While our Charlotte-based law firm is equipped to handle a variety of cases involving business litigation, we also support businesses through a host of transactional services, as well as assist companies looking to get started and those looking to grow in the United States. Our team has extensive experience working with US-based businesses who offshore operations, as well as international companies with operations, employees, or customers in the States. One area the legal team at SeiferFlatow, PLLC is ready and able to assist with is helping international startups entering the United States, as well as scale-ups in the US market.
Amsterdam Capital Week in the Netherlands, an event our firm’s managing partner has attended annually for the past three years, brings in founders from various start-up businesses and scale-up businesses. Generally speaking, a start-up is a new company that is raising capital to get off the ground while a scale-up is a more established company that has established proof of concept, but needs capital to take the company to the next level. Our firm is adept at helping young companies enter the US market either as a traditionally-retained law firm, or in extraordinary cases, as an investor. Choosing the right city and getting good legal work is of paramount importance and can often be critical to a scale-up’s success. Our firm has the experience and knowledge to guide companies through these tough decisions.
From concept to launch, we’re able to help your company establish the proper legal framework needed for US operations. Additionally, there’s no need to find and retain another law office after your startup has begun operating. We are able to work with you as a legal partner to assist with questions as needed; perform preventative checks to keep your company current with changing employee and tax situations; address any concerns with customers, employees, or government agencies; navigate complex litigation situations that may arise; and prepare your company for growth when the time is right. Although it’s best to contact our international business legal team for help with your specific needs, below is a quick-start guide for international startups and scale-ups operating in the US.
Launching as a Startup in the US
- Select a Business Entity: The first step is forming an limited liability company (LLC) or corporation (taxed as partnership or C-Corporation as S-Corporation status applies only to US citizens).
- Register a Business Entity: State laws govern business entities and although anyone (foreign or domestic) can register an entity, there must be a local (state-based) office and registered agent for communication. If your company hasn’t yet established an office, we can assist with business registration.
- Create Corporate Documents: Once approved, governing documents for the entity need to be created. In an LLC situation, this means creating an operating agreement, whereas a corporation would need to structure bylaws. Both types of documentation establish the rights and obligations of the owners and management of the company. This creates proof of authority for necessary business actions and decisions that may be required. Corporations will have additional requirements, including a shareholder vote for a board of directors.
- Tax Setup: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires all business entities to establish a Federal Employer Identification Number (also known as the EIN or FEIN). Additionally, states require securing a State Employer Identification Number or tax ID. Your company, depending upon the type, may also be required to get a sales tax identification number. There are numerous other tax considerations, especially regarding how profits from the company are treated. An experienced attorney will ensure all taxable situations have been accounted for and all essential structures have been created.
- Establish Bank Accounts: Several regulations make it challenging for foreign-based companies to open a US-based bank account, however, your attorney can provide counsel on the correct procedures and required documentation which will ease the process.
- Hire US Employees: There are numerous regulations, restrictions, and requirements when it comes to hiring, employing, compensating, and firing US employees. These laws are both at the federal and state levels, making it difficult for a startup to understand and comply with all requirements. Having a legal agent in the state will help an international startup navigate the scope of legalities surrounding US employees. This includes creating hiring practices, employee documentation, non-disclosure & confidentiality agreements, compensation structures, workers’ compensation policies, and many other documents and policies related to employees.
International Scale-ups in the US
- Reviewing all legal entities, structures, documentation, and policies already established for growth and expansion will be the first item to address if an international company is looking to expand in the US as a scale-up.
- Like with a startup, scale-ups will need to carefully examine hiring practices and procedures, as well as employee documentation. If the company needs to hire several new people quickly, there may be additional concerns or regulations that will apply, depending on the number of employees. An attorney will provide explicit guidance on what changes may need to be made or what new laws will apply to the company.
- Additional customers and offices will also require changes and additions to contracts, agreements, and procedures. An attorney in the state will be able to provide insight on what local regulations will impact business as expansion occurs.
More about SeiferFlatow, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina
Historically, most of our international business clients doing business or operating in North Carolina come from Germany, the Netherlands and Canada. These three countries account for a significant portion of the workforce in Charlotte, NC. Our business clients work with us in one-off (situational) and ongoing (partnership approach) relationships. We are able to provide quick, efficient service to each of our business clients, understanding that time is of the essence when it comes to business operations. We’ve built our reputation on our fast response times and straight-talk approach to handling legal situations.