Taxpayer Identification Requirements for AbeBooks Booksellers

AbeBooks is required by the United States government agency responsible for tax collection, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to report annual gross sales information for U.S. taxpaying sellers via Form 1099-K. According to IRS regulations, Form 1099-K will only be filed for sellers who exceed both US $20,000 in gross sales and 200 transactions within a calendar year. However, to ensure full compliance with IRS regulations, AbeBooks policy requires that all booksellers meet the following requirements, regardless of sales volume:

  • U.S. taxpayers are required to provide their Taxpayer Identification Information to AbeBooks via Form W-9.
  • Non-U.S. taxpayers with a U.S. bookseller address, paid in U.S. funds, with a U.S. bank account on file, or otherwise presumed to be in the U.S., are required to provide IRS Form W-8BEN to AbeBooks in order to remain exempt from U.S. tax reporting requirements.

Online versions of Form W-8BEN and Form W-9 are available through your AbeBooks account. To provide the required information to AbeBooks, simply follow the steps below.

  1. Sign on to your AbeBooks account with your email address and password.
  2. In the ‘My Account Stats’ section of the Members Menu, click ‘Tax Identification Status.’

Please complete all fields and provide all information requested on the form. Avoid misspellings or errors in entering Tax Identification details, either of which can result in an invalidated tax form.

For detailed instructions on completing either Form W-9 or Form W-8BEN, please visit the IRS website.

Frequently Asked Questions

General:

Why is AbeBooks asking for this?

AbeBooks is required to file IRS Form 1099-K to report annual gross sales information for U.S. taxpaying sellers. Non-U.S. taxpayers with a U.S. bookseller address, paid in U.S. funds, with a U.S. bank account on file, or otherwise presumed to be in the U.S., are required to provide IRS Form W-8BEN to AbeBooks in order to remain exempt from U.S. tax reporting requirements.

For more information about IRC 6050W, please see the IRS website.

Where in the Internal Revenue Code can I read about these regulations?

The regulations are under section 6050W of the Internal Revenue Code. Please see the IRS website for more information. Please be aware all the information is only available in English.

Do the new regulations apply to all AbeBooks sellers?

All AbeBooks U.S. taxpaying sellers and any non-U.S. sellers with a U.S. bookseller address, paid in U.S. funds, with a U.S. bank account on file, or otherwise presumed to be in the U.S., are required to provide taxpayer identification information to AbeBooks.

How do I provide AbeBooks with the required information?

To provide your information to AbeBooks, simply follow the steps below.

  1. Sign on to your AbeBooks account with your email address and password.
  2. In the ‘My Account Stats’ section of the Members Menu, click ‘Tax Identification Status.’

What happens if I don’t provide the required information?

If you are identified as a seller who is required to provide valid taxpayer identification information but you fail to do so, your selling privileges may be suspended.

What can I expect from AbeBooks?

All AbeBooks U.S. taxpaying sellers and any non-U.S. sellers with a U.S. bookseller address, paid in U.S. funds, with a U.S. bank account on file, or otherwise presumed to be in the U.S., must supply AbeBooks with taxpayer identification information.

U.S. taxpaying sellers must provide the required information via IRS Form W-9; non-U.S. taxpaying sellers must provide the required information via IRS Form W-8BEN.

All new sellers required to complete tax information are asked to provide the informaion within the Bookseller Application. Already registered sellers who are later identified as requiring the information, i.e. due to an address change, will be notified by AbeBooks, and will have the ‘My Tax Identification Status’ in their Members menu. There will also be a ‘To-do’ list item entitled ‘Enter My Tax Information’.

If requested to do so, please provide the required information as soon as possible. It only takes a few minutes and then it will be removed from your “To Do” list. Simply follow the steps below.

  1. Sign on to your AbeBooks account with your email address and password.
  2. In the ‘My Account Stats’ section of the Members Menu, click ‘Tax Identification Status.’

I am not located in the U.S. and I don’t pay U.S. taxes. Do I still need to provide my taxpayer identification information?

IRS regulations require AbeBooks to report on all U.S tax-paying sellers; in order to remain exempt from those requirements, all non-U.S sellers with a U.S. bookseller address, paid in U.S. funds, with a U.S. bank account on file, or otherwise presumed to be in the U.S., must supply AbeBooks with taxpayer identification information.

An online version of Form W-8BEN is available through your account – simply follow the steps below:

  1. Sign on to your AbeBooks account with your email address and password.
  2. In the ‘My Account Stats’ section of the Members Menu, click ‘Tax Identification Status.’

What is my Tax Identification Status?

Your Tax Identification Status will be displayed in the ‘My Account Stats’ section of your Members Menu, and will link to online versions of Form W-9 and Form W-8BEN.

The six tax statuses, and their required actions, are as follows:

Tax Identification Status – Required Action:

  • No Tax Identification Provided – Complete Tax Identification Form
  • Form W-9 Completed – No Action Required
  • Form W-8BEN Completed – No Action Required
  • Form W-9 Validated – No Action Required
  • Invalid Form W-9 – Please re-complete the Tax Identification Form
  • Invalid Form W-8BEN – Please recomplete the Tax Identification Form

Do these regulations apply to non-profit organizations?

Yes, these regulations apply to both non-profit and for-profit organizations.

Can I contact Customer Support to provide the information over the phone or in email?

No, Customer Support cannot collect this information. To help protect the security of your taxpayer identification information, please do not disclose it by email or over the phone.

Why is my Tax Identification Status invalid?

Your tax information is validated by the IRS, who does not provide AbeBooks with the reason your tax identification information was returned as invalid. Please contact the IRS for assistance.

