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Can I work for my uk employer as a contractor.

Can I work for my uk employer as a contractor.

Old Sep 11th 2020, 8:07 pm
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Default Can I work for my uk employer as a contractor.

I'm hopefully going to be moving to the US soon. My company in the UK would like to retain my skills and want to write me up a contract. What is the best way to go about getting paid by them and how do i go about becoming a sole trader in the US? And is there anything that would make this difficult to achieve or is it quite straight forward?

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Old Sep 11th 2020, 8:15 pm
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Default Re: Can I work for my uk employer as a contractor.

To answer the question in your thread title: Yes.

So long as you have a visa that allows you to work in the US, yes you can work while in the US as a contractor for a company outside the US. You will be de facto self employed in the US and should ask the company you work for in the UK to gross-up your pay to include the employer's NI contributions (which they would have paid had you been in the UK) as you will have to pay the higher US SS contribution for employers/ self employed.

It makes no difference where you are paid, nor whether you are paid in pounds sterling, US dollars, or Malawi kwachas, the tax will be the same and you can use either the USD exchange rate on the day you are paid, or the average rate for the year, as published by IRS (ideally you would log the rates as you go through the year, then compare the result with using the average rate and use whichever gives you the lower USD income - that is totally legal and is called "tax management". )
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Old Sep 11th 2020, 10:47 pm
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Default Re: Can I work for my uk employer as a contractor.

Originally Posted by XBricemanX View Post
I'm hopefully going to be moving to the US soon. My company in the UK would like to retain my skills and want to write me up a contract. What is the best way to go about getting paid by them and how do i go about becoming a sole trader in the US? And is there anything that would make this difficult to achieve or is it quite straight forward?
The simplest form of self-employment here is called "sole proprietorship" and seems to require almost nothing except having a taxpayer identification number which is your social security number in this case, if you have one. If not, ask an accountant since I don't know what rules there may be for non-green-card-holders or citizens. Pulaski may know. When you file tax here, you will have to make quarterly advance estimated tax payments by specific dates (so remember to set that aside from every check since you will be paid gross) and any difference (in your favour or against) will be adjusted for in your actual annual tax filing here. There are assorted deductions you may be able to take for your business expenses, including the extra % of FICA tax that you will pay. You will file your taxes in your own name as a sole proprietor along with any other income you or your spouse (if you have one and are filing together) have. You don't need to register anything, just fill out the appropriate forms to report your income and expenses by April 15. The next level up is to form an LLC, which does require filing fees and various other things. I am about to be a contractor for a UK organization, and the sole proprietorship is the route recommended to me by my accountant since it's the simplest. I will have just the one "client" and the risk to me is minimal. Sole proprietorship means that you are personally liable if your business gets sued, etc, whereas an LLC protects you, but in my case, with just one organization paying me and the likelihood of suits being pretty much zero, it made no sense to pay to set up the more complicated LLC.
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Old Sep 11th 2020, 10:53 pm
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Default Re: Can I work for my uk employer as a contractor.

Originally Posted by XBricemanX View Post
I'm hopefully going to be moving to the US soon. My company in the UK would like to retain my skills and want to write me up a contract. What is the best way to go about getting paid by them and how do i go about becoming a sole trader in the US? And is there anything that would make this difficult to achieve or is it quite straight forward?
the most important question is...are you an US citizen? If not what visa will you be using to work and live in the US?
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Old Sep 11th 2020, 11:08 pm
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Default Re: Can I work for my uk employer as a contractor.

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
The simplest form of self-employment here is called "sole proprietorship" and seems to require almost nothing except having a taxpayer identification number which is your social security number in this case, if you have one. If not, ask an accountant since I don't know what rules there may be for non-green-card-holders or citizens. Pulaski may know. When you file tax here, you will have to make quarterly advance estimated tax payments by specific dates (so remember to set that aside from every check since you will be paid gross) and any difference (in your favour or against) will be adjusted for in your actual annual tax filing here. There are assorted deductions you may be able to take for your business expenses, including the extra % of FICA tax that you will pay. You will file your taxes in your own name as a sole proprietor along with any other income you or your spouse (if you have one and are filing together) have. You don't need to register anything, just fill out the appropriate forms to report your income and expenses by April 15. The next level up is to form an LLC, which does require filing fees and various other things. I am about to be a contractor for a UK organization, and the sole proprietorship is the route recommended to me by my accountant since it's the simplest. I will have just the one "client" and the risk to me is minimal. Sole proprietorship means that you are personally liable if your business gets sued, etc, whereas an LLC protects you, but in my case, with just one organization paying me and the likelihood of suits being pretty much zero, it made no sense to pay to set up the more complicated LLC.


