Saturday, February 28, 2015

Writers and DBAs

This is reposted from Travels with Kaye earlier this week so it can reach a wider audience.

Another post about taxes. It’s that time of year! You probably haven’t finished them yet if you get any income from Amazon, since they say they sent out erroneous 1099s and have only recently sent out corrected ones. If you have income from several countries, good luck figuring out which new 1099 is the correction for which old 1099. Here’s a bit of help. Look at the EIN. I don’t recall who posted this on what list, but I copied it:

83-0417755 = Amazon US, CA, and IN
46-2971461 = Amazon Australia
46-2796183 = Amazon Mexico
98-0429507 = Amazon Services Europe - UK sales
98-0480990 = Amazon Media EU Sarl - DE, FR, ES, IT sales

This is incomplete, as that person doesn’t get income from all possible countries, but maybe this can help you figure it out. This seems to be secret information as I can’t find anywhere that Amazon discloses their EINs.

Now, to my actual topic. If you aren’t incorporated and don’t want to go to the expense and trouble of creating an LLC, you would probably benefit from setting up a DBA. It stands for Doing Business As. If you use a pen name, you would obviously want to do business as That Name. If you’re using your own name, you can use Your Name Writing, or something more creative. Maybe—Your Name Books, Your Name Literature.

Why do you need a DBA? If you want a separate bank account for your writing, you need one to set up a DBA bank account. From there, it’s convenient to create a PayPal account for your pen name or DBA and connect it to the bank account. I find it helpful to be able to take payments to my pen name. Also to pay for conferences with my PayPal account in my pen name. In the past, things have gotten confused when an account for Real Name pays and Pen Name shows up and people say Pen Name isn’t registered. Too complicated!

What you need to know about this is that the rules are very different depending on what state you live in. For instance, when we lived in Texas, I needed to file, for $15 at my county clerk’s office. When we moved to Tennessee, all I had to do was go to the credit union and tell them I wanted an account for my DBA. (I recommend credit unions over banks. It’s much easier to get a small business account with no fees from them.)

This may help you find out what your state requires:
Here’s another one, but with limited state information:

Good luck with your taxes this year!


Morgan Mandel said...

Since there was only a slight difference on my corrected 1099, and Amazon pretended to answer my questions, but not really, I've given up on that. I'll just give what I have to my accountant, and I assume he'll go with what Amazon shows, which is only a little less anyway.

Kaye George said...

I have some publishers whose reports are a bit arcane, so I just shrug and go by the 1099s. I try to keep track, just found out I didn't change my address with Createspace 2 years ago. I know I should try to get what was sold over the last 2 years, but it wasn't much and I have so much else to do! Oh well, right?