U.S. Legal and Tax Advice in Germany

WINHELLER U.S. Desk: Your first contact for U.S. market entry

Starting a new venture in the United States can be an exciting and very lucrative endeavor. Our U.S. Desk, composed of U.S. and German qualified counsel will help you plan, and prepare, execute and manage all the legal requirements to start your business in the U.S by providing you with the advice and tools you will need to succeed.

Whether you have already undertaken a business expansion in the U.S. or are in the beginning stages of a new business venture, our U.S. and German attorneys and tax advisors know the U.S. – its market, its customs, its people and its culture. Whether you are starting an IT business in Silicon Valley, a restaurant in Colorado, a factory in Michigan, or a hotel resort in Florida we can advise on all legal aspects of your U.S. business venture, including your corresponding concerns in Germany. 

Your first step to starting a U.S. business: choose the right location

Which U.S. state offers the best laws for your busines plan? Deciding where you want to incorporate your business is a much more important decision than it may appear. The U.S. states of Wyoming, Nevada, and Delaware naturally may stand out as the best choices because of their business-friendly rules, enhanced privacy and liability protection, plus specialized courts.

So naturally establishing a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Delaware might be an inclination; however, the business activity of your company may make incorporating elsewhere the better option. Despite the enthusiasm about incorporating in Delaware, the costs may exceed the benefit for most small or medium sized businesses. For a small business with less than 5 owners or shareholders, incorporating in the business’ home state (where the head office or place of activity is physically located) is often the best solution. 

Additionally, U.S. states sometime shave laws designed to attract the type of industries they want, which may provide benefits and incentives for your company. In summary, overlooking all but the most hyped jurisdictions in the USA to start a business is a mistake.

Our team can assist to identify the right location considering the laws and applicable regulations including

  • product liability and risk management,
  • labor laws,
  • licensing,
  • staffing,
  • visas,
  • patent,
  • trademark and other intellectual property protection needs

for you to achieve your business goal. 

Choosing the right structure for your business in the U.S.

The realization of legal benefits for your business requires having the right legal structure. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is often the most desired legal structure to incorporate in the U.S. (depending on the state). However, there are many business structures in the U.S. that could be better for your business.

Our team will structure your business to operate smoothly and grow according to your goals and needs. This includes carefully managing the paper work, terms and language of your registration of incorporation, plus creating the agreements and contracts to maximize the advantages and protections for your business to succeed under the structure.

U.S. business agreements and U.S. contracts

Once you have the right structure and framework for your business, you need the legal tools to allow your business to start working! Business agreements and contracts, both internal and external, are the backbone of successful business and global trade. Our international team can specially tailor commercial contracts to enable your company to begin its endeavor in the U.S. lucratively and smoothly. 

The right contracts, whether franchise agreements, sales, joint or collaborative ventures, investments and employment agreements do not only facilitate quick and efficient business, but also protect your financial interests, intellectual property rights, liability protection, risk mitigation, plus regulatory and legal compliance in applicable jurisdictions.

Internal agreements for your U.S. business

Controlling how your company operates on a daily basis is critical. Internal Operating agreements clarifying who has authority to conduct business on behalf of your company, what every agents’ duties and limitations with representing the business are, and the details of your policies are important documents, and sometimes required in certain U.S. jurisdictions. Our team can write these agreements to ensure you have this control. Whether your business will require

  • articles of incorporation,
  • operating agreements,
  • mission statements concerning social responsibility and regulatory compliance, 

we will specially tailor these documents to protect the structure and operations of your business and enable it to grow according to your strategy.

Have you considered the effect of your U.S. business on your German taxes?

Often, a U.S. business is established or expanded without considering the German tax implications. Unlike firms that only consider U.S. tax implications, our US licensed attorneys work closely with our team of international tax attorneys and tax advisors. As needed, we can evaluate the tax implications of your US investments and help you make business decisions that will ensure optimal tax outcomes. For example, it can make a significant difference if you found a U.S. Corporation or a U.S. Limited Liability Company (LLC); and vesting ownership in a natural person in Germany, a partnership or a GmbH also has important tax implications.

We can guide you through the thicket of international tax laws and help you leverage the tax structures offered by the Double Taxation Convention between the U.S. and Germany. We can also assist you with the drafting of intercompany agreements that satisfy international and national contract and tax laws (e.g. transfer pricing).