You become a "sole proprietor" by engaging in a business activity that generates taxable income; that's all; some business types might require to to register locally with your city/ county for a "busines license", but that typically applies to retail and service companies. That applies irrespective of your immigration status, so even if you are not in the US legally, or hold a visa that does not allow you to work, or you don't have an EAD if you're on a visa that requires separate authorization to work, you are still obligated to file a tax return and pay taxes.* .... Which is why you would need a TIN - it is a common reason for someone to request a TIN - they are not in the US legally, or are not legally permitted to work, so they cannot obtain a SSN but are required to file a tax return and pay taxes. Of course if you form a business entity, separate from yourself, you may need a TIN for the business, for example the LLC that LiW mentioned above - would need a TIN to file returns, unless it is 100% owned by one person, in which case it can piggyback on the owner's SSN/TIN.

* You are obligated to pay taxes even if the business activity you are engaging in isn't legal, with common examples of illegal activities being drug dealing and prostitution.

Last edited by Pulaski; Sep 11th 2020 at 11:46 pm.
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Old Sep 11th 2020, 11:14 pm
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Default Re: Can I work for my uk employer as a contractor.

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
the most important question is...are you an US citizen? If not what visa will you be using to work and live in the US?
I'm married to a US citizen
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Old Sep 11th 2020, 11:20 pm
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Default Re: Can I work for my uk employer as a contractor.

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post
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Old Sep 11th 2020, 11:39 pm
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Default Re: Can I work for my uk employer as a contractor.

Originally Posted by XBricemanX View Post
I'm married to a US citizen
thank you.
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Old Oct 7th 2020, 3:58 pm
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Default Re: Can I work for my uk employer as a contractor.

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
To answer the question in your thread title: Yes.

So long as you have a visa that allows you to work in the US, yes you can work while in the US as a contractor for a company outside the US.
I'm married to a USC and occasionally work remotely when in the US for UK-based clients for my UK-based employer. I believe that as long as the number of days is below an IRS-set threshold (I believe it is a multi-year calculation) then I am not deem tax domiciled and so not liable to US tax. I have an ESTA only.

My reckoning is that this is no different to when I worked for a global firm and used to travel to the US for training, on an ESTA.

Am I "safe" working remote occasionally like this or should I be worried??
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Old Oct 7th 2020, 4:04 pm
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Default Re: Can I work for my uk employer as a contractor.

Originally Posted by Bruiser View Post
I'm married to a USC and occasionally work remotely when in the US for UK-based clients for my UK-based employer. I believe that as long as the number of days is below an IRS-set threshold (I believe it is a multi-year calculation) then I am not deem tax domiciled and so not liable to US tax. I have an ESTA only.

My reckoning is that this is no different to when I worked for a global firm and used to travel to the US for training, on an ESTA.

Am I "safe" working remote occasionally like this or should I be worried??
For short periods occasionally you are likely to be OK, but the more often and the longer the aggregate period, the greater the risk. If your spouse is resident in the US then you maybe more likely to attract attention. I would caution against risking p!$$ing off the IRS
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Old Oct 7th 2020, 5:18 pm
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Default Re: Can I work for my uk employer as a contractor.

Originally Posted by Bruiser View Post
Am I "safe" working remote occasionally like this or should I be worried??
As long as you don't get caught. But legally, doing your regular work (that you would do back home) is not OK.

It's not the same as coming over for a meeting, because meetings are allowed in the VWP whereas your regular work is not.

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Old Oct 7th 2020, 5:43 pm
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Default Re: Can I work for my uk employer as a contractor.

Originally Posted by Bruiser View Post
I'm married to a USC and occasionally work remotely when in the US for UK-based clients for my UK-based employer. I believe that as long as the number of days is below an IRS-set threshold (I believe it is a multi-year calculation) then I am not deem tax domiciled and so not liable to US tax. I have an ESTA only.

My reckoning is that this is no different to when I worked for a global firm and used to travel to the US for training, on an ESTA.

Am I "safe" working remote occasionally like this or should I be worried??
ESTA is just the pre-travel check, when you are admitted it will be as VW-B or VW-T, what you are allowed to do depends on which you are admitted as and that depends on the primary reason for your visit.

Training is allowed on VW-B you can see what activities are allowed here under the B1:
https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the...siness-visitor


The tax issue is totally separate from your work authorization.... but yes the IRS wants you to pay tax even if your are working without authorization. If your husband is a USC you can apply for a GC, but then you will be a resident and taxed as a resident.

Last edited by tht; Oct 7th 2020 at 6:00 pm.
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