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How to start a US Business? Advice needed -please.

How to start a US Business? Advice needed -please.

Old Jan 26th 2011, 8:30 am
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Default How to start a US Business? Advice needed -please.

We have a business in the UK that represents around 1% of our actual turnover, the majority of the rest of the business is in America (95%), Canada (3%) and Australia (1%). The idea is to start a US registered business (pay tax on it in USA etc), then hopefully move to the USA in 5 to 6 years when fully established.

But my questions are:

How do I register a US business?
How do I open a US bank account?
How do I take credit card payments?

What I am trying to do is set everything up from the UK as I am a UK resident and national.

The reason for the US credit card payment solution is that we are actually missing orders for our products at the rate of $40,000 to $60,000 per month. Also we have been appointed Federal Government approval for a product and they will noly pay by credit card.

Any ideas on setting up a US business and the relative other maters would be greatly appreciated.

Graham
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Old Jan 26th 2011, 9:48 am
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Default Re: How to start a US Business? Advice needed -please.

Originally Posted by GrahamG View Post
How do I register a US business?
How do I open a US bank account?
How do I take credit card payments?
Without trying to be obvious, these are excellent questions for the US attorney you will hire to handle such things!

Registering a US business largely depends on the laws of the state in which the business is registered. Some states are more business-friendly, others aren't... but there are 50 to choose from! Another reason why you'd want to get an attorney in place beforehand.

For banking, I suggest a US-branch of an existing UK bank... or, if none currently exists... find one!

For credit card payments - that would be based on an agreement between you (well, your company) and each of the major card companies.

Ian
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Old Jan 26th 2011, 9:55 am
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Default Re: How to start a US Business? Advice needed -please.

Ian, thank you for your coments.

Ok, so I have to find a lawyer who will handle the business set up - I didn;t know that, I was pointed to Delaware to set up an LLC, but I don't know if this is a good idea?

So I guess I search for lawyers in Delaware?

Maybe the lawyer could point me in the right direction for the bank.

I use Streamline in the UK, so I was thinking about something similar or an equivalent in America, is there such a thing?

I don't want the US earnings to come to the UK, as I want the money to stay in America, this (I think) will affect the move in years to come, if not.

Once again, thank you.

Graham

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
Without trying to be obvious, these are excellent questions for the US attorney you will hire to handle such things!

Registering a US business largely depends on the laws of the state in which the business is registered. Some states are more business-friendly, others aren't... but there are 50 to choose from! Another reason why you'd want to get an attorney in place beforehand.

For banking, I suggest a US-branch of an existing UK bank... or, if none currently exists... find one!

For credit card payments - that would be based on an agreement between you (well, your company) and each of the major card companies.

Ian
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Old Jan 26th 2011, 10:04 am
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Default Re: How to start a US Business? Advice needed -please.

Originally Posted by GrahamG View Post
Ok, so I have to find a lawyer who will handle the business set up
You don't have to have an attorney, but I think you'll sleep a lot better at night if you have a professional working for your best interests... especially someone who is more familiar with US business requirements.


I was pointed to Delaware to set up an LLC, but I don't know if this is a good idea?
Delaware - very business friendly! Many major corporations are registered in Delaware... including most of the credit card companies!


I use Streamline in the UK, so I was thinking about something similar or an equivalent in America, is there such a thing?
I've not heard of Streamline in the US. I was thinking about AmEx or RBSG... but I'm sure there are other options. In the US, RBSG does business via Citizens Financial and Charter One. Still... it's a starting point.

Good luck.

Ian
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Old Jan 26th 2011, 10:13 am
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Default Re: How to start a US Business? Advice needed -please.

Thank you Ian so much!

Yes, I wil for sure take legal advice! And I will also investigate the US banking part.

Again thanks.

Graham
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Old Jan 26th 2011, 10:33 am
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Default Re: How to start a US Business? Advice needed -please.

I set-up my US business with a company called Legal-Zoom. They advertise on the radio all the time. They are based in LA but can setup a US business in any state. Their service was very cheap but good. I recommend them.

HSBC USA may be one option for banking. I use Capital One for my business and they are OK.
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Old Jan 26th 2011, 1:54 pm
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Default Re: How to start a US Business? Advice needed -please.

We set up our S-Corp ourselves - the paperwork was very straightforward, but our decision process was a little easier as we needed to be incorporated in Texas. If you can go fo the pick of the litter so to speak, it may well be worth talking to a professional to get pointed in the right direction.

Our bank account as a lot more hassle setting up than the corporation. A significant amount more paperwork was required. Not sure if that is the case with all of the banks, or if Wells Fargo are the exception, but it wa a pita!

Credit card set up was a doddle. We didn't do too much via credit card (and we do none now so I'm out of date by a few years), so were more concerned with ease of operation rather than absolute lowest fees. We went with the Costco Merchant program which was simple to set up and operate and handled all the major cards under one roof.
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Old Jan 26th 2011, 2:16 pm
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Default Re: How to start a US Business? Advice needed -please.

Originally Posted by GrahamG View Post
Thank you Ian so much!

Yes, I wil for sure take legal advice! And I will also investigate the US banking part.

Again thanks.

Graham
You don't need a lawyer, but they are helpful if you're not sure what form of entity to setup.

The actual paperwork and filing is quite simple.

Delaware is big business friendly, but may not suit your needs.
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Old Jan 26th 2011, 4:36 pm
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Default Re: How to start a US Business? Advice needed -please.

Registering a US business is extremely easy - can be done in 15 minutes - you will need to hire a registered agent in a US state to receive official paperwork though. I used http://www.delawareinc.com/ but many others will do.
Once your business is registered, opening a US bank account is very easy too, you just show up at a bank with your paperwork.
Many ways to take credit-card payments, you can use authorize.net or paypal or many many other options.

Why are you assuming you will have to pay US tax? LLC's in delaware by non-resident aliens pay no taxes to the US at all.

Legalzoom is well known - and is being investigated for unauthorized practice of law...

Originally Posted by GrahamG View Post
We have a business in the UK that represents around 1% of our actual turnover, the majority of the rest of the business is in America (95%), Canada (3%) and Australia (1%). The idea is to start a US registered business (pay tax on it in USA etc), then hopefully move to the USA in 5 to 6 years when fully established.

But my questions are:

How do I register a US business?
How do I open a US bank account?
How do I take credit card payments?

What I am trying to do is set everything up from the UK as I am a UK resident and national.

The reason for the US credit card payment solution is that we are actually missing orders for our products at the rate of $40,000 to $60,000 per month. Also we have been appointed Federal Government approval for a product and they will noly pay by credit card.

Any ideas on setting up a US business and the relative other maters would be greatly appreciated.

Graham
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Old Jan 26th 2011, 10:03 pm
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Default Re: How to start a US Business? Advice needed -please.

Originally Posted by GrahamG View Post

Ok, so I have to find a lawyer who will handle the business set up - I didn;t know that, I was pointed to Delaware to set up an LLC, but I don't know if this is a good idea?

So I guess I search for lawyers in Delaware?
Delaware is generally a popular spot for tax reasons, also quite favourable if you sell the business.

Easy enough to do, there are plenty of businesses that'll represent your company as a "director" for a annual fee, and you'll need it to set up there if you don't have a presence.
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Old Jan 28th 2011, 2:04 am
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Default Re: How to start a US Business? Advice needed -please.

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
Delaware - very business friendly! most of the credit card companies!
and South Dakota.
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