Paying UK Income Tax on book royalties – UK authors

Posted 11 January 2013, Updated 3 May 2014, Further updated 19 April 2016

We’ve had a few questions about this on the Alliance of Independent Authors closed Facebook page so I thought I’d sum it up for everyone out there – I hope it’s of help! Please note that I am not a tax expert so always check the facts with HMRC.

If you’re a UK-based author starting to get income from your book sales it’s important to know what you need to do about tax. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will count such income as ‘business income’ – however small – and, depending on how much you are earning, you may need to pay Income Tax and National Insurance on your earnings.

But don’t panic yet! You will only pay tax on your book royalties if your overall income (from your books and any other sources, such as your day job, interest on savings, etc) is above a certain level. And the rate of tax you will pay will depend on that overall level of income. Similarly, you will only need to pay National Insurance if your income from the book sales is above a certain level.

So how do you declare your book royalties?

For most UK authors starting out, the way to declare and pay any tax due on your royalties is to register as a self-employed sole trader with HMRC. (You could look at setting up a limited company but I won’t cover this here – see the links at the end of the page to find out about other business structures.)

Once registered as self-employed you’ll need to complete a self-assessment tax return each year. This is basically an online or paper form on which you declare all of your income – from employment, savings, any investments or rental income etc – for each tax year (a tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April). You would include your income from book sales in the self-employment pages.

The good news is that here you can also put down any expenses associated with your book writing  as these get deducted from any profit you make before any tax is worked out.

How to register as self-employed

You can register as self-employed quickly and easily either online at gov.uk here or by phone by calling HMRC on 0300 200 3504 and saying to the automated message request that you’re calling to set up as self-employed. Make sure you have your National Insurance number to hand if you have one. (The initial message tries to steer you to register online, but if you hang on and speak to the operator you can do it entirely over the phone).

Register as soon as you can after starting to get income from your books – the deadline for completing a paper tax return each is 30 October and 31 January for online returns, so leave enough time to be sure you can meet these dates. According to the gov.uk website, if you register later than 5 October in your second tax year of business, you could be charged a penalty. (NB Ignore the automated message that says ‘you can only register during the week you start work’ – this apparently means that you can only register ‘in advance’ in the week you become self-employed.)

Class 2 National Insurance

Once registered as self-employed you’ll pay Class 2 National Insurance if your annual earnings from self-employment (book sales for this purpose) are above £5,965 per year in the tax year 2016-17 .  Class 2 National Insurance is charged at a flat rate of £2.80 per week (2016-17) and accounted for in the tax bill you receive after sending in your tax return.

If you have low earnings

If  your book royalties are below the Class 2 thresholds then no Class 2 National Insurance is payable, however bear in mind that they count towards your entitlement to the State Pension and other benefits, so if you’re not already paying Class 1 through the day job, you might decide to pay Class 2 voluntarily even if your income is below the threshold. Ask HMRC about this when registering as self-employed, or you can read about paying voluntary contributions on the gov.uk website here.

Class 4 National Insurance if books sales are flying!

If you’re lucky enough that the taxable profits from your book sales are above £8,060 for 2016-17 you will pay Class 4 contributions on any profit above these amounts at a rate of 9% for profits up to £43,000 and 2% for any element of profits above £43,000. You don’t need to do anything about this now – the profit is worked out when you complete your self-assessment tax return each year and is included in your annual tax bill.

Do I really need to complete a tax return if I only have a few sales?

Speaking to the HMRC helpline (most recently as April 2016) it seems the answer to this is ‘yes’ to start with.  However, once you send in your first couple of returns, if they see that your income from book sales is small they may contact you and offer to take you out of self-assessment and allow you to estimate and pay your income in a simpler way – for example through your day-job payslip.  But think positively!  Small sales may grow faster than you expect. And if you’re serious about your writing, once you are set up in self-assessment it may be as simple just to stick with it so that you’re ready for when the surge happens…

More useful tax links for UK authors…

You can find out more about self-employment, self-assessment tax returns and other business structures by using the links below:

And remember to check out my related post about how to reclaim tax on US royalties

Tax doesn’t have to be taxing….!

