Accounting and legal

Accounting and tax

Our Compliance Department is an expert in US corporate law. So, our firm will assist our Clients in discharging their annual accounting and auditing obligations. Here are some important points that you must know:

    corporate finance and tax regulations in USA
  1. While the nominal federal corporate tax rate in the United States is 35%, numerous tax deductions and credits are available for business which lower the effective rate below 15%;
  2. Taxable corporate income above US$335,000 is subject to a tax rate of 34%. Below this threshold, tax is imposed ranging between 15% and 34%;
  3. State and local taxes range from 0% to 16%. These sub-federal taxes are tax deductible on federal tax filing;
  4. Corporations may choose their tax year. Generally, a tax year must be 12 months and need not conform to the financial reporting year, provided books are kept for the selected tax year. The tax year may be changed provided authorization from the IRS;
  5. Companies must file federal tax returns and state tax returns. Such returns are self-assessed and tax is payable in advance installments or estimated payments;
  6. Majority of US states do not tax companies incorporated in another state. Therefore, jurisdictions like Delaware and Nevada are optimal states for conducting country-wide business tax free at the state level;
  7. Tax deferrals on foreign-sourced income can be indefinite. Profits of foreign subsidiaries of a USA company formation will only incur American taxes when money is brought back into the country;
  8. There is a complex and graduated structure of dividends taxes in the United States, however the majority of (qualified) dividends are taxed at 15%;
  9. Withholding taxes on transfers to non-US companies is nominally 30%, but is reduced by double taxation agreements on dividends, capital gains, and royalties;
  10. Capital gains tax is also a complex matter in the United States and varies by income bracket and type of capital gain. It generally is 15%, but can be deferred or reduced on things such as property and interest deductions;
  11. Tax deductions are available for numerous expenses, the largest being the federal foreign tax credit. This credit is allowed for income taxes paid to foreign countries. It effectively serves as a sweeping international double tax agreement;
  12. Other credits include credits for wage payments, investments in motor vehicles, alternative fuels and off-highway vehicle use, depreciation of equipment, natural resource and others;
  13. The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is an alternative method for calculating personal and corporate taxes. It uses a separate set of rules to calculate taxable income after allowed deductions;
  14. Municipal and state income taxes vary by state and are imposed if the corporation has a substantial connection (“nexus”) to that state. Nevada, Texas, Washington, Wyoming and South Dakota have no state corporate tax even if a nexus exists. If a nexus does not exist, e.g. for foreign businesses, then no state and municipal taxes are incurred;
  15. Unlike much of Europe, the US used a sales tax rather than VAT. This means that instead of being imposed at all stages of production and distribution, tax is only imposed at the point of commercial sale. Consequently, manufacturers and wholesalers retain a higher profit. Sales tax in US ranges from 0% in New Hampshire to 16% in Illinois;
  16. Personal income is taxed on a graduated system ranging from 10% to 39.6%. All income above US$400,000 is taxed at 39.6%. On average, available deductions typically lower the effective rates to roughly 2/3rd that of the nominal rates;
  17. USA company incorporation mandates all resident businesses to file annual details to update public registers on company status, members names and addresses;
  18. The United States has Double Taxation Agreements (DTA) with 66 countries including: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, South Africa and UK;
  19. US has free trade agreements with 20 countries like Australia, Chile, Canada, Israel and Singapore. These agreements remove tariff and import restrictions, and allow for preferential rights for US companies and citizens. In Bahrain and Oman, for example, these agreements allow for 100% US ownership in all industries;
  20. FTAs are also planned between US and the EU. The Trans-Pacific Partnership to integrate Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam is also in the works;
  21. Healy Consultants Compliance Department assists our Clients to efficiently and completely discharge the annual accounting and auditing obligations in the following ways:
    • Documenting and implementing accounting procedures;
    • Implementing financial accounting software;
    • Preparation of financial accounting records;
    • Preparing forecasts, budgets and sensitivity analysis to better manage financial obligations and ease the process of reporting to the authorities.

  22. It is important our Clients’ are aware of their personal and corporate tax obligations in their country of residence and domicile; and they will fulfill those obligations annually. Let us know if you need Healy Consultants’ help to clarify your annual reporting obligations.

Legal and compliance

Every state imposes its own laws and these do not always have to coincide with federal law. However, there are certain common requirements which are as follows:

  1. All 50 states have adopted the Uniformed Commercial Code which establishes general guidelines for interstate commerce. We recommend our Clients be aware of this code;
  2. A typical USA company formation requires only one shareholder and one director who can be of any age and can reside anywhere. Healy Consultants will guide our clients through all the necessary requirements and incorporation steps;
  3. The company directors are appointed, replaced and dismissed by the shareholders. Only the directors have the power to manage the day to day operations of the company. The identities of shareholders and directors may or may not be only public registers depending on the state of incorporation;
  4. The Memorandum of Association or Articles of Organization (depending on state) is a contract between the shareholders and comprises i) company activities ii) registered office address iii) shareholder and director details iv) share capital and v) profit distribution method;
  5. Most states require companies to lodge an annual financial accounts or reports confirming relevant details of the company for the public register including names and addresses of all directors, address of principal place of business, details of shareholders and their shareholdings and an estimate of annual taxable profits;
  6. Some business activities, under USA company registration require government approvals, permits and licenses. There is an obligation to register particular products with the government, including food, medical equipment, cosmetics, medicine;
  7. Government tariffs vary by product and country of origin. Some examples include a 20% tariff on most vegetables and fruits, 25% on motor parts, 32% on synthetic fabric clothes, 35% on Chinese tires, 48% on sneakers, 100% tariff on French chocolates, 350% on tobacco;
  8. Labor laws in the United States are quite strict and must abide by federal and state regulations. The three main labor laws are the Fair Labor Standards Act, National Labor Relations Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). It is important to check all the necessary requirements prior to signing employee contracts;
  9. When employing local or foreign workers, USA company incorporation requires compliance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, the main set of laws governing labor in the United States, including filling I-9 forms to ensure foreign workers are legal;
  10. Employees on H1-B visas must be paid similar wages as Americans based on anti-discrimination laws. A USA company setup often has to pay thousands of dollars when hiring these skilled H1-B workers and sponsoring their visas;
  11. There are technically no hiring quotes for companies, however there is a fixed number of H1-B visas granted by the government each year. Companies with more than 15% of employees on H1-B visas are deemed “H1-B” dependent and must begin to hire US citizens “in good faith”;
  12. When hiring foreigners, USA company incorporation requires employers to provide “labor certification” to prove US citizens were not denied the opportunity. This certification can be done electronically through Program Electronic Review Management (PERM). One way to circumvent this difficult requirement is to write the job description for the desired foreigner’s specific qualifications and render potential US candidates virtually unqualifiable;
  13. A USA company formation is required to contribute towards their employees social security contributions (6.2%), medicare (1.2%), federal unemployment taxes and state unemployment taxes;
  14. By 2015, employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide full-time workers with (tax deductible) health insurance. Companies with less than 50 employees, may get a tax credit/subsidy for providing health insurance through the Affordable Health Care exchange website.

Contact us

For additional information on our accounting and legal services in USA, please email us at email@healyconsultants.com. Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Paavan Chhabra, directly:
client relationship officer - Paavan
US sec us chamber US dhs US commerce department US irs US sba US aicpa acaus