Learn more about German income taxation for individuals and business companies:

We are proud authors of the German chapters of the renowned LexisNexis Matthew Bender publication “Foreign Tax and Trade Briefs”, which covers the latest tax information for 128 countries including Germany. You can order your copy on www.lexisnexis.com.

Getting the right visas for your U.S. project

Traveling to the U.S. as an investor, founder or employee requires careful attention to the U.S. immigration laws. Generally speaking, traveling to the U.S. visa free (via ESTA-registration) is only possible if the traveler is going to engage in „Business“ (e.g. investment meetings, business meetings and contract negotiations). Activities that cannot be categorized as “business” count generally as employment and require a visa.

Careful preparation is key to any US travel plans. U.S. officials regularly deny visa applications if the wrong visa type was selected. And, even if a visa is issued, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers have the power to independently evaluate an application for admission. As a result, a visa alone is no guarantee of admission into the U.S. Our experienced U.S.-licensed attorneys can provide you and your company with all the support you need to select and apply for US visas.

We can also provide you with information regarding your visa waiver options (ESTA), Green Cards for certain categories of employment- and family-based immigrants, U.S. citizenship (naturalization and renunciation), as well as applications to retain German citizenship. For an overview of the most common U.S. visas, visit our U.S. visa website

WINHELLER Website VISUM-USA.COM

Would you like to deploy staff to the U.S., start a business in the U.S., or even live and work in the U.S.?

We provide detailed information on our U.S. visa website.

Do you need relocation services for an employee who will be assigned to one of your U.S. sites?

When preparing for an international assignment, it is especially important to prepare a legally sound secondment agreement. German Attorney Dr. Eric Uftring (Bar-certified employment attorney) can assist you with all aspects of secondment agreements, including labor law and tax implications.

Typical issues that must be clarified in a secondment agreement include responsibilities, managerial authorities, length of assignment, travel reimbursements, compensation for special costs, social security insurance, termination, relocations within the foreign country, early discontinuance of the secondment and vacation. When preparing the secondment agreement, there are many tools -- including choice of law – that can be used to ensure that the secondment is a success. 

Do you need ongoing U.S. legal support?

Companies usually engage multiple service providers, law firms or tax advisors to establish or expand their U.S. business – or they turn to international law firms. We offer an easier solution: let WINHELLER be your strategic partner for all of your U.S. business activities. We can support you every step of the way – from initial consideration of legal and tax issues related to the selection of a business structure (e.g. LLC, Corporation or Partnership); to U.S. visa applications; the drafting of articles of organization or incorporation; and the preparation of secondment agreements.

Our support does not end at the U.S. border. Working together with our partner law firms throughout the U.S., our U.S.-licensed, multilingual attorneys can support all of your US legal needs. We can help you comply with all of the local, state and federal laws related to your U.S. business, including I-9 Compliance (federally mandated verification of the identity and work authorization of all U.S. employees), compliance with anti-discrimination laws and regulations, avoidance of double taxation, customs compliance, extensions of work authorization and visas and even Green Card or U.S. citizenship applications.

In the event of a civil lawsuit or more complicated U.S. legal matters –such as mergers and acquisitions, U.S. immigration site visits or regulatory fines – we will put you in contact with our partner firms in the U.S. who have extensive litigation experience.

Your attorneys for U.S. legal matters

If you have a sincere interest to expand your business and enter the U.S. market, whether to establish a business or invest in the U.S., our team is ready to support you. We can answer all questions about U.S. immigration, visa, employment, contract, tax and corporate law, regardless of the complexity. If our international legal team is unable to address your matter directly, we also coordinate with a network of our U.S. partner firms.

Your attorneys for U.S. legal matters are:

We can provide you with a consultation and ongoing legal services in German and English. Get in touch! The easiest way to reach us is by email (info@winheller.com) or by phone (+49 (0)69 / 76 75 77 80). Tell us more about your U.S. business and we will offer a service package tailored to your particular needs.

Services for U.S. companies doing business in Germany

In addition to serving German clients entering the US market, we regularly advise U.S.-companies establishing or expanding a business in Germany. We can help you select the best legal form for your business, negotiate with investors, and develop policies and procedures to comply with German regulations. As your business grows we can continue to provide legal counsel regarding everything from customs compliance and tax advice to general German business and contract law.

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Awards

Juve AwardLegal 500 Germany 2019
azur100: Top Employer for Lawyers 2021