Posted 11 January 2013, Updated 3 May 2014, Further updated 19 April 2016

56 Responses to Paying UK Income Tax on book royalties – UK authors

  1. Very useful! It might also be helpful for people to know that – if they start to have reasonable earnings and I would say that’s pretty much anything over the tax threshold, they should consider employing an accountant, albeit with the proviso that they search for the right accountant. I don’t think I’ve ever been in the ‘seriously high’ category, but some years I have done pretty well between plays and publications and having an accountant has been a big help. You can find accountants who will charge a very reasonable fee, allow you to pay monthly, up front, so it’s relatively painless – and will clarify exactly what you can claim in expenses. For instance if you work from home, you can claim a percentage of things like electricity and heating so long as the room you work in also has other purposes – and in a home, it invariably does. And if you can find yourself an accountant who has a good, honest reputation with HMRC you can save yourself an awful lot of trouble – and money. My advice to people on Class 2 contributions would – like yours – be to keep on paying it. Don’t opt out. The cost is minimal and believe me, age creeps up on you a lot quicker than you realise!

    • kareninglis says:

      Thanks, Catherine – I’d entirely agree. I use a one-man band tax accountant – couldn’t manage without him, especially as I have a mix of children’s writing and professional writing to contend with!

  2. Helena Halme says:

    Excellent post and brilliant advice. It’s also useful to note that the 31 January 13 deadline for online tax returns refers to income earned in the tax year which ended 5 April 12, so no need to panic yet if your earnings have come through after that. If you are looking for an accountant to help you with your SA tax returns, I am an HMRC tax agent and licensed member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) as well as an ALLi member! I have many clients in the creative industry, so I understand the problems of fluctuating incomes and can help with minimising the tax burden during the slimmer years. Email helena@halmeaccounts.com

  3. sam millar says:

    Helen, can anyone help me? My publisher in France owes me royalties, but say I need to send them a tax exempt form signed in the UK to prove residency, otherwise they will take 30% of my royalties. When I went to my local tax office they said they no longer do it, but I need to go online to their site. What a joke. Totally impossible to find the information in the maze of links on their site. Can anyone help me locate link, or advise otherwise?
    Thank you.

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  5. Alan G says:

    A very useful post, I’ve just retired from a 40 year corporate career and want to turn my hobby of writing into something that earns pin money to top up my pension. I wasn’t sure what my tax/employment status would be if I did that; this has helped clarify things a lot. thanks.

  6. Joe says:

    Hi Karen,

    Thanks for the blog. I am employed full time and my main income is at the higher tax bracket but my book royalties is only around £1400. I guess I need to declare as extra income in my self assessment. Right?

    Thanks
    Joe

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi Joe – yes that’s right, but I’d suggest you call HMRC self-employed helpline and ask if you need to register as self-employed also. I’m pretty sure you do – even if the income is small. (You can be employed and self-employed at the same time…) You can at the same time ask about being waived from paying Class 2 NICs due to low self-employment income.

  7. Helena Halme says:

    Joe, you need to register with HMRC as self-employed and complete a tax return online by 31 January 2013. This return should include all your income, including your PAYE income and tax you’ve paid through that. (Karen, I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here).Helena

    • kareninglis says:

      No problem at all, Helena! I thought as much, though I had wondered if there might be a floor of earnings below which HMRC might say ‘don’t register yet until you know that you’ll be getting some royalty income to speak of…’. This said, I wouldn’t count Joe’s royalties as low in the scheme of the author landscape…. Joe – the good thing about self assessment online is that it adds up all your figures for you 🙂 Oh and this Jan’s deadline for the return is for sales made up to 5 April 2013. So if you started earning after that date you don’t need to complete a return until after 5 April 2014 – but you do need to have registered as self-employed with HMRC. K

  8. Alan G says:

    If he is earning the bulk of his money via PAYE I don’t think he needs to register as self employed. I received royalties for years while employed and just entered them as additional income – on the advice of HMRC. They were only a few hundred pounds per annum but if joe checks, I suspect 1400 is still low enough for a high rate tax payer to just count as extras.

