Learn the definitions for a United States company and for a United States financial account.
When you are working with the liquid workforce, knowing the difference between a foreign vendor and a US vendor is crucial. It’s the difference between requesting a W-8 form and a W-9 form. It’s also important to differentiate between a US financial account and an international account, as some services only allow payments to US-based financial accounts.
So what does it mean to be a US company or to have a US financial account?
United States Company Definition
US entities must be incorporated in one of 50 states or in the District of Columbia. If it is not an incorporated business, then the primary location/address of the business must be located in the 50 states of America plus the District of Columbia.
Note that an entity incorporated in a US territory does not qualify as a US company.
United States Financial Account Definition
For the purposes of banking, banks that are in US territories and possessions are considered part of the US banking system; this is different from how US companies are defined (where entities in US territories and possessions do not qualify as US companies).
For the purposes of financial accounts, the US is defined as follows. The United States, including the District of Columbia; United States territories and possessions, such as:
Commonwealth Northern Mariana Islands
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
United States Virgin Islands
Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands
A financial account is foreign when it is located outside of the United States as defined for banking purposes — outside of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and US territories and possessions.
Again, note that this definition for financial accounts is different than for the purposes of a company — which is limited to the 50 states plus DC.
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