If you are a foreign national living in the United States and looking to start a business or open a U.S.-based branch of an international business, the legal documentation that must be completed and filed may seem intimidating. To make the process as painless as possible, Mashable writer Nellie Akalp recommends doing the following:
- Incorporate. To do this, you should register your business in the state in which it is physically located. If your business doesn't have a physical location, you may incorporate anywhere in the U.S. According to Akalp, Delaware is considered a particularly "business-friendly" state for accomplishing this.
- Use a registered agent service. A registered agent can receive any business-related documents (e.g. renewal notices, lawsuit documentation) on your behalf. This is especially necessary if your business does not have a physical location in the U.S.
- Obtain a tax ID number. Secure an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if you do not qualify for a Social Security number, or an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if you do. These identification numbers allow the IRS to keep tabs on your business.
- Set up an American bank account. This often requires proof of incorporation. While it's easier to accomplish in person, opening a bank account in the U.S. can still be done from overseas.
- Hire an accountant to get a grasp on the multi-national tax policies you must adhere to. "Ideally, you will want to get an accountant with offices in both your home country and the U.S.," Akalp advises.
- Keep up with compliance paperwork. This includes filing an annual report with the state in which your business is incorporated, as well as the minutes of an annual business meeting.
Incorporating your business in the U.S. as a foreign national is a wise investment, but comes with its share of hurdles. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.