I'm working on self-publishing a book on Amazon. I'm in South Africa, and don't have a bank account in the UK or US. I know Amazon will send a check. I'm curious if anyone knows anything about how this would be taxed - by America and S. Africa, or only by the local government?

  • No idea, I'm afraid. You might try money.stackexchange.com for this; they've got a tag just for income tax questions.
    – Tom
    Apr 21, 2014 at 15:24

1 Answer 1


Where you "are" is normally not decisive on where you pay tax, it is your country of residence (which might be South Africa or any other country) which determines where you pay tax. Having a bank-account in another country doesn't influence that, although where things get paid might have influence to the applicability of VAT, c.q. sales tax, or not. IIRC in the USA sales tax doesn't apply to sales outside of the states where the company (Amazon) has no offices, in the UK VAT rate for books is 0%.

If you have to pay income tax in your country of residence (there are only a few countries that not seem to tax you), you should probably declare that as income, as you would have to if you had bank accounts in the USA or UK.

The USA should not tax this (although they might ask for proof that you pay your income tax in your country of residence. I used to get special forms for that after moving from the USA to Germany).

Ask your tax advisor, to prevent double payment of tax.

  • Thanks, I was told Amazon would take American taxes off of it, too.
    – Viergacht
    Apr 22, 2014 at 13:03
  • @LewDelport It might be that they have to charge sales tax now, I have not lived in the USA for a while. It used to be that sales tax was only for those states where a company had a presence (offices), this made companies in a low-head-count states that did online sales very competitive (of course taking shipping costs into account). Maybe that has finally changed (the government missing out on money, as well as unfair competition to local sellers), and changed for out-of-country sales as well. Book sales in the UK should be 0%, try to sell via amazon.co.uk.
    – Anthon
    Apr 22, 2014 at 13:41
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    Please note that by US law, Amazon will keep 30% of share on every sale to a US customer. That money will be sent to the IRS (the US tax bureau.) To avoid this, you will need to file an application with the IRS (form 8-WBEM if I recall correctly), and get an american tax id which identifies you as a non-US company. Upon submission of that tax id to Amazon, above 30% share will not be deducted from your payouts. I strongly advise you to get a good tax advisor - IRS forms can be difficult, so can be international tax laws.
    – Hazzit
    Apr 25, 2014 at 22:17

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