Will I get a copy of my Tax Information?

You will be able to print a copy of your completed Form W-9 or W-8BEN upon completion of the form through your AbeBooks Members Menu. If you do not print the form immediately upon completion but wish to reference the form at a later date, you will need to complete it again, in its entirety, in order to print it at that time.

Can I send you a paper copy of these forms?

Yes. If you would like to send a paper copy of either a W-9 or W-8BEN form, please mail the completed original form to the address below. AbeBooks does not accept responsibility for lost or stolen mail.

AbeBooks Inc.

Attention: Department 427

Suite 500 – 655 Tyee Road

Victoria, BC, Canada, V9A 6X5

Once I complete the form, what will happen with my information?

US sellers: Once you’ve completed the online W-9 form, the information provided is forwarded electronically to the IRS for validation purposes only. If validation fails, you will be notified by email that corrections are required.

Once the information has been successfully validated, it will be held on file, for use by AbeBooks in filing Form 1099-K as required.

Non-US sellers: The information provided via the online W-8BEN form will be held on file and provided to the IRS if required (e.g., during an audit to demonstrate why a Form 1099-K was not filed).

Can AbeBooks help me with my tax return?

While we are committed to helping sellers understand the requirements under these tax regulations, we do not provide tax guidance. Please contact a tax professional.

NON-U.S. Taxpaying Sellers

What is Form W-8BEN?

W-8BEN is the official IRS form for sellers to declare that they are not US tax payers, and therefore not subject to IRS reporting requirements.

What information is required on Form W- 8BEN?

Non-U.S. taxpayers are required to provide:

  • Name of Individual or organization
  • Country of Incorporation
  • Permanent Address
  • Mailing Address (if different from Permanent)
  • Electronic signature

If I have multiple seller accounts will you require tax information for each of them?

Yes, if you have more than one account under the North American Bookseller Agreement, we will require your taxpayer identification information for each account.

Does form W-8BEN affect my personal tax payments or any other aspects of my existing tax reporting processes?

Form W-8BEN is an IRS (US Tax Authority) information collection and reporting form. For additional information on Form W-8BEN and the tax reporting process, please contact a tax professional.

US Taxpayers

What information am I required to provide to AbeBooks?

To ensure that we report accurate information to the IRS, we will need you to provide the following:

  • Business contact information (physical address, email address, telephone number)
  • Legal name
  • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
  • Electronic Signature

A TIN is required by the IRS for the administration of tax laws. Your TIN is either an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a Social Security Number (SSN).

Learn how to obtain an EIN at the IRS website.

What does legal name mean?

For Form 1099-K reporting purposes, your legal name is the name you use for filing your federal income tax returns, or the legal business name used with the IRS to obtain an EIN on Form SS-4. The legal name on file with AbeBooks must match the legal name on file with the IRS. If you do not know what legal name the IRS has on file for your business, please contact a tax professional or the IRS.

How and when will I know each year whether Form 1099-K will be filed for my seller account?

We will track your gross sales and number of transactions, and if they both exceed the IRS reporting thresholds ($20,000 and 200 transactions) by the end of a calendar year, we will send Form 1099-K to you, as well as to the IRS, early the following year.

You will also be able to tell if you have exceeded the thresholds by monitoring your gross sales and number of transactions.

Is the $20,000 calculated based on net sales or gross sales?

As required by the IRS regulations, the $20,000 is calculated based on unadjusted gross sales. Gross sales are defined as total sales, including shipping, unadjusted for fees or refunds. The amount the buyer paid for an order is the gross sales amount for the order, even if a rebate applies or the order is later refunded.

Doesn’t the gross sales amount change if I refund an order?

No. When you make a sale, the order total becomes a permanent part of your gross sales for the year. Even if you later refund the entire amount a buyer paid for an order, the order total is still included in your gross sales calculation. The IRS regulations require that no adjustments to gross transaction amounts be made. It will be important that you maintain appropriate records to adjust the Form 1099-K reported amounts. Please seek advice from a tax professional to understand the appropriate adjustments when preparing your tax return.

Will you file Form 1099-K for my seller account if I only exceed one of the two thresholds?

No. Unless you exceed both thresholds ($20,000 in gross sales and 200 transactions) we will not file Form 1099-K for you.

If I have multiple seller accounts that exceed the IRS reporting thresholds when the account totals are combined, but that do not exceed the thresholds as individual seller accounts, will you file Form 1099-K for my combined seller accounts?

Yes. Accounts with the same TIN under the North American Bookseller Agreement will be filed on a single Form 1099-K as required by the new regulations.

Will I get a copy of Form 1099-K?

If your gross sales for a calendar year exceed $20,000 and you have more than 200 transactions in that same year, you will get a copy of Form 1099-K early in the following year in the mail.

Does Form 1099-K affect my quarterly tax payments or any other aspects of my existing tax reporting processes?

Form 1099-K is an annual information return. For information about how Form 1099-K may affect your existing tax reporting process, please contact a tax professional.

I received an email stating that my tax identity information is invalid. I thought I provided my correct information. Can you tell me why it came back invalid?

Your tax information is validated by the IRS, who does not provide a reason to AbeBooks as to why your tax identification information came back as invalid. Here are some things to consider:

  • If you are completing the tax identity information as an individual US taxpayer, use the information that appears on your Social Security card.
  • If you are completing the information as a business US taxpayer, use the name that appears on your CP575A notice from the IRS if you are providing a business name.
  • Misspelling your name, not including your middle initial or middle name, or entering an incorrect Tax Identification Number may cause tax identity information to not match to IRS records.