  9. Tiffany says:

    Hi, would I have to pay tax on potential book royalties if I am on benefits? I don’t pay tax because of benefits and that is only my only source of income. Also, would the royalties possibly affect my benefit?

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi Tiffany

      Book royalties would count as taxable income. However you only ever pay Income Tax if your total income in a tax year (which runs from 6 April to 5 April) exceeds the Personal Allowance for that year. The Personal Allowance is a set amount of money that every individual can earn before they pay tax. For 2014-15 (ie starting on 6 April this year and ending 5 April 2015) it will rise to £10,000 for most people (it’s currently £9,440). (If you’re elderly you get a bit more.) If you are receiving benefits that are means-tested (ie the amount of benefit you get depends on your income) then of course they could be affected if you are incredibly lucky and have a bestseller 🙂 or earn a good income from your book sales. Sadly the reality is that many authors only make a very small income – so it will really depend on what level of benefits you get already and how well you do with your book sales! To understand more about the Personal Allowance and Income Tax (and the relationship to benefits) I’d recommend you read this guide over on Gov.uk https://www.gov.uk/income-tax/overview **Please note that I am *not* a tax adviser! I simply happen to know quite a bit about the basics as I’ve done quite a lot of work in my day job commissioning content in plain English on tax and money. So if you are at all unsure call HM Revenue & Customs and ask them.** Best of luck with your writing!

  10. Cazbah says:

    Karen, thanks very much for your vastly helpful posts on US royalties and UK tax for authors. I am now starting the process of getting my EIN following your guidance, and am reassured by what you say above about treating book advances/royalties as business income. I’d love to ask a follow-up question that’s not about self-publishing, in case you have a a view. I have a book deal with Random House in the US, and with other publishers in other countries including the UK. I have a small UK-based limited company that I was proposing to use to process the book income (as you suggest above), as the book and the business are intimately linked. I wasn’t sure if you had a view on the right approach to contracting for that. Should each of the contracts be in my name as a director of the company, or in my company’s name? Are there any ‘watch outs’ either way that you know of? I’d be grateful for any thoughts you have.

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi Cazbah – I’m afraid contracts are outside my area of expertise. Are you a member of The Alliance of Independent Authors? If so they will offer you free advice. Follow the link above in my menu to find out more about them and join them if you wish. Otherwise if you have an agent or accountant they may be able to advise? Sorry I can’t be of more help!
      Karen

  11. simon haines says:

    Can you just clarify something please. I am in work, not self-employed, work for a Company. Do i contact HMRC and tell them i am (self-publishing) a book, i have no idea of how many i will sell maybe 10 or a 1000!!! How do HMRC know how many i am selling? Or do they just ‘charge’ me a flat fee.

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi Simon

      You are in effect setting up in businesses as a self-employed sole trader to sell your books (with a view to makig a profit) and so you need to register as self-employed with HMRC. You need to do this even if you are already employed because you can be employed and self-employed at the same time.

      If you are self-employed then technically you have to pay class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) and complete a self assessment tax return each year – on the tax return you include your income from employment, any income you get from savings and investments and (on the self-employment pages) your income from your book sales. You then get taxed accordingly based on your overall income.

