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Can a Non-US Resident Open an LLC in the US?

A group of people discussing the process of filing an LLC, important considerations, and guidelines for non-citizens

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Despite what you may have heard, it is perfectly legal for a non-US person (non-resident alien) to register a US LLC. In fact, there are several benefits to doing so—including tax breaks and the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. If you’re thinking about starting an LLC, read on to learn more about the advantages of registering as a non-US resident.

Tax Benefits

One of the biggest benefits of opening a US LLC for a non-resident is the potential to save on taxes. If your LLC is structured properly, you may be able to avoid paying any US taxes at all on your profits! That’s because as a non-resident, you will only be taxed on income that is “effectively connected” with a US trade or business. So if your LLC doesn’t have any US-based employees or a physical location, chances are its profits will not be considered effectively connected and therefore won’t be subject to US taxation.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can completely forget about your US filing obligations. You’ll still need to file an IRS 5472 each year to inform the IRS that your company is more than 25% owned by a non-US person. But overall, the tax burden for a non-resident owner of a US LLC is often much lower than it would be if they were doing business through a foreign company.

Simplified Banking

Another benefit of having a US LLC is that it can make banking simpler and more convenient. If you’re trying to open a bank account for your business as a non-US resident, you may have found that many banks are reluctant to work with you. But if your business is registered in the States, banks will often be more receptive. That’s because they know your company is subject to US laws and regulations, which makes them feel more comfortable extending services to you.

And once you do open up a bank account for your LLC, you’ll find that there are all sorts of convenient online tools and apps that make managing your finances easier than ever before. From online bill pay to mobile deposit, to using services like Stripe or PayPal, there’s no reason why running your US business should be any less efficient than running a non-US company.

Improved Credibility

In today’s global economy, businesses need to be able to operate in multiple countries in order to succeed. And if you’re trying to do business in the States as a foreigner, having a US LLC can give you a significant advantage over the competition. That’s because when potential customers see that your company is registered in the United States, they’ll automatically perceive it as being more credible and trustworthy than a foreign company. After all, the United States has some of the most stringent laws and regulations in the world when it comes to businesses, so customers know that if you’ve been able to navigate those regulations successfully, you must be doing something right!

Conversely, if you’re trying to do business in the States without having a US entity, customers may view your company as being fly-by-night or unprofessional. So if credibility is important to you, it’s definitely worth considering setting up an LLC in the United States.

Flexibility and Location Independence

Lastly, registering a US LLC as a non-resident alien gives you the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. If you have clients or customers in the United States, there’s no need to go through the process of getting a visa—you can simply enter the country on a tourist visa and conduct business as usual. Similarly, if you decide to move abroad or travel extensively, running your business from afar is much easier when you’re not tied down by lease agreements or other physical constraints.

Verdict: Overall, there are many compelling reasons for entrepreneurs who are not US residents to consider setting up an LLC in the United States. From reduced taxes to improved credibility with customers, there are plenty of advantages to doing business through a US company. So if you’re looking for ways to optimize your business and get ahead of the competition, setting up an LLC should definitely be on your radar!

About Author

Picture of Rick Mak

Rick Mak

Rick Mak is a 30-year veteran businessman, having started, bought, and/or sold more than a dozen companies. He has bachelor's degrees in International Business, Finance, and Economics, with masters in both Entrepreneurship and International Law. He has spoken at hundreds of conferences around the world during his career on entrepreneurship, international tax law, asset protection, and company structure. Business Anywhere Editorial Guidelines

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