When it comes to running a business, the structure you choose can have a major impact on everything from daily operations to taxes and the amount of your personal assets at risk. To ensure you make the right decision, there are certain considerations you should take into account, especially if your business has international operations. The first step is to check the Consolidated Selection List, which is maintained by the United States Government. This list reveals individuals or entities that have been denied export privileges or that raise a “warning signal” that must be resolved before continuing.
You can also use it to find out if there are any restrictions on certain exports, re-exports or transfers of items. To successfully complete an export transaction, you will need to classify your product and create your Harmonized System classification code (HS code). Customs authorities around the world use HS codes to identify products for tax reasons, and governments harmonize (agree) them. To create the HS code and fully classify your product, you can use the Search Engine in List B.You should also be aware of any tariffs or duties that may be applicable. These are taxes charged by governments on value, including freight and insurance, on imported products.
Different countries apply different rates to different products, so you will need your HS code to use these tools; see the Product Classification tab for more information. You can find information about your rates using your HS code using the custom information database tool. It's also worth exploring the benefits of current U. S. free trade agreements (FTAs).
These agreements offer reduced or tax-free access, strong intellectual property protection, and greater participation by U. exporters in the product standards of NAFTA countries. You can get practical guidance to discover if your product or service would benefit from an FTA by using your HS code and using the TLC pricing tool. To ensure you and your customers speak the same business language, you should also familiarize yourself with Incoterms. These internationally recognized standards can help you interpret trade terms and will define the responsibilities of sellers and buyers in any export transaction. If you're importing goods for your own use, you may want to consider hiring a customs agent, especially if you find that the import procedures are complicated; however, you can enter them on your own.
Importers who wish to consult the professional services of a customs agent can do so. Customs agents are authorized by CBP, but are not CBP employees. To see a list of customs agents licensed to perform CBP operations in a specific port, select the port you expect to use. Many service port pages have a list of customs agents. Please note that these lists may not include everyone and that the brokers that appear on the list are not endorsed by the CBP.
There is also an informed compliance publication on customs agents. Remember that, even when using a broker, you, as the registered importer, are ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the incoming documentation submitted to CBP and for all applicable duties, taxes and fees. Finally, there is no general business license in Texas; however, depending on the type of business the entity does, additional licensing requirements from other Texas agencies may apply. See Form 3901 (PDF) for businesses in other states and Form 3902 (PDF) for subsidiaries of companies in the state.