      With regard to Class 2 National Insurance, there is something called SEE (small earnings exception), which you can apply for if you are self-employed and don’t expect to make much income – I’ve just checked and the earnings limit for this is £5,885 for 2014-15- ie you don’t have to pay Class 2 unless your income from book sales exceeded this amount in the tax year. But you have to complete a form to be exempted from it. See here: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/working/intro/class2.htm and the form here: http://search.hmrc.gov.uk/kb5/hmrc/forms/results.page?qt=CF10

      The above all said, for your own peace of mind, I would recommend that you call HMRC’s self-employed helpline on 0300 200 3504 and explain the situation and ask what they recommend you do and then (for everyone’s benefit that comes to this blog) leave a note here by replying to my comment to tell us what they advised you to do. One thing that is on my mind is I’m not sure how long you can be self-employed before having to notify HMRC. They may advise you not to register as self-employed until you start getting sales from your books….which means you can test the market before going through the process…

      Good luck with it and let us know what they say. Here is a link to an article on the fact that you can be both employed and self-employed at the same time…http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/working/intro/employed-selfemployed.htm

  12. Jo says:

    Thanks for such a helpful article and Q&As. Could anyone tell me what is the correct way for royalty payments to be dealt with using traditional accrual-basis accounting? If, for example, I received a payment on 30 April 2014 (from sales in the previous tax year), would I include it in my 2013-14 tax return or 2014-15? Since no invoice gets issued in these circumstances (and there’s no way of knowing in advance the amount of the royalty payment) does that mean the tax point is when I actually receive the cash?

  13. Kevin Lallah says:

    Hi,

    I was wondering if you could help me. I recently read your
    info on EIN/ITIN which I may say was very very helpful.
    However I have one question which I hope you can answer.

    I am a UK citizen who now has a EIN number from the IRS. I have already registered with HMRC
    too as a sole trader.
    My ebook is currently selling on Amazon Kindle.
    My question is, once you have an EIN number what happens then?
    Do I need to contact the IRS every year to declare how much I’ve sold? Do I need to fill out any paperwork?

    I hope to hear from you soon.

    Kevin Lallah aka Max Brossin

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi Kevin – I am so very sorry for the delayed reply. I’m not sure how I missed it (although it really belongs in my post on Tax on US Royalties!).

      No you don’t need to fill in a USA tax form each year. But you do need to complete this tax interview from the looks of things: this is so that Amazon can confirm to the IRS that you have a valid EIN (which is a form of TIN…!) . When I first self-published to KDP the process was slightly different and there was no online interview – instead we had to send a paper form all the way to the USA. But it looks as if that has changed. I suggest you look at this page and follow the instructions – I think I have heard that this works okay >> https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=201274750

      Best of luck!

      Karen

      • Kevin Lallah says:

        Hi,

        I forgot to thank you for the response you sent me a few months ago. However I do have a question. I received a -1042-S FORM through the post last week. This was for the period 2014 from the IRS. Any idea what I’m supposed to do with this?

        Regards,

        Kevin

  14. MJ Taylor says:

    Hello, Karen and Helena.

    I’ve just been reading through this informative post. I recently registered (I think) with the HMRC. They sent me out a unique number and I now have access to using their site. However, I’ve been trying to do ‘Self Assessment’ using the online method, but I don’t really understand some of the questions let alone which parts of of the form to fill in. I was wondering if you could help me understand some of these things.

    To start of, I’ll just give you a little insight on what I do. I’m new on book publishing and publishing on Amazon. I published my first and currently, only book last year October. The amount I’ve made from my book in a whole year is just enough to by myself a sandwich without the soft drink. I have a day job (retail) working 28 hrs so I’m employed.

    My questions are:

    The ‘Self Assessment’ form asks if I’m employed or self employed. Which should I be selecting? I’ve already gone part way through the application as ‘self employed’ selected. Have I selected the correct option?

    At the moment, I am at a crossroads with the filling in of the for as it’s asking ‘I am a farmer, market gardener or a creator of literary or artistic works and I wish to claim averaging adjustment.’ This is where I stopped. I have not put anything in this section yet as I’m not sure what I’m doing at this point. Do I need to fill this in? Did you or any other writers you know need to fill this in?

