I have been contacted to write a small piece for a dictionary of artists (published in Germany). It is a reputable publishing house and I would be paid a small amount to write the text (only £50 or so). They have forwarded me the guidelines, sample writing etc. by email as well as a payment form asking for bank details and a 'tax number'. I'm assuming this tax number is an equivalent of the UK's NI number, but i'm really not sure. I've mentioned the article to a few people and their immediate reaction was 'I wouldnt send my details to someone I didn't know', but I suppose its no different than the information you would send a new employer, and seeing as they are based in Germany email makes sense. Just wondering if anyone else has had any paid experience writing for European journals/magazines/books and could lend me a bit of insight
Yes the nearest equivalent to a German tax number is our NI number, and it's a requirement for payment in Germany (the German tax authorities need these records for the publishers' tax calculations, but it's incredibly unlikely that they'd check whether you'd declared the payment to the Inland Revenue). Perfectly normal to send bank details too as the only way they can pay you is through a bank transfer. So long as you've checked it's an OK publisher i.e. not one of the multiple names based in Saarbruecken who want to publish every undergraduate essay you wrote (and as you mention payment it's almost certainly not them), it sounds prefectly fine to me.
That's what I thought, thanks for reassuring me! the publishing house is De Gruyter and its an established encyclopedia with multiple volumes already published, so seems fine to me too. Regarding Inland Revenue, how on earth do you go about declaring a one off payment of less than £100?!
Technically you are meant to write them a letter to tell them. But honestly for that amount of money, I really wouldn't think it's worth it. It would cost them more to process than they'd get in tax. There might even be some small print somewhere setting a threshold for additrional income before it needs declaring.
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