„Doing business” in the US

Oftmals wird beim Markteintritt in die USA die Corporation im Staate Delaware gegründet, die eigentliche Geschäftstätigkeit findet aber in einem anderen US-Bundesstaat stat, so dass eine gesonderte Registrierung in jenem Staate notwendig ist; mehr zu diesem Thema übersichtsartig nachfolgend:
The classification of “Doing business in a state” is an important issue for foreign corporations and corporations, which are transacting business beyond the borders of their state of incorporation. “Doing business in a state” means a company is engaged in intrastate business in the respective state. If a company is engaged in intrastate business, it must qualify in that state. In order to qualify it must obtain a certificate of authority to transact business. Therefore, the company has to register with the state and is considered having a branch office within that state. As a consequence the corporation becomes subject to the state’s income tax. The qualification to do business has to be distinguished from other registrations such as registration for sales tax purposes or specific business license issues.

The Model Business Corporation Act (MBCA) and the Revised Model Business Corporation Act (RMBCA) tried to define the term “doing business” by creating a negative list enumerating activities that should be considered insufficient to meet the qualification requirements and therefore should be exceptions to doing business. The exceptions listed in the MBCA and RMBCA are:

 Engaging in litigation
 Holding Board of Directors Meetings and other internal corporate activities
 Maintaining bank accounts
 Maintaining offices or agencies for the transfer of securities
 Selling through independent contractors
 Soliciting orders by mail or other channels
 Creating or acquiring indebtedness and Securing or Collecting debts
 Owning real or personal property
 Isolated transactions


Overall these exceptions were accepted and adopted completely by 30 of the states in the US. Others adopted them partly, while Washington, Ohio and Alabama didn’t adopt them at all. In addition, courts interpret and apply the definition of doing business differently, which leads to the conclusion that the question whether a corporation’s business transactions are subject to a foreign state law depends on the individual case and the individual state.C

ABA/DAV Program, Frankfurt, June 20-21, 2010
German Investment in the United States
Jürgen R. Ostertag

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