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Using my Limited Company to working in the USA

I want to understand how easy it is to work in the USA using my limited company.

Didn't find your answer?

Hi All,

I run my own limited company with just me as the director and secretary. My skills I contract out consist of design and development services which up until now have always been inside the UK. 

I now plan to move to USA without a working VISA for a 3 month contract with a client. My question is:

  1. Is this legal? Of course without having a working VISA I will be on a holiday visa, but is it legal to work in the USA without a working VISA?
  2. How will I charge this client? Can I charge them the standard way I charge my clients in the UK which is just invoicing them and supplying them my bank details (bearing in mind this will be English bank details and not an American bank account).
  3. How would paying tax work? Do I still charge my client the normal 20% VAT? And do I pay any additional taxes because I am in USA.

Any other information or support around working in USA using your Limited company would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Michael

Replies (28)

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RLI
By lionofludesch
06th Jan 2018 17:03

I don't think you'll find many experts on US law on this forum but, I'd be surprised if it was as easy to work there as just forming a company.

If it is, I'm sure Donald will be on to closing that loophole.

Why don't you post on the US version of AWeb ? They'll have a better idea than us.

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By andy.partridge
06th Jan 2018 17:14

When I have visited the US there has always been a totally humourless officer who asks me what I am doing there and his long I would be staying.

They are not the type to bullshit. I think you might know the answer to Q1, which rather makes Q2 and Q3 superfluous.

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Replying to andy.partridge:
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By wincyss1
06th Jan 2018 17:31

Thanks for your response. You can stay in the USA on a holiday VISA for up to three months. My thinking with this is because I am conducting work through my limited business I can technically work anywhere in the world? I'm just looking for a bit more insight around this.

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Replying to wincyss1:
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By andy.partridge
06th Jan 2018 17:48

Indeed, you can stay in the US for 3 months on holiday with a holiday VISA. That hardly describes your circumstances.

I think you are suggesting that the rules might not apply to you personally because you are working via your limited company and that doesn't constitute working.

I believe this is a mistake. You will need, at the very least, a Business Visitor VISA or to apply for a Business Visitor Visa waiver.

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Replying to wincyss1:
RLI
By lionofludesch
06th Jan 2018 18:13

wincyss1 wrote:

Thanks for your response. You can stay in the USA on a holiday VISA for up to three months. My thinking with this is because I am conducting work through my limited business I can technically work anywhere in the world? I'm just looking for a bit more insight around this.

I think you're dreaming, pal.

Get a dictionary and look up "holidays" and "working".

They're not the same thing.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By wincyss1
06th Jan 2018 20:11

Thanks for the obnoxious comment, much appreciated

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Replying to wincyss1:
RLI
By lionofludesch
07th Jan 2018 17:06

wincyss1 wrote:

Thanks for the obnoxious comment, much appreciated

Obnoxious ?

Look it up while you have the dictionary out.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By wincyss1
07th Jan 2018 17:08

Yes- your unpleasant comment. Maybe you didn't quite understand. Congrats keyboard warrior.

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Replying to wincyss1:
RLI
By lionofludesch
07th Jan 2018 17:15

Hey - no problem to me if you get yourself arrested and deported. I'm just trying to help.

That's the standard of query we get these days. If you don't agree with the OP's crazy ideas, you get abuse.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By wincyss1
07th Jan 2018 17:22

Absolutely nothing to do with not agreeing with me, there is nothing to agree with, I'm asking a question incase you didn't notice. It was the rude obnoxious comment which wasn't needed. If somebody is on her asking for help, either give help or just don't reply.

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Replying to wincyss1:
RLI
By lionofludesch
07th Jan 2018 17:44

I gave you help 24 hours ago. First response on the thread.

But you're still here, instead of on the US forum or, better still, a legal forum.

If you're just wanting somebody to agree with you, sure - go ahead with your holiday visa, in spite of pretty much universal advice to the contrary. If you get stopped by the Immigration folk, just say "well, they said it was OK on AWeb". I'm sure it'll all be fine.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By wincyss1
07th Jan 2018 18:05

Actually I already posted onto the USA forum, I did it straight away after your comment.

There is no agreeing, it's an open discussion which I don't understand why your rude comments are needed.

Regardless I've reported you and your comment anyway and hopefully won't have to deal with you again.

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Replying to wincyss1:
RLI
By lionofludesch
08th Jan 2018 07:32

I thought it was fair comment. You said "I want to understand...." I pointed you in a direction which would help you understand "work" and "holiday".

We get a dozen threads like yours a week. Joe Public comes on with a crazy idea. Doesn't like the answers he gets. Runs off roaring.

Same old story ..........

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By wincyss1
08th Jan 2018 20:25

You was being rude, and you know you was. It's ok because you are behind a computer screen which is a little sad actually.

This forum is made for people coming on and asking questions for things they don't know, expecting to get help. I'm not really sure why you're here. I think twitter is more suited to keyboard warriors.

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Replying to wincyss1:
RLI
By lionofludesch
08th Jan 2018 22:02

Well, that's the standard of grammar you get from would-be illegal immigrants these days.