    Any advice you have is welcomed and appreciated.
    MJ

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi there – I am pretty sure you would select ’employed’ to start with and then somewhere early on will be asked if you also want to declare earnings from ‘self employment’. By ticking those boxes it will make sure you fill out all the right pages – because you are both employed and self-employed. BUT if I were you I would call the self-employed helpline and check. When you complete a tax return it wants to know about *all* of your income from all sources s. I’m afraid my accountant now does my tax return so I can’t remember how the pages go! Also, make sure to ask about filling out the Small Earnings Exception form – so that you don’t have to play Class 2 National Insurance. See what I say about this above. You might also ask them if you need to register at all (and therefore complete a return) if you’ve really made no money at all – ie ask whether you can wait and only register if you do make money. But only they can answer that. Best of luck with it – here is a link to their phone line numbers. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/newly-self-employed-helpline

  15. Simon says:

    Excellent post! Some commenters asked how soon one should register one’s business. HMRC advice is within 3 months of starting your business. I would wait until your book is published and you have some income from it beforehand.

    • kareninglis says:

      I’d broadly agree with that – though technically HMRC might beg to differ. I suppose the only downside is having records of expenditure (eg book cover etc) that pre-date the date you registered as self employed. I’m not an accountant though – maybe that wouldn’t matter! Oh and be sure to register for low earnings exemption to start with! 🙂

  16. Hi Karen – a really useful post and follow-up discussions on here.

    I work full-time and am fortunate enough to have a job which just takes me into the 40% tax bracket. The book I am going to have published is a history one and has involved a lot of trips to different places to visit archives / conduct interviews etc. I have thousands of pounds worth of hotel / meal / petrol receipts. Would these be written off against any book advance and royalties I receive to ensure I pay no tax? Thanks

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi John – I think you’d need to ask that question to an accountant – or call the HMRC self-employed helpline if you don’t use an accountant. I’m afraid I’m not a tax adviser. Do let us know what they say – I’m guessing there could be a limit on how much you could claim back given that you’re talking about so much money, but what do I know! Good luck!

      • Thanks Karen – to clarify I have a decent day job. The writing may earn a couple of thousand in a year which is easily swallowed up by the expense in finding the information. As you say, I’ll consult an accountant and update.

  17. Chika Efobi says:

    This is very helpful indeed. Thank you

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  19. Brian @ SFF Chronicles says:

    If there is a serious chance of earning significant income on book royalties, being self-employed may leave you paying far more tax than if you channelled it through a limited company. Absolutely seek advice from an accountant.

    • kareninglis says:

      Thanks for the observation, Brian. I’m sure you’re right. Any writers in danger of earning significant sums should get an accountant’s advice about the most suitable business structure. 🙂

  20. John Davis says:

    I wrote to HMRC informing them that my ‘business’ had ceased trading on 31 March, and will complete a final return this year. Accordingly I have unpublished my three Kindle titles. Do you know if this is all that’s necessary to close the business, or is there a procedure with Amazon to actually delete one’s account?

    My real worry here is that HMRC believe (as I do!) that my business has closed, and I want to make sure that it really has before I send my final return. In other words, I have a slight concern that even with zero sales, and no titles available on Amazon, the business still technically exists, and that I could be severely penalised for failing to send a return next year.

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi John — I’m not an accounting expert but if you were operating as a sole trader and completed a Self Assessment return last year but have now told them you’ve stopped that should do it — unless you have other income (eg from property or substantial investments) that requires you to complete a return but I think you’d have mentioned that if you had. However HMRC can be notorious for their systems taking time to catch up with themselves and so I suppose the worst that could happen is they send you a Notice to Complete a Return next year (I assume you completed your return online?) in which case I would call or write to them again to explain. This all said I think if you wrote at the end of March you could probably try calling them and ask them to check your record? This page has contact phone numbers — as well as an online form you can submit. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/income-tax-enquiries-for-self-employed I hope that helps but I’m guessing you’ve got nothing to worry about! It’s only limited companies that need more formal winding down as far as I understand it. If you had been paying any NI Class 2 contributions those will now be collected via Self Assessment from the next tax year I believe, so even if you had a DD set up for those, HMRC has said no action is needed to stop them (see http://www.tax.org.uk/tax-policy/newsdesk/2015/class_2_NIC_reform_changes ). I’m not a tax adviser so do call one of the numbers if you’re at all unsure 🙂

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi again John — regards the Amazon account, I think it takes a while for records to fall off the system but why not email them via the Customer Services using the KDP or CS contact details to check? I’ve never unpublished so don’t know how it works!

