Saturday, 19 November 2011

I'm A US Taxpayer

Uncle Sam with empty treasury, 1920, by James ...
Image via Wikipedia
Of the many strange pathways that this writing thing has opened up, perhaps the strangest is that I am to become a US taxpayer. 30% of any money I make from selling the print copies of Olives on will be paid as a 'withholding tax' to Uncle Sam, because I am resident in the UAE.

As a UK resident, I could have filled in a mountain of forms and qualified for the 0% tax rate that applies across both countries,  but then I would of course be liable for UK income tax.

I must admit, the very concept took quite a lot of sinking in. I'm not terribly used to this tax malarkey, living as I do in the tax-free paradise that is the UAE. And I'm not sure I will always approve of how the US government intends to spend my money. But there's little I can do - the tax applies to any monies made on the US mainland.

Meanwhile I've found out that although will sell my book, Barnes and Noble won't. To use the company's PubIt! service (to upload books to B&N), you must have a valid US bank account, credit card, tax ID and address. That's pretty comprehensive, then.

I am increasingly furstrated at how US-centric this online bookery business is - particularly at refusing to sell copies of my book to people logging in from the Middle East. It's something of a puzzle to me as I specifically opened up international rights to the book when I uploaded it - I had always assumed that Amazon won't sell to the region because publishers haven't granted rights, but in my case I have specifically allowed for international rights so there's no earthly reason, other than an arbitrary restriction imposed by Amazon, why the book shouldn't be available to Middle East readers.
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