Topic: Telling Amazon to shove it
~~~ DISCLAIMER ~~~ DISCLAIMER ~~~ DISCLAIMER ~~~ DISCLAIMER ~~~ DISCLAIMER ~~~
I am making this post 100% independent of Chumby and the chumbysphere Forums. Even though I am only a volunteer moderator and my posts should never be interpreted to officially (or unofficially) represent Chumby or chumbysphere Forums, I want to make it very clear that this post is not made in any official capacity!
In case you hadn't noticed, Amazon Payments has been asking for your Social Security Number, "to comply with federal regulations". What they don't tell you is that these federal regulations do not require you to provide your SSN unless you have over 200 transactions a year, or transactions totaling $20,000 or more in a year... they just ask you for it anyways, even if you've never been on the receiving end of a transaction on Amazon.
Well I don't really feel comfortable providing a private business with my SSN, so I decided to see what I could do. Turns out, the IRS makes it easy for you: you can apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number) online. Here's how I suggest filling out your application:
Type of legal structure: Sole Proprietor (you're effectively in business for yourself, so this is true)
Select "Sole Proprietor" again when asked to choose between that or "Household Employer"
Reason for requesting an EIN: Banking purposes (you're getting it to shut Amazon, eBay, Paypal, etc up)
Fill out your personal information truthfully, including your SSN. This is the IRS, they have it already anyways. Mark that you are the sole proprietor.
More about the Sole Proprietor: Fill out truthfully (likely no for all options)
What does your business or organization do: Retail (assuming you've ever sold anything on eBay or Craigslist, this is true)
You have chosen retail: Selling goods exclusively over the Internet (eBay, Amazon merchant, etc qualify for this, I think Craigslist does as well since the transaction is initiated online)
I then gave Amazon my shiny new EIN (no hyphens) and my name/address (which they really already have anyways -- make sure you use the same name/address as indicated in the personal information on your application)... and they happily accepted it. Presto, Amazon will stop pestering you for your SSN (which they have no right to if you don't meet the federal requirements).