How to Run a Business in the US from Overseas
Whether you've had your own business up and running for years or recently opened a new business and need to expand on a global level, starting an LLC in the United States is the best way to gain traction and increase credibility. The actual process of running a business from overseas can be tricky.
Requirements for Forming an LLC
If you'd like to open a business checking account, a merchant account or a branch in the United States, you'll need to form a C corporation or a limited liability company. An S corporation can only be formed if all shareholders are United States citizens.
While the United States doesn't place any type of restriction on how many shareholders there can be, other countries like India might have different requirements. It's best to check with a local expert prior to forming your business and choosing shareholders.
Basic Requirements: Forming an LLC
Once you've decided which state to form your LLC in, you'll need to follow some specific guidelines in order to meet all the requirements:
- Choose a name for your company - While choosing a name sounds like an easy task, you'll need to verify that it's available within the state you choose.
- List a registered agent - A registered agent is someone who is required to have a physical address in the state you register your company, and be available during business hours to accept mail and sign for important documents.
- Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number - Also known as a FEIN, this number is issued by the IRS and is used when dealing with taxes and opening bank accounts in the United States.
While you may choose to register your company in any state you desire, Delaware, Wyoming and Nevada are normally considered as business friendly, especially for businesses based overseas.
Running your Business from Abroad
Now that everything is set up, it's time to run your business.
First, you'll need to set up a virtual office if you plan on running your U.S. based business from India. Virtual offices almost always include a physical address, phone number and fax machine. If mail is received at your virtual office, the company may even offer to scan it and email it to you for an additional fee.
If you plan on accepting payments from U.S. customers, opening a merchant account or an actual physical location, you'll need to open a bank account. While this has become an increasingly difficult task because of new laws, there are still a variety of options available with just a bit of research.
Complete Required Annual Tasks
Starting an LLC in the United States comes with many requirements. You'll need to stay on top of these in order to continue operations.
File an annual report- Every year, you'll need to fill out an annual report that lists any updates made to company owners, registered agents or physical addresses. You'll also need to pay a fee for filing this report with the state of your choice.
Pay Taxes in the United States- Depending on your country of residence and whether or not you have permanent residence status in the United States, all business owners will need to pay taxes on income gained within the country. While specific advise cannot be given on tax-related issues, it's best for the business owner based overseas to perform due diligence research on any potential taxes that might come out of their pocket.
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