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Open a Non-US citizen LLC Bank account not in person

Asked by: jean  — 14 June, 2012

Hi there,

1. I need a bank account without having a Social Security Number (SSN) and with online banking, visa or master card debit card, and the ability to initiate both local and domestic wire transfers online, ie: without having to physically visit a local branch office.  If this is not possible would this do through a lawyer? There are online companies that sell LLC and bank account kit and they pretend that you can do it online. They can do it for prices up to $750 per kit. A DE Company said this is a felony.

2. I also want to open an LLC in DE. I am told that CA is likely to be better. Is it correct from the point of view of taxes and liability?

3. If my business is going to be in the Affiliate Marketing industry, what should be the “doing business” definition? Basically I will have an LLC in DE or CA as well a Bank acct but the business is online like SEM and so on. Then beneffit goes to my Bank acct.

4. As a result of the issue 3 is having a bank acct on CA and a LLC in DE a situation when you have to pay taxes in the both of the states?

Answered by: admin  — 14 June, 2012

Dear Jean,

1. A question of companies offering to open a bank account for a foreigner that is not physically present in front of a banker is a fishy one. Today I would be very suspicious about any company offering such service, as all reputable banks we have approached explained the same thing to us over and over – the current regulations restrict banks to open accounts for personally identifiable individuals presenting enough proof of identification and address and signing documents in front of a banker.

To open an account on behalf of a company a company representative must be present, and the definition of representative can vary from bank to bank. Obviously, an owner or officer listed on the Articles could serve as one, other documents such as EIN letter, Resignation of Incorporator/Organizer, Operating Agreement, Bylaws, Corporate Resolution etc listing such individual would probably be accepted by most banks as a proof. That representative would become personally responsible for this bank account, which also includes risks if the activity on the account would be labeled as suspicious, so third party services that used to offer such service nowadays no longer do so out of fear of prosecution.

2. I am not sure who advised you about CA vs. DE, but as far as I know people only register in CA if they have absolutely no choice. If your company has physical presence in California you would need to register your company there, either as foreign or domestic entity. However, if your business has no physical presence in the US, Delaware would definitely be the state of choice if compared to California.

3. I’m not sure I fully understand your question, but if you are running an online marketing business that exactly how I would define it.

4. Neither Delaware not California tax LLCs (the tax is applied directly on the member personal income as this is pass-through entity). With that being said you should consult an accountant who specializes in taxation of foreign individuals owning US companies. Also, you can have a DE LLC with a bank account in California – that fact alone does not create physical presence in California.

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