The term ‘Foreign Corporation‘ sometimes confuses people. Though it can also refer to a corporation from a different country, when business advisers refer to a Foreign Corporation or LLC, they are usually talking about a domestic company with permission to operate in a state other than the one the company was formed in. This permission is often called a ‘foreign qualification,’ and it effectively registers your company with the new state so the state can collect taxes. With it, you can open up another branch of your company, or move your base of operations, without changing states. But why would a business want to do that?
Why would you want a foreign qualification?
There are a few reasons why a business chooses to qualify as a foreign entity in other states. One of the main ones being that the company simply wants to expand its operations – sales could be strong in their home state, and they figure they’ll take a crack at opening another store or office in a neighboring state. Since you need permission to do business in another state, they pursue a foreign qualification. However, some business owners also believe that they may save money on taxes by forming a business in a state like Nevada or Delaware, and then qualifying in the state they actually do business in. There are pros and cons to incorporating in another state, so be sure to weigh your options carefully.
The advantages and disadvantages of incorporating in another state are hotly debated. We’ve seen a lot of other business-filing companies and services extol the virtues of incorporating in Nevada or Delaware, but the reality of the situation is a bit more nuanced. More often than not these other companies are trying to convince you of the need of their services and, while we could do the same, we want to actually help people, not just sell them something. For most businesses, incorporating outside of their home state isn’t a good idea. You have to contend with foreign qualification fees, regulations, licensing, and, to top it all off, the main state you do business in will probably still want to collect the same amount of taxes as they would if the business was formed in its borders. So the question inevitably shifts from ‘should you go to another state?’ to ‘in what cases would forming in another state be advantageous?’. Well, you’d typically want to form outside of your home state for the following reasons.
Today on the ABC’s of small business we’ll be covering the basics, and the benefits, of what it means to file for a withdrawal for your company.
We’re onto one of the trickier letters of the alphabet today in our ABC’s of small business segment, but it couldn’t be paired better than with the foreign qualification which answers the question of what a small business should do if they want to legally operate their business in a state that may not be the same one they created the formation in.
Foreign qualifications break down a little like this. If a business wants to operate outside of the state that they formed a formation with, they need to register their business as a foreign corporation in order to obtain that kind of authority. And in many cases, this is a requirement, especially if your company expects to transact business outside of the state lines that they were formed in.
Most business owners start their businesses with the hope that they will expand into other cities, states, and maybe even countries. This business growth is excellent for the economy, excellent for the business owner (is anyone against success?), and great for customers who want options closer to where they are. But moving a business into other areas can mean increased documentation and preparation on the part of the business owner. Continue reading