US Resident operating "" in Australia

Discussion in 'Website Development & Design' started by sethryan, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. sethryan

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    Oct 22, 2009
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    Hi everyone,

    Background Info:

    I am a US resident working for a .com company here in the states. It is a small family business with turnover/sales of around 1.5 million annually. There are eight employees and it is operating as an LLC, entirely over the internet. We do not have a store front, offices, property, or even a phone line.

    The question:

    I want to know what it will take to expand our business to Australia. Yes, in theory, we are a .com company and can reach users globally. But I want to promote the business on the ground level and deploy marketing efforts in Australia (myself) and register our domain name to follow suit. I understand that I need an Australian Business Number (ABN) and a Tax File Number (TFN) in order to apply for our domain name (Australian government requires these items before you can register a domain name).

    I intend to operate this expanded sector of the business with a shared ownership between myself and our company's current owner. I will hire two American employees (who are already trained and currently working) and myself to run the business. I need to figure out what legal form of business makes the most sense, and what tax implications will affect the business. I understand that the new Australian branch of the business will be required to file taxes and pay income tax to the federal government on income earned in Australia. But what defines income earned in Australia? The sales are made to Australian residents in AUD but conducted over the internet, not in a store front. The actual business will be run by American employees in the US. The server hosting is provided by a US company. The company will not own land in Australia, a store front, offices, or anything of the sort. We are simply making sales to Australian residents and promoting the business at the ground level in the industry.

    If this quandary sparks anyone's interest, I have more questions to follow... such as, what is the best way to build an agreement with the current owner and myself (profit sharing? what percentages are reasonable?), and the best way to convert AUD sales dollars to USD payroll dollars- without taking a severe hit in the profits.

    Really, I appreciate any insight.
  2. Fergal

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    Premium Member

    Nov 18, 2007
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    Hi sethryan, welcome to Business Advice Forum and thanks for asking your business questions.

    Have you considered creating some kind of a joint venture or commission arrangement with an Australian company? This could save you the costs associated with putting staff on the ground there. I previously met with an Irish software company doing business in Australia and this is the approach they used. They found that their business was much more successful and that Australians were much happier to do business with them, when they had an Australian partner.

    We have a government funded organisation called Enterprise Ireland here in Ireland. They have lots of overseas offices and they assist Irish companies who want to export abroad. Do you know if there is a similar organisation in your state in the US? If there is they could be of tremendous assistance to you.

    Good luck with everything and please keep us updated on your thoughts and progress.

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