Guam, an organized, unincorporated U.S. territory in the western Pacific Ocean, is where the sun shines first on America each day. The tiny island of approximately 170,000 is also full of bright opportunities for businesses.
Should you decide you want to up from the mainland U.S. and go half way around the world to Guam to start a business, there are a few things that you will need to know.
Here are the Government of Guam's requirements you should know before starting your business, according to the Department of Revenue and Taxation's Web site .
1. Business License Requirements: Generally any person or business entities doing business on Guam are required to be licensed with the Department of Revenue and Taxation's General Licensing and Registration Branch. An exception to this general rule is allowed in the case of professionals such as certified public accountants, attorneys and medical practitioners. These professionals are exceptions because they are subject to the rules and regulations of their individual regulating agency or board.
Guam's Department of Revenue and Taxation's Web site noted however, that if you are a domestic or foreign corporation, partnership, limited liability corporation (LLC) or limited liability Partnership (LLP), then it's a requirement that you first register your corporation, partnership, LLC or LLP with the department's General Licensing and Registration Branch. You will need to bring notarized or certified copies of the business Articles of Incorporation, corporate by-laws, partnership agreements and the appropriately filled out application. You might need other documents, too, as depending on the type of business you will be running you will be required to get clearances from different government agencies.
One example the department's Web site stated was that if you were to convert your home (let's say you have bought one for vacation there) to a rental property you will be required to get clearances from the Department of Land Management and the Department of Public Works.
2. Business Privilege Tax Requirements: Guam laws provide for the assessment and monthly collection of privilege taxes. Under this local law, you are required to file a monthly or a quarterly Gross Receipts Tax Return based on the period the income was received or accrued, of course, this is depending on your accounting method.
3. Use Tax Requirements: Business owners or entities may also be responsible for paying a Use Tax. Guam's Use Tax Laws may be applicable if you're an importer of any tangible personal property such as equipment to conduct your business.
4. Payroll Tax Requirements: If you are planning to run a business that is a corporation or partnership or if you should have employees, then you will be required to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business. To apply for an EIN you would go ww.irs.gov to apply online.
Business owners or entities that have employees are required to file a quarterly return, Form W-1, Employer's Quarterly Guam Tax Return to report salary and wage withholding taxes on Guam to the Department of Revenue and Taxation. They are also required to deposit the withholding taxes monthly using Form 500, Guam Depository Receipt with the Government of Guam.
You should know that the income tax laws in effect in the U.S. are the same as the income tax laws in Guam and therefore, Income Taxes and Wage and Withholding on Guam earned income will be paid to the Treasurer of Guam.
The Web site noted that Social Security Taxes/FICA Taxes will be paid to the Treasury of the United States.
5. Corporate Income Tax Requirements: Guam has its own territorial income tax system based on the Internal Revenue Code. In it, the words United States are replaced with Guam where appropriate, according to the Department of Revenue and Taxation's Web site. In essence, Guam mirrors the U.S. tax system.
Owners or entities doing business on Guam are required to report and file a Guam Territorial Income tax Return. If you have a (domestic) corporation that's been incorporated under the laws of the Territory of Guam, then you are required to file Form 1120. If you're Foreign and therefore, not incorporated under Guam laws, the corporation registered with the Department of Revenue and Taxation is required to file Form 1120 F to report Guam-sourced income and expenses.
6. Reporting Cash Payments or Over $10,000 Requirement: Guam tax code requires that cash payments more than $10,000 received in a trade or business be reported if your business gets more than $10,000 in cash from one buyer as a result of a single transaction or two or more related transactions.
Report this information to both the Department of Revenue and Taxation and the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
7. It also helps to know the language, the people (Chamorro), and culture of Guam. The Chamorros are very friendly people and have a warm and welcoming island culture. They treat guests to the island like family. It would be nice if you visit the island prior to starting your business there.
You can learn more about the island of Guam and doing business here.