Foreigner opening online store in the USA

  1. I'm from Europe, don't plan to move to the USA
  2. I will open an ONLINE store ONLY (no physical stores)
  3. Goods will be imported from Europe
  4. Shipping will be handled by the fulfillment company

I am unsure which way to go when starting a company:

a) LLC OR C CORPORATION? I'm leaning towards C corporation because I feel we'll look more trustworthy.
Does C corp. mean a lot more work for me as the owner or just a little bit more? How about the costs?
Is LLC an option at all since I cannot be taxed on a personal level since I'm not a US citizen? AFAIK LLC is not taxed with corporate tax, but rather the owner pays income tax?

b) WHICH STATE? Does it really matter, money-wise (tax-wise)? As far as privacy issues go, I hear that Delaware and Nevada are a good choice?
I suppose I don't have to worry about the sales tax since I won't have a nexus because of online-only presence?

I am looking for the most cost effective and long-term solution.

Ecommerce LLC Incorporation Tax

asked Aug 27 '11 at 09:04
21 points
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1 Answer


Before you jump in I would check to see if you even need to open any company in the US unless its for marketing image or direct representation purposes.

I would recommend speaking to a local lawyer, but anyone can buy anything from anywhere, the tax is typically paid by company selling, in the country they are operating out of.

So the most cost effective solution seeing your using a fulfillment company anyway, is to keep going as you are without any US company, just market your website approparitely to attract your target audience.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not a lawyer, professional advice is the appropriate course.

answered Aug 27 '11 at 18:07
Robin Vessey
8,394 points
  • An interesting point actually. Payment will be credit cards and PayPal anyway, delivery is taken care of by fulfillment company - I think that could work. The only problem I see is that (I think) Americans don't really trust anything that isn't American. That is why I thought I'd just go an establish a company there. – Superbiz 12 years ago
  • Yeah, that is why I said "for marketing image" but these days I think its opening up like the rest of the world is ... I think you would have a small percentage drop off but I don't think its anything like a 25% or 50% for small $ high volume sort of thing. It changes as the price increases to around the $25K mark where they want to know you can support them, but that happens here (Australia) as well. – Robin Vessey 12 years ago

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