I am based in Canada, Lulu is in the USA. My books are sold for my business so it's the entity "earning" and being taxed. Formerly, revenues would pay and Lulu had my tax exemption form (W8-BEN as it's known in the US). For some reason, my latest work required me to upload the form again. So far so good, that all worked, but the book is now "on hold" in draft form until Lulu reviews it. So long as the form is filled out, it gets them off the hook for withholding taxes. Does anyone know how long it takes them to review the tax forms? It's holding up sales right now for something they have had on file for years!
While most of my books (used for teaching purposes mainly) languish in Lulu's Limbo, I took my latest book to "Draft2Digital" and had it published. It's now for sale on 6 services, including Amazon, more pending. The tax form they use is an online form - fill in the data and done. Lulu wanted an upload of the US Government's PDF version (which I provided). D2D has its limitations, but it was quick, slick, and worked as advertised.
I think it's time to move most of my other books from Lulu to D2D. Certainly, those that are intended for e-readers can go over. My exceptions are those for which I need hard copies - so far D2D doesn't do print - not yet. They are beta testing it. Perhaps Lulu should have done some beta testing - too late though now.
I have my own ISBN for the corresponding book: Then I am the publisher and pay my taxes. Lulu is only the commissioned printer/distributor. No withholding tax.
I used a free ISBN from Lulu. Then Lulu is formally the publisher and pays all taxes (including 30% withholding tax on my profits) - unless I can prove with the appropriate form that my margin is taxed in my country and that my country has signed a double tax treaty with the US.
I only distribute the book through the Lulu bookshop without ISBN. In this case, it's not clear to me (even less so if I have an ISBN but don't give it to Lulu because I've organized distribution through the retail bookshop elsewhere - For the tax office, it shouldn't matter whether I enter the ISBN into the Lulu system or not. As long as I have it. But I'm not sure the IRS will see it that way.).
The taxes are payable by all providers. The forms you have to submit are from the tax authorities. I took a closer look at D2D a few weeks ago and it says that you have to submit the same forms as you do for Lulu. Tax offices are often pendant and even more often they enjoy working with forms and papers. That's why they couldn't do home office in the last weeks, because their children would have seen the paper tax forms ;-)
I've always used Lulu's ISBN except for books that I only want for print on demand purposes. For the IRS Lulu asks for the actual form - which I had submitted a few years ago and again recently due to their request. I don't know why they'd need it again, but they've asked anyway. No changes to it (in fact I submitted exactly the same PDF I used before). My gripe is that they've got my materials on hold now for a long time "pending review". For one current project, it was long enough to: identify competitors, check them out, test a few of them, decide on one, start over with the book, get it set up, published, and now approved for distribution through various outlets including Amazon, B&N, etc. Here it is: www.amazon.com/dp/B088WGT2TF.
I do use D2D ISBNs, so taxes apply, but due to tax treaty and the fact that my company is registered with the IRS, we have never seen taxes withheld on any of our business in the US. D2D has the info to satisfy any IRS audit, books are selling and taxes get paid here north of the border per the treaty.
On D2D the data requested is the same as that which fills the various blank spots on the actual form issued by the IRS (which is a PDF with editable fields). So there's no difference in what's submitted. I find it a bit easier than filling in forms, scanning and sending for manual review. D2D's approach allows them to check each field entry for accuracy with a set of automated filters. You can do that (data validation) in spreadsheets, so for them it was probably easily programmed. You can't do that with a PDF form submitted as Lulu asks. If an IRS person wanted to see a paper copy it would be a pretty small step for D2D to print the form with data in the right spots. When I filled it in it was less than seconds to come up with my company name, country, tax rate (o% in case of Canada) and a note, "Valid Tax Information on File". Compared with weeks of waiting on Lulu, it's nice to have the project up and running.
On D2D they don't have as many slick features as Lulu used to have, but works well for what it does.
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