I save you from rotting in a US jail and that's all the thanks I get.

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Replying to wincyss1:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
09th Jan 2018 09:55

wincyss1 wrote:

This forum is made for people coming on and asking questions for things they don't know, expecting to get help. I'm not really sure why you're here. I think twitter is more suited to keyboard warriors.


No, this forum is for finance professionals. The fact that you cannot see why this plan is a complete non-starter shows you aren't one.

This is a ridiculous question to ask, and you have got mocking answers as a result. The fact that you'd rather start a fight than take on board the good advice still contained in those answers tells me all I need to know about you.

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
06th Jan 2018 18:38

The USA is one country in the world (there are others but they tend to behead) in which I would never wish to break their rules, especially re what is possibly a Federal crime.

No idea of the tax status of both you and your company, no idea your/your company position re state taxes that might arise, but given the Americans seem to have a tendency to love attempting extraditions I doubt I would just have a go.

It is certainly the sort of thing where if caught out a lifetime ban on visiting the US would be likely, whether it went beyond this hard to tell.

Any country that asked agroup of 12-16 year old Boys Brigade members whether they had ever been members of the [***] party is not one to annoy.

*** =A Web,context please, N*A*Z*I. is not a proscribed word or half our history books are going in the bin.

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By sarahg
06th Jan 2018 21:35

You can use the ESTA to visit the US for meetings, etc, but you cannot use it to work for 3 months. To do this you would need a work visa.

If you end up working for the US company, from the UK you will need a EIN number for your limited company to avoid withholding tax. You will also need to complete a W8-BEN-E form which they will require.

Basically, you cannot just choose to go and work in the US, the visa stipulations are really tight and I really wouldn't mess with them.

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By pauljohnston
07th Jan 2018 06:38

Can I just clarify that you intend to go and work in the USA. If so read the above - if you are intending to work for a US company but live somewhere else in the world then your idea may have legs. But you must take professional advice from an accountant/lawyer who will advise you of the pitfalls and tax consequences.

Personally I would work realy hard in the uk and then take a three month holiday in the USA. If whilst you are there the opportunity for work raises its head then ask a US accountant the pros and cons before starting.

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Replying to pauljohnston:
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By andy.partridge
07th Jan 2018 10:07

Even that could land the OP in trouble. Holiday means that and only that. Any business related activity - meetings, conferences etc. need to be disclosed in advance and the appropriate VISA obtained.

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Replying to pauljohnston:
By Tim Vane
07th Jan 2018 16:58

The ultimate problem here seems to be that the OP does not grasp the concept that going to the US on holiday and going there to work are not the same thing, possibly because he assumes holiday just means "going abroad". It was suggested earlier that the OP looks up the terms in a dictionary, but I think he missed the point (or at least he was very rude about it which suggests he didn't really grasp what was being said). Ultimately, if the OP is unable to understand the fairly basic premise of a holiday visa then there is little that can be done to dissuade him from going ahead.

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Replying to Tim Vane:
RLI
By lionofludesch
07th Jan 2018 17:07

Luckily, I'm not bothered about that.

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By Glenn Martin
08th Jan 2018 21:21

I have a client who works regularly in US doing maintenance and warranty work on specialist machines.

The VIsa is something you need to discuss with immigration people not an accounting forum. I think the US company seem to fast track his visa as if the machine breaks they need him there within a few days.

He just invoices the US company as if he would anyone else so not a big issues tax wise.

The main issue is what I would call more business and operational issues. Getting paid is difficult in that they seem to have funny payment terms where you get cheques which don’t clear for 60 days. Also insurance is really expensive to cover you in the US.

Also my client couldn’t be bothered to wait for the fork life driver to return from his break to move something. So jumped in and done it himself and caused havoc amongst the unions and nearly caused the factory to get closed down.

Also he also quotes all jobs in $ and has a dollar account to get paid in to avoid conversion fees.

Banks are really uneasy with opening $ Accounts now and will take some doing and will be passed up to head office to approve.

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Replying to Glennzy:
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By wincyss1
08th Jan 2018 21:45

Thanks for the input I'll check it out further!

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By pauljohnston
15th Jan 2018 20:39

wincyss1 - The forum is as you say for answers to questions they dont know. Most are practicing accountants who provide practical advice free of charge.

YOU have had the advice for free. If you dont like it or the response is not what you expected you must go and find a professional who can provide the answer you want.

Please dont write unkind things about others giving advice or the moderators will prevent you from using the forum. Personally I think you have had your questions fully answered.

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By atleastisoundknowledgable...
16th Jan 2018 09:06

Doesn’t Channel 5 have a programme about this, called ‘Border Patrol’ or something similar?

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Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
RLI
By lionofludesch
16th Jan 2018 09:33

Funnily enough, on the very day this thread started, there was a piece about a bloke who'd arrived from the US on a holiday visa, complete with his work tools.

Politely put on the first plane back and told not to bother applying for a work visa for three years.

I wasn't going to mention it but now that you have ....

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