Setting up an EIN:-
An EIN is an Employer Identification Number, which is a U.S. Tax ID number. If you have a business and are eligible, you can get an EIN. You need one to have a business account in the U.S. or if you employ people in a business trading in the U.S. among other reasons. As a Non-U.S. person an EIN will reduce the amount of witholding tax you pay on U.S. sales. You do not need an EIN if you are an individual/sole proprietor, you can still apply for the lower witholding tax under a tax treaty Australia has with the United States.
To obtain an EIN you can complete an online application or you can phone the Inland Revenue Service (IRS). As I wasn’t sure what I was doing when I set mine up, I chose to phone the IRS. I didn’t find the person I spoke to particularly helpful and probably would have found it just as easy to do online, but I’ve had friends that have contacted them for this same purpose and said they were very helpful. So, I guess the service is dependent on the person you deal with.
If you are considering obtaining an EIN, I think the first thing you need to do is work out if you actually need one. I suggest you do some research online first. I set mine up on advice from another author, but having gone through the process and then publishing on Amazon and Create Space, I don’t think I actually need it. I am an individual/sole proprietor and can use my Australian TFN to gain the reduced tax rate under the treaty.
If you do decide you need one, you can obtain can get it via phone by contacting a local office (if you live in the U.S.) or there is an International Call Centre for those outside the U.S. If you are ringing internationally, you need to be aware of the time difference when you call, and I suggest you look online to confirm the time difference from your location.
All the info you need can be found at:- www.irs.gov. The site can be a little confusing, but you can find the international number under the ‘Help & Resources’ tab by scrolling down to the ‘contact us’ section.
Disclaimer: This is only my understanding of an EIN. As there are many intricacies to tax law and everyone’s circumstances are different, I recommend you seek independent advice from a qualified tax agent or the IRS before you apply for your own EIN.