      As far as HMRC seeing you still on Amazon I suspect that unlikely! But as long as you have records to show that you unpublished I’m sure you fine!

  21. John Davis says:

    Hi Karen

    Thanks so much for your detailed and considered response – this pretty much chimes with what I felt, but I’m still relieved to read your words on this. It’s definitely not something I’d want to be careless with, and I’ll definitely follow your advice.

  22. Vaseem Khan says:

    Terrific, helpful post. Thank you, Karen

    • kareninglis says:

      Glad it was helpful, Vaseem — one thing; the process for notifying self-employment may have changed, especially if you don’t expect significant earnings. I have a note about this from a tax expert colleague who follows this blog and need to update this page about that. I’ll try to do this this evening, however (failing that) if you call the self-employed helpline I’m sure they will bring you up to speed. From recollection the change makes life simpler, not harder!

  23. darransf says:

    This was super helpful, thank you

    • kareninglis says:

      Thanks, Darran – do see my last comment to the previous respondent above re possible slight change to the notification process as I’ve not yet found time to update the page. Karen

  24. John mca says:

    Hello. I have had uk royalties for many years for a sports book and done self assessments for years. I now get only 60 to 80 pounds a year from it. Anyone ever donated their royalties to charity or close their account with the publisher direct. I no longer want to keep doing self assessments each year for this type of sum. Any advice?

  25. mcdazzer says:

    Hi Karen, I’ve recently registered for VAT in the UK. I don’t seem to be able to find any information on whether ebook sellers on Amazon are responsible for collecting and paying VAT or if Amazon do it all before royalties are given out. Any ideas?

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi — if you are selling on Amazon via KDP (or any other third party such as Apple’s iBooks) they are responsible for collecting the VAT and it’s wrapped into the price your book shows at. In the case of KDP you will see this when you choose the price of your book and the VAT rate varies by country of sale. You only are responsible for charging and collecting VAT on ebooks if you sell them direct yourself rather than through a third party – and (from what I recall) only if using automated systems to make and fulfill those sales.

      As far as your VAT return goes you need to include print books (if you have any) in your sales figures even though they are zero rated for VAT (so of course you don’t add any VAT) but as far as I’ve been advised, Amazon’s eBooks don’t need adding to your VAT return figures.

      Here is the info my accountant sent me some time back and I’m not aware that it’s changed since: I had a VAT inspection in January and showed the HMRC inspector this info and she seemed to agree that it was correct…

      Hope this helps but please note that I’m not a tax expert or adviser! 🙂

      “As I understand it the royalties paid from non UK based Amazon companies are outside the scope of UK VAT and so you will leave them off your VAT return.

      So you simply set the price for Amazon and they pay you the Royalties. The Royalties are supplied where the customer is and so the VAT rate is defined by their location. The VAT aspect is that they charge 3% on supplies from Luxembourg rather than 20% from UK which you would have to charge if you supplied direct to your customers.”

  26. mcdazzer says:

    That’s great, thank you so much for such a thorough and speedy reply!

    • kareninglis says:

      My pleasure 🙂 BTW I’m bringing out a detailed book on self-publishing later in the year – with some great info beyond what’s on this blog about tips and tools I’ve found work best for print and eBooks that contain illustrations . If you want to know more you can join my mailing list above as subscribers will be the first to know about it. (I rarely send out newsletters… fear not… – the last one may have been more than a year ago, in fact…)

      Best of luck with your project!

  27. Kim Wedlock says:

    Thank you, Karen, this matter is so confusing!

