Well, this task so far has taken a frustrating three months to try and sort out.
As an Indie author, I upload my books to the various book sites in order to sell my work.
For the past three months, I've been trying to sort out my tax number with the IRS, so I can claim the 30% with-holding tax back on the money I've earned in 2011.
I had my W-7 form verified by my notaire and sent it off along with a copy of my passport to the US Embassy in Paris. Three months later, the day after Boxing Day, I received a letter from Austin Texas telling me to resubmit the form and to get another verified copy of my passport, plus now I have to attach an apostille as part of the Hague convention.
I made an appointment with my notaire again, only to be told that she can't sign or verify it, and that I have to travel 2 hours to get it authorised!
Are you kidding me?
Also in the letter from Austin they told me that unless my form reaches them by the 17th January 2012 yet another form would have to be submitted.
Then to crown it all, Amazon say in their terms and conditions that the W-8BEN form that we have to send after we've obtained our ITIN number had to be in by 31st December 2011, otherwise the tax that was with-held that year would not be paid out!
I've had to contend with this on top of the fact that as a non-US writer I have to cash my cheques from Amazon(as they don't pay by EFT) at my bank and each time they take 32 euros from me. But what really gets my back up is that US writers can have an EFT payment made to their bank account and DON'T get any tax stopped by the UK government.
Isn't that discrimination?
Come on Amazon and the IRS give an author a helping hand, will you?
All we want to do is write for goodness sake, and I thought France was supposed to be a bureaucratic nightmare, er not compared you lot it isn't.
Added 5th January 2012.
I've just had to battle horrendous wind and rain and travel 200kms to get my passport verified. Went to the Court of Appeal and they told us we had to go to the Mayor to get the copy of the passport confirmed. Then we had to go back to the Court to get the Apostille signed and stamped. The lady wanted to post it to me but I stood my ground and asked her to do it there and then, thankfully she agreed.
It cost me another 7 euros to post the letter to the States as it has to be there before 17th January. Let's hope this is the end of it now! ;-(