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WEM
06-10-2013, 02:53 PM
Does anyone have any experience of self-publishing eBooks in the UK?
I'm thinking of taking the plunge and wondered where the best place is to go. At the moment, it looks like Amazon. There's also the issue of USA-based organisations having to withhold 30% for the IRS has anyone tried to get exemption? And if you can get exemption, does that mean you have to pay UK VAT (20%)?
All advice welcome.
Cheers,

girlyswot
06-10-2013, 03:36 PM
Yes, I do.

I use Amazon and Smashwords. You can't publish directly to B&N without a US credit card/address, but Smashwords will put it there for you. Also to Apple, Sony and Kobo, the last of which is particularly important in the UK because it is effectively the ebook seller for WHSmith. I have looked at Waterstones but it's always seemed a lot of hassle so I haven't bothered.

Pretty sure you only have to pay VAT if your turnover exceeds a set figure. 79,000, I think. It's probably not something you have to worry about just yet. Though I am neither a lawyer nor an accountant. Check for yourself.

You'll need an ITIN to get over the withholding issue. I'm lucky - I worked in the US a few years ago and already had an SSN so I haven't had to go through the process of getting an ITIN. Plenty of people have though.

Judy Koot
06-10-2013, 04:04 PM
First off, I'm a beginning self-publisher, so not a veteran expert or anything, but I did my research, and here's what I know:

For the IRS stuff, check out this link (according to this article you don't need to have an ITIN; an EIN will suffice and seems to be a lot easier to get): Non-US self-publisher tax issues don't need to be taxing (http://catherineryanhoward.com/2012/02/24/non-us-self-publisher-tax-issues-dont-need-to-be-taxing/).

Amazon seems to be one of the biggest platforms (it's the biggest online retailer in the world), Smashwords is another one. There are some others as well, also some where you don't need to have an EIN, like Kobo and Xinxii.
I wrote a long blog post about it recently (also about other stuff that's useful for beginning self-publishers), if you like, check out my website (in the signature).

As for the VAT, I thought it would be automatically withheld by Amazon and other platforms, and after that you get your royalties. I thought you only had to pay VAT when you sell your books through your own website.
You probably will have to pay other (income) taxes to your government, at least, that's how it works where I live (which is in the Netherlands). Here, VAT and income taxes are two separate things.
Also, I don't know if you're an entrepeneur yet and how it works in the UK, but here, if you're going to earn (decent) money as a freelance writer, you need to become an entrepeneur or a one man business, so you might need to look into that.

Further, you might want to follow some of the self-publishing journey threads (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=225332) for interesting information, and ask some of your questions there: for example Mme Guillotine's thread (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=247534) (she's a self-published writer based in the UK).

Good luck!

Old Hack
06-10-2013, 04:38 PM
We have a useful thread about obtaining an ITTN (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=268573) in our Publishing Resources room.

WEM
06-10-2013, 10:22 PM
Thanks guys for your advice. I think I'll try Amazon first as people seem to make most sales through them. Then I'll branch out further. Thanks for all the links as well. Judy Koot - VAT and taxation rules seems to be fairly harmonised across Europe. The system in the UK is the same - VAT and income tax are separate things. I run a separate business that is VAT registered. I did notice that in Amazon's small print, their European sales are done through Luxembourg, where VAT is only 3% ...

Anyway, thanks again and I'll check out those links.

Polenth
06-10-2013, 10:51 PM
My recent ITIN advice is at the link Old Hack posted. I followed the instructions in the CreateSpace help and used the letter they provided. You can use the same ITIN for all the US places where you'll be earning royalties.

Do make sure you register that you're self-employed (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/selfemployed/) and sort what you're doing with NI contributions.

The ITIN has nothing to do with the UK VAT system. You ought to check with an accountant if you get near the threshold, but as a general comment, Amazon is the retailer. Amazon has to deal with charging VAT and paying it, not you. You only get into complications if you sell to customers directly. Also, it's for ebooks only. Print books have a 0% rate.

WEM
06-11-2013, 12:44 PM
...
Do make sure you register that you're self-employed (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/selfemployed/) and sort what you're doing with NI contributions.

The ITIN has nothing to do with the UK VAT system. You ought to check with an accountant if you get near the threshold, but as a general comment, Amazon is the retailer. Amazon has to deal with charging VAT and paying it, not you. You only get into complications if you sell to customers directly. Also, it's for ebooks only. Print books have a 0% rate.
Thanks Polenth.
I am already registered self-employed through my other business, so at least i don't have to jump through that hoop. I also have an accountant, so I'll run it all by him.
Good point about the VAT. Thanks,