Publishing on Amazon: Other Important Matters

Publishing on Amazon: Other Important MattersWe covered how to publish your ebook on Amazon KDP in detail in our last post. But the big question everyone wants to know is this: HOW DO I GET PAID?

You gotta have several things first before you start seeing any money:

  1. Sales
  2. A US bank account
  3. A W-8BEN

Amazon pays royalties “approximately 60 days following the end of the calendar month during which the sales were made.” This means two months after the month in which you sold your books, so if you made any sales in January, you’ll probably receive your money at the end of March/beginning of April.

Yay, money! Right? Unfortunately, as a Malaysian, it’s not that easy. You’d wish that you could just enter your bank account number and see the money roll in. Nope.

The first we can’t help you with. Sorry. For the other two, here are some general tips on how to get set up.


Update your Author/Publisher Information

Go to your account (the link on the top right-hand corner) and fill up your publisher information.


Amazon Account: Author Info Screenshot

Full name here is your official name, according to your IC. This is NOT your pen name. This information will not be shown to the public anywhere—it’s only for finance use.

I’m pretty sure you know how to fill in your own address so…

Getting Paid

If you’re a super patient person (or you don’t have a bank account with any of the recognised marketplaces), you’ll have to wait for a cheque. Which will only be paid AFTER you reach $100 in the respective marketplace. Note that this is AFTER applicable tax withholding too. Meaning, you’ll need to get about $143.00 in royalties in the US Kindle Store before you’ll get a cheque ($143.00 – 30% = $100.10).

Amazon payment thresholds (screenshot)
Screenshot from

And no, Amazon does not pay out through Paypal, so that’s not an option.

What IS an option (and the one we’re currently using) is Payoneer (referral link). What Payoneer does is it sets you up with a US bank account (and others, but you mainly only need US) so that you can opt for payment via direct debit/EFT. Enter the bank details given by your Payoneer account into Amazon and voila, you’re getting monthly royalty payments*!

Tax Information

Malaysia does NOT have a tax treaty with USA, so all your royalties is subject to a 30% withholding tax. What you need to do is fill up the W-8BEN, which is a very simple document.

W-8BEN screenshot
This is what it looks like.

Some websites will ask you to download the form, fill and upload, others (like Amazon) allows you to fill it directly on the site. Most of the stuff is self-evident, but here are the parts you’ll probably have questions about:

W-8BEN extract

#5 – Leave this blank. The SSN (Social Security Number) is only applicable if you live and work in the US (which, if you’re reading this, you’re probably not) and the ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) is only applicable if you’re paying taxes in the US (which, if you’re based in Malaysia, you’re probably not). You CAN apply for an ITIN, but we can’t give you any advise you on that.

#6 – Fill in your Malaysian tax number here (usually SGxxxxxxxxx). If you don’t have a tax number because you’re not taxable yet, you should write “not legally required.”

#7 – Leave this blank. This is usually if you have some funky tax arrangements, which if you’re just trying to self-publish an ebook, you likely don’t.

W-8BEN extract

Leave this whole section blank because Malaysia doesn’t have a tax treaty or any special rates to claim. 🙁 You have to pay that 30% withholding, okay? (Not happy? Take it up with the gomen.)

Right! So now this is filled up, sit back, relax, and wait for your money to roll in*!

More questions? Ask away! We’ll dig up some answers for you.


*Assuming you’re making some sales la har. 😉


  1. Chris says:

    Hi, I’m Chris from Malaysia. Does that mean i have to set up an account with Payoneer in order to avoid the 30% withholding rate? Then after the money has been transferred in Payoneer account, i have to transfer it out to my Malaysia Local Bank Account right? Thanks.

    • admin says:

      Hi Chris!
      Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to avoid the 30% withholding rate even if you use Payoneer because Amazon would take off the 30% before transferring your royalties. This is regulated when you fill up the W-8Ben and isn’t dependent on the location of your bank.
      What Payoneer does is help you get your money faster, instead of having to accumulate $100 for a cheque to be written.

  2. Giza Clix says:

    Hello, can you please tell me what do I do with W8BEN (Non US) after I receive it from amazonKDP. I live in the UK – Do I have to send it to the IRS or what? When they say download the form does it mean to keep a copy for your self or do I have to send it to the IRS and pay something? It is very difficult to find information about it. Please help

    • admin says:

      Hi Giza,
      The W8BEN is the form you need to fill up to confirm that you are not a US citizen for tax purposes. You should save the form for records but you don’t need to send it to the IRS.
      At the beginning of the following year (usually March), Amazon will then issue you the previous year’s tax form, eg, in March 2019 you’ll receive the year-end tax form for 2018. This form (1042-S) is what you use to declare your royalty income to IRS.
      As you’re based in the UK, this post will probably help you more:

  3. Anass says:

    Hi, thank you for the article.
    I wonder if there is any hack to avoid the 30% whithholding, what if i pretend living in france ?? it will works or not.

    • admin says:

      Ha! I don’t think I can comment on that. It’s your good name and reputation (and living) that’s at stake if you try messing with the IRB…

    • admin says:

      If you are based in Malaysia/ are a tax resident in Malaysia, you would still need to declare this income in Malaysia. Malaysia does not have a double taxation treaty with the USA 🙁

    • admin says:

      You would escape the 30% withholding tax, but this would make you eligible to pay local taxes to the IRS, depending on where your business is located. Please consult a tax agent to understand the how taxes in the USA work before you do this.

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