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What are required licenses to have an online business like providing online services in California?

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I'm a non-American living in Malaysia, plan to register a company in California and sell my services internationally using the company address in USA. Can I provide my personal account for the online transaction? Do I need a to pay tax to US over my income? Do I need a specific license other than ITIN or EIN?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Very common question: we have helped many businesses in a similar situation.

    It sounds like you want a US business, US bank account, and US address, right? It sounds like you want to route payments through this company while working from Malaysia. I imagine that your primary goal is to have a US business for market appeal. Is all this correct? Please correct any misunderstanding.

    In similar situations, businesses can establish a US company and bank account. Note that most banks require physical presence to open an account. The company will then want to implement a corporate structure or a transfer pricing strategy that will reduce or eliminate income taxes in the US. With all this in place, a business can enjoy the benefits of a US company without overpaying taxes in the US.

    We need to confirm a few more details, but these kinds of structures are surprisingly simple and inexpensive to establish. I hope this information helps!

    Portage Bay Law PLLC is an international law firm that give companies doing global business the knowledge and confidence they need to comply in any country. Our answers on this site do not constitute legal advice, nor do they establish an attorney-client relationship. The only thing that can do that is a signed Engagement Letter and Fee Agreement, which you can get by contacting us through www.portagebaylaw.com.


  2. My colleague Mr. Heine raises very good points. In addition, on the issue of "licenses" much would depend on the industry, much on the location of the company for a local business license, and other factors (PS the EIN or ITIN are not licenses.)

    You are welcome and invited to contact our office in Southern California or one of our many great Avvo colleagues in Nothern California.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  3. I believe this is the third or fourth question you have asked.

    It is impossible to provide a definitive answer without knowing many more details.

    You cannot gain all of the information that you need by asking a series of piecemeal questions. You should retain a tax advisor and a lawyer who have experience serving international clients. Explain precisely what you want to accomplish, so they can tell you the best way to do it.

    This information does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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