I feel very cheeky asking this having only just arrived and (mostly) lurked here for couple of weeks but you guys seem clued up and sound like the kind of people who might be able to help me with some advice.
I have written a book. I'm a UK citizen and originally I was going to publish it as an e-book on Smashwords - a site based in the US which sells all round the world. If I do this on another self-publishing site, LuLu, with a British ISBN, I can avoid having to pay any tax in the US.
This is good because what happens is the IRS creams off 30% of your earnings and sits on it for months. To get it back you have to fill in lots of forms and send them away to the IRS (with precious things like your passport which, if the IRS are anything like the immigration department, you can rest assured you will NEVER see again - they had my sister in-laws for five years and my husband's birth certificate was never seen again). Eventually you get an ITIN number and attach it to another form, which, after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with the agent who is selling your product, you then have to send to the IRS with a US tax return to get a rebate of the tax you've paid (god knows filing one tax return is bad enough but two... please no).
Has anyone else encountered this? There doesn't seem to be a standard, LuLu charge a bomb to e-publish but if you have a British ISBN there's no witholding, Smashwords take a fair commission but as yet, there's no indication whether having a British ISBN on there would sidestep the witholding issue...
Does anyone know if there are set rules, for example, why is a British ISBN going to exempt me on LuLu but, it would seem, not Smashwords?
Finally, does anyong know of any UK based equivilents of Smashwords I could use instead. I have so little time, I need to spend it writing and selling my book, not trying to sort out a monumental tax headache...