Inefficiencies detected

  1. Download the Lulu revenue report for the month of January.
  2. Note that the report says “N” under the “Withholding” column.
  3. Remember that I haven’t submitted a W-8BEN form to Lulu. This confirms to them that I’m a “foreign entity” for tax purposes and allows them to stop withholding 30% tax on my revenue (there’s a tax treaty between UK and US, so I pay the tax in the UK not in the US).
  4. Look at the Lulu Knowledgebase page on tax withholding. It says nothing about how to get a completed W-8BEN form to Lulu.
  5. Browse and locate the Knowledgebase page “How do I get a W-9 or a W-8BEN on file at Lulu?”
  6. Note that this document, contrary to its title, does not explain how to get a W-9 or a W-8BEN on file at Lulu. Instead it waffles and then suggests I contact Support if I “have any questions on how to submit” my form. I do indeed have a question. My question is “how do I get a W-8BEN on file at Lulu?”
  7. Attempt to search the user forums for an answer to this question before I contact the maze of twisty passages all alike that is Support.
  8. Note that Lulu’s user forums do not have a search function.
  9. Sigh.
  10. Flip a nearby table.
  11. Navigate to Lulu’s support page.
  12. Identify which of the four options offered — “My order”, “Professional services”, “My ISBN or distribution” or “ website” — is most likely to cover issues on tax and revenue. It’s “ website”, of course.
  13. Complete a support ticket asking the question not answered by the page claiming to answer the question.
  14. Receive an immediate automated email response including the answer to the question.
  15. Wonder why this answer isn’t included in the page alleging to answer the question.
  16. Note that the answer says “W-8BEN form must be received in hard copy”.
  17. Note also that the answer says I can fax Lulu my form.
  18. Wonder how, in “hard copy” terms, “fax” differs in any significant way from “email a PDF that someone can print”, the latter option not being offered.
  19. Decide that emailing a PDF is disallowed for the same reason that faxing is allowed: “because the US government lives in the 1980s”.
  20. Sigh.
  21. Flip a faraway table.
  22. Decide that this is all a monstrous faff since the “Withholding” column in step 2 was “N” and I barely sell anything on Lulu anyway.
  23. Profit!

One thought on “Inefficiencies detected

  1. Following your instructions, I downloaded the Lulu revenue report for January.

    It said she earned £3k in royalties for her performance on the Take That single “Relight My Fire”.

    I didn’t understand the relevance of the remainder of your article.

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