I'm based in the UK and the vast majority of my sales are from Amazon.co.uk. I've not been paid any royalties yet as I only published the book in April.
What I'm not sure about is whether I need to fill in a W-8BEN form to avoid paying US taxes? Obviously I need to to avoid taxes on the tiny number of sales I've made on the .com site, but I'm not sure whether US tax would be applied to my UK sales?
I hope not, otherwise I've lost a fair bit of money so far, unless there's some way to claim it back later?
It's no trouble to fill in the W-8BEN, I found. You just call the IRS (US tax authority) and ask for an EIN number, they take some basic details then give you your EIN number, you fill in the form (which you can download from Amazon) and post it to Amazon.
You only need the W-8BEN form for any sales from the .com side (from what I've read).
You will not be subject to US tax on sales from .co.uk, .de etc
It is an easy process to follow. There is a thread somewhere showing how to do it. The lady I spoke to at the IRS was really nice, but they do spell everything back at you so make sure you have around 30 minutes for the phone call.
Also, remember you are ringing Pennsylvania which is around 5 to 6 hours behind UK time so ring in the afternoon UK time. (Give them a chance to get their first cup of coffee!)
The form itself is easyish to fill in, but if you want any help, give us a shout and I can send you a mock up of mine.
If you are going to publish through smashwords as well, you will need to fill in a seperate form, but you keep the same EIN number.
Make your life easy. Get the EIN, fill out the W8-BEN and submit it to Amazon. This will take you one day and you'll be completely done, forever.
If you don't. you will have to do all these:
*file a tax return next year to get the tax back, I am sure you have better use of your money than have it sitting in the IRS reserves.
*apply for and get an ITIN (you do this at the same time of filing) which will take months and carries a high probability of getting rejected (just look at the numerous threads on the subject.
*once you clear all IRS processing, they will send you a check in US dollars which you may have problems cashing.