Self-Publishing Authors: Use an EIN instead of an SSN

Taxes for Authors - the EIN vs the SSN

Your social security number is “you central” to the government, creditors, and identity thieves. And now you’re asked to give it out to online publishers and other entities when setting up your self-publishing business?

Yeeks! But don’t worry. There’s an alternative. It’s called the EIN, or Employer Identifier Number, and you don’t have to have employees to use it. Here’s the what, why, where, and how to get an EIN, for free.

Get an EIN

Basically, the EIN replaces your SSN and you can use it for business purposes. This makes it very easy to separate out your business from personal expenses at tax time. Yay!

Predictably, there are some unscrupulous agencies who will offer to save you the trouble and get you one for a price. Ha! You can’t fool me! These agencies have great SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques so that they appear above the IRS’s website. They also have the look and feel of a government website. Many are lulled into their clutches. Don’t be one of them!

For example, when you search for EIN, here’s what your google results may look like. (The red Xs and check mark are mine.)

Search for the Federal EIN service

Yep. Click on the irs.gov link.

So why get one? Let me count the ways.

  1. You can avoid spreading your SSN around the internet.
  2. It allows you to separate out your business from your personal expenses.
  3. You need one if ever you are going to employ somebody.
  4. It’s really easy and fast.
  5. Your accountant will love you.
  6. And it’s free.

You can either assign your publisher name to the EIN or use your own name. it doesn’t matter. So what are you waiting for? Get one now.

You know who told me about the EIN? Helen Sedwick, author, lawyer, and instructor for Self-Publishing Boot Camp. Check out her lesson in the course Set Up Your Publishing Business

Self-Publishing Boot Camp Courses with Carla King


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