How I Got My US Personal Tax Number

It took 4 tries and $80, but I have my US personal tax number!  Talk about a time to celebrate!

If you're going through this process, you're probably starting to feel like you're applying to take over the Presidency.  But tax people and accountants, they want everything perfect, so unless you adhere to that bar of perfection you'll get back a rejection letter to your request for a US Tax Personal Tax Number, or as it's termed: ITIN.

Why get a US tax number as a Canadian?  There is a treaty in place with the US that makes it so Amazon cannot withhold 30% of your earned royalties ,if you have this number.  In other words, that's 30% in your pocket faster.

I'm going to lay everything out in step-by-step instructions.  First, you find the online form here.  Remember, this applies to Canadians.  For other countries there would be a different article number (I'm sure).

You'll need to have acceptable forms of identification.  This can get tricky, but the easiest way and least expensive (I found) was to send them my original passport.  Don't worry, I got it back the 2 times it took to finally get things right!

If you don't send your original passport, you'll need to provide 2 pieces of identification and have them notarized by a US notary public or by a foreign notary.  (From there it goes "whoop" over my head.  Hence, the original passport.)

The top section is very important.
Check off A and H.  Fill it in to look just as in the above-noted picture.  (If you click the picture, it should enlarge it on the screen for you.)

On line H, put this:  1(d) - Royalty Income
Beneath that line, enter treat country:  Canada  and the treaty article number Article 12

Now fill out the rest of the form, leaving nothing blank.  If it's a spot that doesn't apply to you, write N/A.

Review the form to make sure everything has been filled in.  Sign at the bottom (Signature of Applicant), enter the date, and your phone number.

On the line beneath your signature, write n/a, delegate's relationship to applicant, n/a.

If you have questions, you can call the IRS at 267-941-1000.  This number applies for international calls.  Note, they will not help you fill out your form, step-by-step, but they should provide you with your country's treaty article number.

But you're still not done. 

Once you have your identification ready to go, the form completed, signed and dated, you need to include this letter from Amazon along with it.  This is the back-up "proof" that confirms your reason for needing a tax number.  Here is a link to the letter.

Just put the date as the start of the year, and put your legal name (the one with which you are providing identification for) in the to line.

Now, may I also suggest you make a copy of your completed ITIN form and the letter you alter from Amazon.  Note the date, on your copy, of when you mailed it.  Do this for two reasons: 1) if you're rejected for any reason (can't see how you would be if you do the above), you have this to refer back on, and 2) you know when you mailed it and how much time has gone by.

It takes about 2 months to hear back from the IRS.  For the application that finally got approved, I expedited the mail on August 30, 2012 and received my tax number in the mail yesterday, October 12, 2012.

Good luck!

Once you get your US Tax Number, you're still not finished, though.  You have complete forms and send them to Amazon.  I'm getting on that next!  I'll update once I've done so successfully.


  1. Congratulation on getting your US personal tax number! An ITIN is a good alternative if you can’t get a Social Security Number, especially for people who have immigrant status. Instead of using SSN, people can use it to obtain a driver’s license or a state identification card. Anyway, I do hope you’ve already finish with all the paper work!

  2. This is a big help for people who want to file for an ITIN, Carolyn! Yes, it is difficult to get this kind tax identification number, but it can be truly beneficial to have one. It actually grants some specific special provisions. For one, there are banks that allow individuals with ITINs to open interest-bearing accounts.

  3. We are talking about money and law here, so it’s just natural that everyone involved would want no glitch in the processing of their tax number. But the good thing is that you’ll feel like an expert document handler once you’re done with the tax number request, filing, etc. Anyway, I’m sure you’re done now with the next steps, so congratulations!

    Bealle Jenner


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