UK Based Authors Tax Consideration

I have spent the past few days registering with various market places for the forthcoming release of my debut novel, which will be published in paperback, eBook and Audiobook formats. (And hopefully, hardback!)

All of the US-based markets require you to establish your tax status and you do this via form W-8 BEN, details of which can be seen here:

About Form W-8 BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Individuals) | Internal Revenue Service (

This is a strict, legal requirement and there’s no getting around it, or else the respective market host will subtract tax at the local rate.

Thankfully, the registration process takes you through the filling of the form via a digital interview, where you are asked about a dozen (simple) questions, to identify who you are and your tax status in, say, the UK.

BUT – and a very large BUT!!! You need to already have your UTR (Unique Tax Reference) from HMRC. This is a 10-digit, numeric identifier.

This is not your tax code, e.g. 1257L or your National Insurance No. (NI) e.g. LL112233B (Not a real NI No but just an example of what it looks like).

The UTR is obtained via HMRC’s Self Assessment website:

Register for Self Assessment – GOV.UK (

Some say you don’t need to do this, but I’d suggest there is no harm in obtaining your UTR as a Sole Proprietor.

Also note: you do no need to register as a Limited Company in the UK to sell books. You also don’t need to register your imprint with HMRC or Companies House. Doing so raises a whole load of pain with regards to filing for corporation tax and quarterly VAT returns, all of which could be zero-amounted or small amounts, and a whole lot of headache for nothing.

I hope this helps someone out there in Self-Publishing land.

And so it begins…

I needed a key date to publish my debut novel and NASA has delivered.

20th July 2021 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, which took Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins to the Moon.

Apollo 11 Mission Overview | NASA

Hence, Earth 101 will be launched t0 the public on this day.

As of typing this blog at the start of May 2021, the paperback and eBook variants are uploaded to several market places. The audiobook is still under production but my amazing voice actor has confirmed all will be complete this month, hence that will be good to go with the publication day.

To say I’m scared and nervous and a whole load of concerns is the underestimation of the year, but I must release the debut to the wilds and duck for cover.

The last thing I want to do is tell anybody about it, but I know I must.

Jayne is depending on me to tell her story.

Well, I’ve written it, so it’s times to share.