I am looking at starting at an eCommerce store but have hit a slight snag. I live in the United Arab Emirates but want to do business that mostly sells in America. Where do I need to establish my by business? If it is in America what state do I need to apply for a business license? I really would like to hear from everybody but definitely those that have had an experience similar to this. I have picked a market I want to concentrate on but of course the wholesaler wants a current business license.
You won't need a business license from any US State, unless you set-up an actual physical location within the US. For example, if you rent an office in New York for a couple of staff members, then you will need to find out how to get a business license from the local authorities.
If you want to buy products from within the United States at a wholesale price, a lot of wholesalers will require that you provide them with a Retail Tax Number (or state identification number). It depends on the specific requirements of the state where the wholesaler is located. In Georgia, for example, wholesalers don't charge sales tax if you are going to resell the items, so that is why they need the state tax id number (perhaps for providing documentation that YOU are going to sell the items and charge sales tax). If your physical location is outside of the US, though, I don't think you need to charge sales tax and thus should not need a state tax ID number.
*** If you buy products from within the US and store them somewhere and have someone ship them for you, then I think technically that you would be operating within the US and thus need a business license, Federal Tax ID# (EIN), and possibly even a state tax ID#.
If you keep all of your operations outside of the US, then you won't have to worry about getting a business license, and paying Federal Income tax and state sales tax on your business. Depending on what kind of products you are going to sell, there may be some other requirements that you need to meet, however.
I'd get started up and see how things go - once you get running, I would consult with an expert in import/export and US tax laws to make sure that you are following all of the laws.
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