This morning I was thrilled to sit down and open my email box, just as I do every morning, to discover an email from Amazon letting me know that they have finally received and are accepting my W-8BEN form! Those of you who are also authors living outside of the United States will probably know what this is. For those who don't, this form means that Amazon will no longer be taking the 30% of my royalties that they have been taking to pass onto the IRS for as long as I've been earning my income from them!
I started this process in January 2012, when I requested a headed letter from Smashwords in order to get another form sent to the IRS in order to gain my ITIN. Just this part of the process alone took ten months. Yes, TEN months. It wasn't until I was deeply into trying to get my ITIN that I discovered it probably would have been easier to simply phone up and get an EIN instead, but as by this point the IRS had my actual passport, I figured I just needed to see it through.
Forward on several months... As soon as I received my ITIN, I filled in my W-8BEN and sent copies to both Amazon and Smashwords. Neither letter reached its destination. In the new year I tried again, and sent letters to both companies, this time using the most expensive tracking money could buy. This time, both forms reached their destinations, and while Smashwords happily accepted the form and sent me an email to say that it had all been processed, I had to chase Amazon. After a few days I received an email to say that my form had been rejected due to my inserted an 'invalid country'. It seemed I had written 'Great Britain' in the address instead of United Kingdom. Very annoying. So, third time lucky, I wrote out a new form and sent it off, and ta-da, the form has been accepted! Thank goodness! This means my little family will now be up several hundred pounds each month, and while I still have to pay tax in my own country (of course), it will be a lot less than I've been paying the IRS.
In other news, yesterday I went for my 20 week scan! Yes, we did find out what sex the baby is, and no, I'm not telling. *grins* Needless to say, the baby is healthy and kicking away, so all is good. Now I'm over the hump and the time I have left to go is less than the time I have left. I'm much better at taking care of a baby than I am at growing one. So now it all feels a little more real and we're really excited to be welcoming in a new little member of our family, and I'm working my backside off in order to get all the books finished before the baby is born and I take some well deserved maternity leave.