher with a new date on it, to which, they, my publishers informed me, was not necessary.

So after a trip to London and registering my new form and the requested documents I waited. Only to be informed once again that they cannot accept the documentation I sent. Apparently, they have now changed the rules to say that the ISSUING AGENT (Passport office) are the only ones who can notarize my passport. Unfortunately, I have been informed by the passport office that they no longer offer this service. I am unsure whether the IRS approved Agent list still applies, but the costs are too much for me!

My current costings getting an ITIN number, plus the stress of it all, far exceeds the royalties so far earned on my book, so I HAVE GIVEN UP!

BE WARNED THAT WHEN PUBLISHING IN THE US, EVEN IF THE PUBLISHER SAYS THEY HAVE A UNITED KINGDOM OUTLET, YOU WILL STILL NEED AN ITIN NUMBER OTHERWISE THE USA TAKES 35% IN TAX FROM ANY ROYALTIES PAID BY THE PUBLISHER. ADD THE COMMISSION TO THE PUBLISHER AND YOU CAN WORK OUT FOR YOURSELF THAT UNLESS YOU ARE SELLING LOADS OF COPIES, THE INVESTMENT TO OFFSET USA TAX IS NOT WORTH IT!

I hope this information helps others going down this route!

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