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  • Writer's pictureCezary L. Lerski

Reporting Tax Obligations in the USA: A Guide for Foreign Entrepreneurs.(The Superheroes Edition)

What tax reporting obligations apply to foreign entrepreneurs with companies in the USA? How should this be reported and accounted for?

Should you use Form 1120, 1120-S, 1040, 1040-NR, or 1065? What does Schedule K-1 mean, and what is its purpose?

Who is required to file Form 5472, and why?

Who can provide advice and assistance on this topic?

The answers to these questions depend primarily on the legal structure of the business entity you have registered in the USA. Below is a description of each, outlining the advantages, disadvantages, and specific requirements for tax reporting procedures.

1) Sole Proprietorship

Running a sole proprietorship in the United States can feel like being Batman – although alone in your cave, yet always prepared to serve the citizens of Gotham City. As Batman, you are the sole operator and owner of your enterprise. Unlike corporations or limited liability companies, no formal registration procedures are required.


  • Ease of Setup and Management: Setting up and running your business is straightforward.

  • Complete Control: You have full command over your business operations, making you the master of your Bat-domain.

  • Simplified Tax Reporting: Tax filing is less complex, allowing you to focus on your business.


  • Limited Liability Protection: Without the safeguard of Bat-Armor, personal assets are at risk.

  • Full Responsibility for Profits and Losses: The financial outcomes, whether gains or losses, are yours alone; not even Robin, the Boy Wonder, shares this burden.

For tax reporting to the IRS, you’ll utilize Form 1040-NR, akin to a Bat-claw that enables you to navigate the labyrinth of regulations and evade the snares set by the IRS, the so-called Tax Justice League.

2) General Partnership

A General Partnership is akin to the Avengers on a mission – a compact team where each member brings unique abilities, yet together they form an exceptional force. In this alliance, all heroes unite to manage a single venture. Formal registration procedures are not required, and the partners collectively shoulder the company’s obligations.


  • Collaborative Vision and Skills: The partnership benefits from the combined expertise and perspectives of all members.

  • Shared Profits and Losses: Partners equally distribute the financial outcomes of the business.

  • Joint Responsibility: Just as in battling Thanos, partners work together to tackle challenges.


  • Limited Liability Protection: Each partner may be personally liable for business debts and legal actions.

  • Consensus for Key Decisions: Making significant decisions requires unanimous agreement among partners, which can be challenging, much like the debate over the Superhuman Registration Act.

3) Limited Partnership

A Limited Partnership is comparable to a collaboration between Tony Stark and Spider-Man: one is in the spotlight, actively managing the business, while the other offers support from behind the scenes. This structure involves two types of partners:

  1. General Partner: Takes an active role in managing the company and assumes full responsibility for its liabilities.

  2. Limited Partner: Provides capital investment but does not engage in the day-to-day management.


  • Control for the General Partner: The general partner enjoys complete authority over the business operations.

  • Liability Protection for the Limited Partner: The limited partner’s liability is restricted to their investment in the company.

  • Synergistic Partnership: The combination of active management and passive investment can create a powerful dynamic.


  • Full Liability for the General Partner: The general partner is fully liable for the business’s debts and obligations.

  • No Decision-Making Power for the Limited Partner: The limited partner lacks control over business decisions.

For tax reporting to the IRS, partners in a General or a Limited Partnership use Form 1065, which serves as a comprehensive report detailing the company’s profits, losses, and other relevant activities. It’s important to remember that cooperation is essential for success, even among superheroes!

4) Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Here you can feel like you're in the company of the Avengers again. It's like Hulk and Thor running a company together – each has their own superpowers, and together they are invincible! LLC is a capital commercial company with legal personality. It may be created by one person or more partners.


  • Liability Protection: The LLC is your barrier that protects you from company debt. It's like having Captain America's shield against financial Thanos.

  • Flexibility: You can adapt the company's operating rules to your needs.

  • Tax Options: An LLC can be taxed as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. It's like having different Hawkeye shots up your sleeve.


  • Formalities: You must register an LLC, follow requirements of the home state of your LLC, and keep accounting records. Black Widow will have more paperwork to fill out.

  • Partners must act in accordance with the agreement. The Avengers will have to figure out who is guarding the Helicarrier.

Depending on your chosen tax status of your LLC, you use forms 1040 NR, 1065 or 1020 to settle your taxes. In them, you provide information about income, costs, deductions and the place where Loki is hiding.

5) Joint-Stock Company (Corporation)

In the business world, a joint-stock company is akin to “Iron Man” - robust and formidable. A joint-stock company is a type of capital commercial company that possesses legal personality. It can be founded by one or more individuals, legal entities, or organizational units.


  • Liability Protection: A corporation serves as armor, shielding you from company debts, much like a nanotechnology barrier against financial threats.

  • Shareholder Anonymity: Shareholders operate behind the scenes, their identities concealed, yet their influence is significant.

  • Access to Capital Markets: There’s the potential to go public and trade on the stock exchange.


  • Extensive Paperwork: Fulfilling numerous legal and registry obligations is mandatory, similar to meeting SHIELD’s stringent standards.

  • Complex Financial Reporting: Crafting annual financial reports can feel as intricate as sifting through data with J.A.R.V.I.S.

  • Board Accountability: The board of directors bears the responsibility for the company’s operations, much like the leadership at Stark Industries.

Form 1120 is the tool of choice for corporate tax dealings, comparable to Excalibur; it’s the instrument that navigates the complex tax landscape. However, the intricacies of corporate accounting are such that even a figure like Tony Stark would seek expert counsel. A trusted advisor plays a crucial role, akin to the knight Lancelot, providing invaluable support in navigating tax-related challenges.

Each shareholder of a joint-stock company receives a Schedule K-1 form, which resembles a treasure map detailing their share of the company’s profits, losses, credits, and other distributions — recorded whether or not they have been disbursed. It serves as a ledger, akin to the Avengers’ own financial record.

Form 5472

Regardless of your business’s legal structure, it’s imperative to file Form 5472. This form is essential if the company has foreign partners, like a dossier for a covert mission. It documents all international transactions between the company and its partners, ensuring transparency and integrity.

Form 5472 is utilized to disclose specific transactions involving U.S. entities with a minimum of 25% foreign ownership or foreign corporations conducting business within the U.S., and their related domestic or international affiliates. Transactions subject to reporting include payments, loans, sales, leases, and other property or service exchanges. This form aids the IRS in monitoring international transactions and preventing any covert financial schemes.

Neglecting to file Form 5472 by the due date and in the specified format incurs a penalty of $25,000. This penalty also applies to failures in providing the necessary documentation as stipulated by IRS regulations.

It’s crucial to ensure timely and accurate compliance with all tax forms to avoid penalties. Being cognizant of reportable transactions and the various interrelationships is essential. For any specific transactions or additional guidance, consulting a tax advisor is advisable.

In Conclusion:

Who can navigate you through this labyrinth of tax regulations?

A proficient advisor is akin to your Alfred – ever-prepared with sage advice over a cup of tea. They are your personal overseer, an External Financial Director available on an hourly basis, eliminating the need for full-time employment.

Diginet stands as a seasoned navigator amidst the complex avenues of legal and tax regulations in the USA. We extend an invitation for a complimentary consultation!

Moreover, we assure you that our counsel carries a mere 50% chance of error!

Zapraszamy do bezpłatnej konsultacji!

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