****Update October 2014 – Read Me!****
From the Amazon KDP Tax Interview guide, October 2014:
“If you are claiming a reduced rate of withholding tax under an income tax treaty and do not have a U.S. TIN, provide your foreign (non-U.S.) income tax identification number to receive treaty benefits. This number is issued by your local tax authority or government for income tax purposes.”
That’s right, folks. Now – thanks to changes in something called FATCA (thanks Marcela of Beyond Frontiers Tax for the heads up!) – you only need the tax identification number from your own country to avail of any tax treaty benefits that may exist between your country of residence and the United States. This, for example, is an NI number in the UK and a PPS number in Ireland. This means you will know never know the horror of obtaining an ITIN or the suspicious ease of getting an EIN, but can simply go straight to Amazon KDP, Createspace, Smashwords, etc. and complete your tax interview with information you already have.
If you don’t have a tax identification number for some reason (some countries only give them to individuals who have been employed, for example), you DO need to get an ITIN or an EIN.
If you have past withholdings that you believe you are entitled to get back, you will have to file a US tax return and for this you DO need an ITIN or EIN.
I’m leaving the original post below but you don’t need it unless you’re hellbent on getting an EIN.
Click here for information on filling out the Amazon KDP tax interview with EITHER an ITIN or your own tax identification number. (They won’t take EINs, but you don’t need to enter it if you have your own tax identification number and your country has a tax treaty with the US.)
****** The tax interview = W8-BEN. If you can do an online tax interview, you DON’T NEED to submit a physical W8 because the WHOLE POINT of the tax interview is to generate a W8 for you that you sign electronically and submit by clicking a button. *******
A word of caution: I’ve never in my life encountered a process that is so gleefully and needlessly overcomplicated by people. It was straightforward before, now it’s downright simple. How about we all act accordingly, eh?