Question: I am a non-resident alien who is considering creating a foreign-owned, single member LLC in the US to sell digital products exclusively to customers in Europe through ClickBank.com. My question is whether this would be considered doing business effectively connected with the US and if I would be required to pay US taxes?
Answer: As an international tax expert, I know that navigating the complex world of taxes can be a daunting task, particularly for nonresident aliens who own a US-based single-member LLC. Ensuring you have a comprehensive understanding of your tax obligations is crucial for legal compliance and peace of mind.
To clarify, nonresident aliens are taxed on US-sourced FDAP income and US-sourced income that is effectively connected to a US trade or business. For a single-member LLC owned by a foreign person, the entity is considered a disregarded entity for tax purposes. This means that the income, deductions, credits, and losses pass through to the owner of the LLC, and the owner is responsible for reporting this information on their tax return. The LLC itself is not required to file or pay taxes.
Based on the information you provided, it appears that the income generated from the sale of digital products exclusively to European customers would be foreign-sourced income, and there would be no US tax implications unless you have an office or other fixed place of business within the United States to which the income is attributable. In summary, the activity you described is unlikely to be considered effectively connected income.
It is important to note that if an LLC has elected to be treated as a corporation, it will be required to pay taxes on all sources of income, regardless of whether they are US-sourced or foreign-sourced income. For corporations, the distinction between effectively connected income and non-effectively connected income is not relevant with regards to how domestic corporations are taxed.
A foreign-owned LLC may need to file various federal tax returns and information returns, depending on its tax classification and ownership structure. Some forms that may be required include:
- Proforma 1120 and Form 5472: If the LLC is a foreign-owned single-member LLC, it may need to file a proforma 1120 and Form 5472 with the IRS.
- Form 1065: If the LLC is treated as a partnership for federal tax purposes, it will need to file Form 1065 with the IRS.
- Form 1120: If the LLC has elected to be treated as a C corporation for federal tax purposes, it will need to file Form 1120 with the IRS.
In addition to considering your US tax and information reporting obligations, it is crucial to be aware of the potential tax consequences in your home country, country of residence, or the parent company’s domicile country. Consulting with a local expert within that jurisdiction is always advisable.
In conclusion, if you’re a nonresident alien concerned about your US tax obligations, it is essential to seek the assistance of a qualified and experienced CPA. As a CPA, I am here to help you navigate the intricacies of the US tax system and ensure that you comply with all IRS requirements. Don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss your tax situation further, and I will be more than happy to help.