The first question many international business owners ask is, “how much will it cost to launch my business in the U.S.?” Calculating the fees, taxes and costs associated with launching and operating a business in the States can be daunting. A good way to get started is to speak with a good accountant.
Introducing Stephanie Chapman, principal of Corporate and International Services at Belfint, Lyons & Shuman, and an outstanding international accountant and member of the Global Delaware Concierge Team.
Stephanie is a certified public accountant who specializes in U.S. taxation of international commerce. She has helped international businesses of all sizes succeed and grow in Delaware and throughout the world.
Stephanie is an active member in several financial organizations, including the International Tax Special Interest Group for Prime Global, the American Institute of CPAs, the PA and DE Society of CPAs, the Wilmington Tax Group, and a Tax Committee for the Delaware Society of Certified Public Accountants. She has also authored two publications for the Delaware Bankers Association: “Delaware Tax Credits – Putting Money Back in the Bank” and “Offshore Banking – How FATCA and OVDP Are Closing the Tax Gap“.
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Good morning Stephanie! Can you explain what you do to help international businesses launch their business in the U.S.?
First, I help business owners identify the best business structure for the company in the U.S. Most international business owners think they need to form a corporation, but it often makes more sense to form a Limited Liability Company (LLC). I work with clients to figure out which entity is best suited for their type of business and present them with the most cost-effective option that keeps their taxes as low as possible.
I help business owners calculate the expenses, taxes, and fees they are likely to incur when they open a business in the U.S. I also help them to consider other important factors that may incur additional expenses, so they can have a realistic understanding of the actual costs of opening an office here. In addition, I help investors with federal reporting requirements and tax filings to make sure they don’t make mistakes or miss deadlines that could result in costly penalties.
Many people have heard that Delaware is “tax free.” Can you shed some light on this matter?
Delaware has no sales tax, value added tax (VAT) or inventory tax, which makes it a very attractive state for forming and operating a company, compared to other states in the region. That’s not the same as tax-free, however. Many Delaware businesses pay a gross receipts tax, and most businesses and residents still have tax obligations, such as income taxes and property taxes. Companies formed in Delaware also pay annual state fees, and businesses must pay federal taxes to the U.S. Government. It is fair to say, however, that overall Delaware companies pay less tax than companies in many other states.
Do you work for the State of Delaware, or are you in the private sector?
I am a certified public accountant (CPA) at Belfint, Lyons, & Shuman, an independent accounting firm. I’ve been with the firm for about eight years, and I work with international businesses from all over the world. My colleagues and I at Belfint collaborate with the State of Delaware to help businesses succeed here in the State. I have joined Global Delaware on several business trips around the world to help entrepreneurs looking to bring their business to Delaware.
How do you help international companies achieve success here in Delaware?
I work closely with international business owners to understand their goals. Then we work together to make sure they have the information and contacts they need to succeed. I have many professional connections throughout the state and make referrals so that business owners can access a wide network of resources. Also, I understand that business owners are trying to gather a lot of information quickly, so I try to respond quickly to help investors achieve their goals. I’m very flexible and willing to work with clients in different time zones. I’m also available on email and Skype.
Do you charge a fee to work with international business people exploring opportunities here?
The first consultation is free, then we charge at an hourly rate. At the first consultation, I work hard to ensure sure the client has a clear understanding of the steps needed to expand their business to the U.S. Together we develop a plan to guide our business relationship.
How do you think your partnership with Global Delaware can benefit business owners?
As part of Global Delaware’s Concierge Team, I can help provide the support that international businesses need so they can go to work quickly and efficiently as soon as they get here. My colleagues and I are well-versed in international business matters, and we offer our services in English and Spanish.
How can investors contact you?
I can be reached through my company web page or email.
Belfint, Lyons & Shuman
1011 Centre Road, Suite 310
Wilmington, DE 19805
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