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Manic Monday

Owen Jones

Just Another Manic Monday

Weeks ago, a lot nearer New Year, Amazon’s two sprog firms, Kindle and CreateSpace wrote to me, by email, of course, that it was the time of the year that I had to renew my vows to the United States IRS.

I have had an E.I.N, an Employer’s Identification Number, for two years, so I just went through the motions… ‘Yes, Yes, Confirmed, dah, di, dah, di, dah.’.

My assertions to both infant-companies were rejected as invalid a fortnight later

I emailed them and explained that none, not even one, of my circumstances had altered, so I couldn’t understand the problem. They both insisted that they had no idea either and that I had to take it up with the Inland Revenue Service.

However, fortified by the knowledge that Smashwords and Lulu were happy with my tax details, I was having none of that, so I resubmitted the online forms. I was confident that his would iron out ‘a glitch in their system’.

However, it didn’t, so a fortnight later, I resubmitted them again.

And then again.

I was genuinely happy when Kindle accepted my details, and expected CreateSpace to follow suite any day, but I had an email today saying that I had to sort the matter out with the IRS, because ‘they had no idea’ why my details were being rejected.

Somehow, this didn’t look like a real problem to me, or just my problem, because CreateSpace would just stop me 30% Withholding Tax, and the US government would happily accept my donation.

So, at the US equivalent of 09:00, I phoned the IRS. I thought it would be ‘normal office hours’ like in the UK – nine to five. It isn’t, it’s more like 07:00 to 22:00, due to multiple time zones, I guess. In the UK, we’ve only got the one.

So, I Skyped them and made my selection from the options. The voice advised that I had 15-30 minutes to wait, but when I got through 59 minutes and 40 seconds later, I was told I was in the wrong department. The lady redirected me, and 43 minutes and 21 seconds later, I was told that that department could only deal with individuals, not companies, so that man apologised and redirected me to… yet another false line.

After four hours, a nice lady told me she couldn’t help me because she didn’t know what my problem was. I explained that I would shortly be stopped 30% tax, but I didn’t have to pay it. She said to tell that to Amazon. I said that I had… four times.

“Sorry, Sir,’ she reiterated, ‘I cannot help you.”

‘Who can then!?’ I asked somewhat frustrated.

“I don’t know, Sir. Ask Amazon.”

“But they said to ask you!” I replied.

“I don’t know, Sir, she replied, but I cannot help you.”

It is now the morning after and I have no idea where to go from here on this issue. I don’t blame the IRS, I blame Amazon, or more accurately CreateSpace, an otherwise great company that it is, but it’s accounts department is shyte.

I suggested they compare my records in their computer with those at Kindle that were deemed all right.

“Sorry, Sir, we can’t do that, we are separate companies and personal tax information is private.”

Arrrgh!

On the plus side, I asked the last person to just check that I was down as a foreigner thinking that that would at least exempt me from tax,

“Sorry, sir,” she replied, “but we do not hold those details, if you have an E.I.N. you are an employer.”

I thought that that was strange too.

Just another Manic Monday by The Bangles sprang to mind.

by +Owen Jones

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