S. J. Kelley

Tax withholding and owning a company

When I initially looked into self-publishing, I came to the conclusion that I would have to register a business so I could get an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS in the United States so that 30% of my earnings wouldn’t be withheld. Apparently it took a long time to get a ITIN (Individual Tax Payer Identification Number), but registering as a business made it much faster. However, upon reading several threads on KBoards, it appears that the policies have changed and now all that is needed to reduce tax withholding to 0% is an international tax identification number (if your country has a tax treaty with the US). For Canadians, this is your SIN number.

It may seem odd that I’m looking into this so early in the process, but I’m very judicious in spending my personal time and if something won’t advance my life goals, I generally shy away from it. So while I enjoy writing, I’m in large part motivated by trying to become self-employed, and taking a 30% cut or an unfair exchange would significantly impede that. Also, I have a very strong desire to stay anonymous because I prefer to just blend into the crowd; not having to set up a company means my name isn’t attached to it in public record, which is awesome. (I had looked into setting up a company anonymously, but apparently this is very shady, even though Canada ranks in the top for these ‘shell companies’).

Aside from the ease of obliterating withholding tax, I also wanted to register a company so that I could have an official-looking publisher name in the publisher field. I have yet to determine how to do this, as once again the owner of the company would have to be public record. Maybe I’ll just have to skip that part in the interest of staying a recluse 🙂 I think I’ve figured it out! Nothing strange needed to keep your privacy after all, if you’re in the right province. Thankfully, I am! But being hermit-like, I won’t go into the details 🙂 Suffice to say that hubby and I are now the proud owners of Suspension Publishing.

When our books are finally written and we have to set up a mailing list, we’ll have to rent a P.O. Box, as to be in line with spam laws we’ll have to list a mailing address. I haven’t decided yet if we’ll do a physical box, or use a virtual mail service. We’ll see.

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