Amazon accounting problem

Let’s face it. Amazon is a gorilla. It’s hairy and scary. Especially scary if you are an author selling books through Amazon.

Why?

They can’t keep the IRS tax withholding information straight.

amazon accounting

Back in early 2011 I joined the Amazon KDP program, published a couple of ebooks through them, then mailed the IRS withholding form to Amazon. In the summer/fall – I can’t remember the precise date – I checked my account and saw Amazon had received my IRS form and that the withholding tax was now 0%.

Earlier this year I got tired of waiting for money from Amazon and switched to their Direct Deposit. I had looked at my sales records and saw that I easily exceeded their minimum requirement for sales in the US to be granted Direct Deposit.

After waiting patiently for my royalties to appear in my bank, and finding nothing, I contacted Amazon who graciously granted my request for funds even though I didn’t meet the minimum requirements for some of the countries. Yeah. I got one 99 cent picture ebook for children offered through Amazon in Latvia, Italy, Ukraine, or the moon. I don’t publish more than 1/2 my ebooks on Amazon because of their low royalty rates and publish my fee-based ebooks only in the US, India, and UK.

But back to Amazon’s financial fiddling.

Finally I get a DD from Amazon for the US sales. Guess What? Yup. Amazon withheld 30% for IRS withholding tax.

To recap, Amazon has had my IRS exempt form for two years, it shows on their own site the withholding amount for my account is 0%, yet Amazon retained 30% as withholding tax when they sent me my DD royalty payment. What a brain trust.

What a way to run a business. It’s a piddly little amount of withholding tax, certainly not enough to go on a cruise. But it is my money and I’d like it. Now.

The one good thing is I have less than 1/2 my ebooks published through Amazon. I’d hate like heck to have all my ebooks on their sites if this is the way they run their business.

Authors, if you’re on Amazon I suggest you keep a very close eye on your account,  your sales. and your royalty payments as Amazon obviously can’t keep track of anything important like tax stuff. Sheesh.

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