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Expert panel share their top tips for doing business in the US

The opportunities and risks of doing business in the US were explained to local businesses at a flagship seminar in Bristol hosted by Evelyn Partners, the integrated wealth management and professional services group.

Representatives from more than 30 businesses attended the event at Evelyn Partners’ office in Portwall Place which was co-hosted with CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA), the eighth largest accountancy firm in the United States.

A panel of experts from the UK and US discussed the practical considerations of setting up and growing a business in the US, and some of the legal, tax and funding issues that UK firms face.

They included Claire Burden, who leads Evelyn Partners’ national advisory consulting team in Bristol, and CLA tax principal Thomas Lind, who specialises in providing tax services to technology companies expanding to the US.

Evelyn Partners and CLA are founding members of CLA Global which is an international network of independent accounting and advisory firms. CLA Global member firm professionals provide audit, accounting, tax, and advisory services to help guide organisations and individuals through the increasingly complex global business and financial environment.

Other event panellists included Chris Winter from the global banking and financial services organisation HSBC, and Masami Izumida Tyson from transatlantic law firm Womble Bond Dickinson.

Attendees heard that moving too quickly to set up US operations without doing the necessary planning was one of the biggest reasons why UK firms fail abroad. They often struggle to recruit staff overseas because of cultural differences and don’t take the time to review their go-to market strategy for the US market.

The panel stressed the importance of business planning and knowing when to create a US entity and the tax benefits of setting up in business-friendly states such as Delaware.

Another key topic was the importance of transfer pricing when doing business in the US. This determines the prices charged for goods and services between related companies. Businesses should think carefully about how they split profits between their US and UK operations to increase tax efficiency, the seminar was told.

Other topics discussed included the importance of succession planning to ensure business continuity in the UK when executives move abroad to set up US operations, as well as the hugely complex US federal and state tax systems.

Given the complexity of the US tax system and the potentially significant tax and penalties that can be identified on exit, businesses were advised to be fully compliant and operate a tax efficient UK/US structure from day one.

Helen Bassett, a partner at Evelyn Partners in Bristol who heads up the firm’s business outsourcing services team, said: “Our Doing Business in the US event was a great success and we had more than 30 businesses attending on the day.

“They included a mix of firms looking to set up in the US for the first time, as well as those with existing US operations who are looking to scale-up Stateside. Many were fast-growing technology companies that are hoping to crack the US market with their innovative solutions.

“It shows that there’s great interest in doing business in the US among South West companies. But it’s a hugely complex area which is why having expert advice is so crucial.

“We see this seminar as just the first of a series of events in Bristol and online for businesses looking for professional support and advice on setting up in the US.”

Pictured: Chris Winter from HSBC (standing), Thomas Lind from CLA, Claire Burden from Evelyn Partners, Masami Izumida Tyson from Womble Bond Dickinson and Helen Bassett from Evelyn Partners

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