    I have a question I hope you or someone else can help me with, I’m really just looking for as simple an answer as I can get:
    I’m about to self-publish my first book. I’m unemployed and don’t actually have any tax information to give Amazon in order to self-publish because I’ve never made enough to rise above the personal allowance, which means I’m at a bit of an impasse. When I went to get the ball rolling on KDP it threw up taxes, which never even occurred to me because I’ve yet to pay any, and I’m now unable to proceed.
    From this post I gather I should set up as self-employed, but I’m currently still living with my parents as a full-time carer for my mum so the only money I really see is non-taxable carer’s allowance and a little bit from the jewellery I make and sell online which, even disregarding what’s profit and what’s expenses, barely brings me to £3000 a year, so I’m not actually making enough to be taxed and have – to my knowledge – no tax information.
    Should I still set up as self-employed as a sole trader if I’m making nothing taxable now, and don’t expect to make much from my kindle books (though I hope I’m wrong!)? Clearly I need some kind of tax information or I can’t proceed at all, and the option of ‘waiting until I’ve already published it’ isn’t remotely an option for me at all, but I’m concerned about what happens if I set up as a business with nothing to show for it.

    Any help anyone can give me is hugely appreciated!

  28. Kim Wedlock says:

    Oh, and also – I forgot to add – when setting up as a sole trader I think I need a business name. What on earth do I do here? Do I need something official, or is it just something for reference? As a writer I kind of thought my name would be my business, but I don’t think it would be. I’m quite confused about it – or am I just overthinking a minor detail?

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi Kim — I recommend that you call HMRC’s Self-Employed helpline and ask them >> 0300 200 3504. I expect they may tell you not to register as self-employed until you know you’ll be getting income from your books. They will be very helpful and I’m sure you won’t be the first person to ask! As far as having to provide tax information to Kindle goes, you can now use your National Insurance number. I cover this in my related post here > https://kareninglis.wordpress.com/tax/ the bit that’s relevant for you is where it talks about applying as an individual / sole trader. I hope that helps and best of luck 🙂

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi Kim – just to say that I’ve just spoken to HMRC and it seems the info above still holds — ie technically once you start to get an income from you books you’d need to register as self-employed, and they then may later take a view on whether you need to carry on filling in a tax return if your income is very low, as I mention above.

      While here I have updated the info about Class 2 National Insurance to reflect the fact that this is now collected via your tax return — you don’t need to set up a direct debit any longer. I can’t believe how time flies – I had clean forgotten to update that section in the last year 🙂

      Regarding a name — can call yourself what you want; use your own name or another one (provided you don’t of course use a trademarked name!) See this page for info on this — https://www.gov.uk/choose-company-name .

      All the best,

      Karen

  29. Alan Toner says:

    Great site, Karen. Keep up the good work. As a UK author publishing his KIndle books on Amazon, I want to reclaim the witholding tax that the IRS took from my books when I first started publishing on Amazon back in 2012-13. However, I am somewhat confused about how to go about it. Some say it is very complicated in regard to all the questions the IRS asks you on the 1042S claim form (and it certainly does seem that way, as I have downloaded the form to view myself!). Others say it is easier now. What do you think? And do you think I would have any success claiming back this withholding tax from 2012-13?

    • kareninglis says:

      Hi Alan – I’m so sorry but I’ve no idea as I’ve not been in this position before, so I would just go on what other commenters say. I also suppose it depends on how much money you’re talking about! If it’s a few pounds I’d not bother but if it’s a reasonable amount then worth a try. I do recall there are cut-off times for reclaims but you’d need to check that. It would help others here if you leave a comment to let us know how it went if you do decide to try! Sorry I can’t be of more help, Karen

    • Maureen says:

      I hope someone sees this and this site has not closed down, need a little help. I have read through comments questions replies, mine is:
      Im on disability benefits no other income
      I have self published first book april this year royalty going through
      Question what do i do about declaring hmrc do i need to set up sole trader, what do i need to declare benefits, to where?
      Please help i really dont want to get stuck in a mess so trying to sort it early
      Thanks!

  30. Pingback: DO IT YOURSELF WEEK: Day Six – Taxes and Royalties – Queer Sci Fi

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