Set-up Online Store (e-commerce) in USA


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We are based in India and wish to set-up online store of Organic Products (Food and Textile) in USA under a brand name. I have few questions about this:
- Do we need to set-up a company there i.e. USA or we can manage from here i.e. India?
- If we have to setp-up a company, how we can go about this?
- Which state is recommanded to set up online store for tax advanatge and logistic services i.e. warehouse (we prefer East Coast)

I shall be travelling to USA in Feb/March 2011

Any suggestions is appreciated.

I would also like to know the Legal Formalities and license which one has to take to start the e-commerce website. Regards,

Manuj

Ecommerce Incorporation Legal

asked Oct 26 '10 at 18:44
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Manuj
51 points

3 Answers


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Maju,
You do not have to setup a company in the USA but it may be a good choice.
As a foriegn company it would be tough for your clients to trust you, it would be hard to get a merchant account to process credit cards, and if your site is hosted offshore it would be slower than one hosted in the USA.

I would recommend setting up a corporation in the USA.
This corporation can be owned by a company you own in INDIA, it would have to apply for IBC tax status with the IRS. (international business company).

As for states:
Deleware is the #1 choice for corporations because it has a seperate court system to handle corporate disputes.
Nevada is a good choice because it is privacy friendly, and also a good choice because the state has no sales tax. This is very important versus being in california where you would have to charge a 8% sales tax to all CA residents on your orders.

Nevada aslo has another advantage, it has low cost living resulting in lower costs of your employees salaries if you were ever to setup in the USA.

As far as logistics work, i would try to be near kansas. The closer to the middle of the USA the better your logistics would be. You can also outsource your logistics and warehousing to UPS.

After setting up your corporation (you will likely need to hire an attorney to do this and be your agent for service), then you will have to get an EIN with the IRS, apply for IBC status. Once you have an EIN you can setup a USA bank account. At that point you are just like any other USA corporation and ready to do business.

Look for a web host or colo in the USA. Build your site. Get a toll free number or USA number, even if you plan on forwarding it to INdia.

--- Another choice Manjus is to find a USA entrepenuer to partner with. You may find that it will be more adventagous for you not to be in the retail business in the USA but rather have strong retail partners here.

Regards

FB

answered Oct 26 '10 at 20:18
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Frank
2,079 points
  • Thanks that was very informative. Let me check with UPS about the logistics. I plan to form LLC. We also have web company so that shall take care of the website and hosting needs. (we already have dedicated server is USA). The idea of looking for a partner seems good since we are also looking for funding. But, any idea how we can contact them from India. Regards, Manuj – Manuj 8 years ago
  • Finding a partner is a difficult task. I would approach it more as a relationship, where you are the supplier and you find a qualified person in the USA to invest in selling your product. Lets say you manufacture cosmetics, you find someone in the USA that is looking to get into the cosmetics business and tell him the benefits of selling your line. Giving him/her exclusivity may be an approach to attract a serious partner. Make sure the sell the benefits of your product versus the competition. This is a good way to think, because if someone is willing to sell your product, its likely that – Frank 8 years ago
  • there is a real market for it, or potential. I would structure it where you supply the product, (depending on the costs, with credit terms, or drop ship fullfillment agreements). Your marketing partner would focus on building the brand in the USA, sales, marketing, customer service, etc. If you share the product I am sure someone here may be able to help you out or point you in the right direction. I also know Alibaba.com is popular for trade leads, but i have never used it myself. best of luck. FB – Frank 8 years ago
  • y: That was very informative and useful. Let me explore the possibilites and options I have to move forward. I just want to do my homework before i land in USA. – Manuj 8 years ago
  • Thanks, Best of luck and much excitement on y our new venture. – Frank 8 years ago

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You do not need to set up a company in the U.S., but you will certainly need to "foreign qualify" your business in whichever state you do business in, which is essentially the same thing. It helps tax wise to have a separate entity doing business in the U.S. as well. If you plan to do business online and in several states, Delaware is the number #1 place to set up a business. However, you will still have to register (i.e. "foreign qualify") your business in your headquarters state (e.g. New York) even after you set up your business there. Hiring a lawyer to help can be an advantage as usually shelf top corporation services just set up the corporation and that's it. When dealing with overseas business, you have many more complicated things to consider that need planning based on your individual situation.

answered Jan 4 '11 at 12:28
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Alex Naegele Lawyer
653 points

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I have helped more than two dozen clients go through the process you are asking about. There are many relevant posts on my blog - start with Foreign Companies: Form a New Corporation when You Come to the U.S. Locate your business operations (warehouse) where it makes the most sense to do so from the business perspective. Then form your corporation in that state. Please see Why (not) Incorporate in Delaware? Disclaimer: This post does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

answered Oct 27 '10 at 03:20
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Dana Shultz
6,015 points
  • Thanks, let me check the links and will get back on this. – Manuj 8 years ago

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