What do you need to register for an Amazon Seller account?
You need to be a resident of one of the countries accepted for registration (see the link in the references section). You need to have an address, valid phone number, and internationally chargeable credit card.
In addition, as part of the registration process, you may be asked to provide the following documentation:
For individual identification, government-issued photo ID (e.g., Permanent Resident card or passport). The document needs to show the following fields:
- Date of Birth
- Expiry Date
- Signature of the bearer (if applicable)
- Country of issuance or country of citizenship
For business identification, you may be asked to provide confirmation of business identity. For example:
- Business registration documents (certificate of incorporation, business license, etc.)
- Proof of business address (mailed bank statements, utility bills, etc.)
What does it mean to be a resident for Amazon Seller registration purposes?
For Canadian Amazon Sellers that would be a permanent resident or a citizen status.
Can I use my Canadian bank account for registration?
Yes. But you will be charged a 3.5% currency conversion fee when you are transferring the amounts to Canada for your U.S. sales. A USD checking account with a Canadian bank would not work either (in fact you may be charged the conversion fees twice) i) when Amazon sends you the money to a USD account in CAD and ii) when your bank converts the delivered CAD amount back to USD).
We recommend opening a separate cross-border USD checking account (see the link in the references section). Some banks like RBC, BMO and TD are offering these types of business accounts.
Having a separate bank account will also save you some FX conversion costs if you want to pay your suppliers in USD directly from your account without paying an exchange, credit card or PayPal fees.
Do I need to open a U.S. business entity (LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp) to register for an Amazon Sellers account?
No. You don’t need to open a U.S. entity to start selling on Amazon in the U.S. In fact, it will add another layer of compliance and complexity to your business.
What type of Canadian entities can register for an Amazon Sellers account?
You can register your business on Amazon as one of two entity types:
- Individual / Sole Proprietorship
- Business (Partnership or Corporation)
Should I open a Canadian corporation to sell on Amazon?
A corporation is not a requirement. You can sell as an individual seller / sole proprietor. Opening a corporation should be a business decision unique to your circumstances.
Do I need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to start selling on Amazon.com as a Canadian seller?
No. You don’t need an EIN to start selling on the Amazon.com account.
When do I need an Employer Identification Number (EIN)?
If you are planning to use Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) services and import goods into the U.S., then you will need an EIN for filing your income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as well sales tax and state tax returns with individual states. You also may be asked to provide an EIN or W8/W9 forms when you deal with U.S. vendors.
How can I get an EIN?
If you need an EIN, you can call the Internal Revenue Service at 1-267-941-1099 Option 1 (not a toll-free number). The agent will ask a few questions. For example:
- Are you based in the U.S.?
- If not, what country is the business located?
- What is the mailing address?
- What type of entity are you?
- What is the legal name of the entity?
- When was the business started?
- How many people work in the company?
- What is the reason for applying?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will send you a letter to the mailing address provided. Please make sure you save that letter when you receive it.
Note that once you obtain an EIN, the IRS will expect you to start filing income U.S. tax returns for that entity on an annual basis. Your compliance costs will increase as you will start needing an accountant who is familiar with e-commerce and U.S. filing requirements for Canadian companies.
If you don’t need the EIN any longer, you may request the IRS to close your account in writing. The account cannot be closed if you have any returns or taxes outstanding with the IRS (link for more details in references).
What are the forms W9, W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E and when do I need them?
The form W9 identifies you as a U.S. taxpayer. It can only be provided by U.S. individuals or tax entities.
The forms W-8BEN (for individuals) or W-8BEN-E (for businesses) identify you as a foreign person or entity. By law, non-resident payments are subject to the U.S. withholding tax of 30%. These forms establish your status as a foreign person or entity and may decrease the withholding tax to 0%, depending on the tax treaty between the U.S. and the country where the foreign person or entity is resident.
The U.S.-Canada Tax Treaty reduces the withholding taxes paid by foreign Canadian entities to 0%. You should have that form available if any of the U.S. vendors request it.
Note that filling out forms W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E does not release you from the responsibility to file U.S. income tax returns if you earned Effectively Connected Income in the U.S.
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