Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below and we may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this Article, but these are all products we highly recommend.
You can sell on Tiktok Shop from any country and in this Article, we will be showing you exactly how to do that.
Tiktok Shop allows citizens, legal residents and businesses registered in the following countries; Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam to open a Tiktok Shop Seller Account.
Tiktok Shop provides a dedicated seller center platform within the supported countries listed above, exclusively for citizens, residents, and businesses registered in these regions to create their Tiktok Shop Seller Account.
Direct Links to TikTok Shop Seller Platforms in Country Sites
Below are the direct links to open a TikTok Shop seller account in various countries:
- For merchants in the UK, go to https://seller-uk.tiktok.com/
- For merchants in Malaysia, go to https://seller-my.tiktok.com/
- For merchants in Thailand, go to https://seller-th.tiktok.com/
- For merchants in Vietnam, go to https://seller-vn.tiktok.com/
- For merchants in the Philippines, go to https://seller-ph.tiktok.com/
- For merchants in Singapore, go to https://seller-sg.tiktok.com/
- For merchants in the US, go to https://seller-us.tiktok.com/
Now, the question arises: Can you create an account and sell on TikTok Shop if you reside in a country that is not among the supported TikTok Shop countries? For instance, if you are based in India, Nigeria, Australia, Canada, Germany, any EU country, or any nation currently not supported by TikTok Shop, the answer is a definite “yes.” You can indeed sell on TikTok from an unsupported country.
In essence, to create a TikTok Shop account from an unsupported country, the solution is to establish a business within one of the TikTok-supported countries and set up your TikTok Shop business account as a legally registered entity in that supported region.
The more extensive question arises: How do you go about registering a business in one of Tiktok Shop’s supported countries? What business structure should you opt for, considering sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation? Is it possible to register a business in one of these supported countries even if you’re not a resident? What’s the cost and timeframe involved in the business registration process? Are there legal implications to owning a registered business, including the necessity of periodically filing documents or paying taxes in the country where the business is registered?
Numerous inquiries may surface, and within this article, we will delve deeper and provide you with links to our other related articles, offering you valuable insights into the process of registering a business in a Tiktok Shop supported country and selling on Tiktok Shop from an unsupported country.
Getting Started: Registering a Tiktok Shop Seller Account from Unsupported Countries
Shall We Begin?
In this section, we will streamline our focus on how to register a business in the United States as a non-US resident.
We’ll cover essential aspects such as costs, time frames, tax implications, and any required annual filings for non-US residents. We will also delve into the details of obtaining a US bank account and a US phone number as a non-US resident. Additionally, we will guide you on how to successfully register a US TikTok Shop account under a US-registered business.
Before you feel overwhelmed, let’s provide some initial pointers;
1. Time Frame: The entire process is estimated to take approximately 8 weeks
2. Total Cost: The estimated cost for these steps is approximately $350. This guide will provide cost-effective solutions and valuable insights to make the most of your investment.
Sounds good? Alright let’s dive into it.
Essential Requirements for Registering a TikTok Shop Account in the US:
When you visit the webpage https://seller-us-accounts.tiktok.com/account/register to register a Tiktok Shop Account in the US, you will need to provide Tiktok with the following;
- US Contact; US phone number and Email address
- Business Documents: Business name, Employer Identification Number (EIN), registered business address, last 4 digits of tax ID (US Social Security Number / Individual Taxpayer Identification Number), legal name, date of birth, and residential address.
- Payment and Tax Info: Merchant category code, W9/W8-BEN Form, related person’s information, and entity type.
- Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO): If your business is a partnership, corporation, or nonprofit, you’ll need to declare if you have UBOs and the role(s) of the person associated with your account within the company;
Obtaining all the necessary documents for launching a US TikTok Shop Account is entirely feasible for non-US residents, and you can do so remotely. Now, let’s delve into the specific documentation and information TikTok Shop necessitates for creating a TikTok Shop US Business Account, even if you’re not a US resident. We’ll guide you through the process of preparing these documents for establishing your US TikTok Shop business account, even if you’re operating from an unsupported TikTok Shop Country.
Obtaining US Contact Information Remotely for Your TikTok US Shop Account
1. US Phone Number; To acquire a US phone number, we strongly recommend Sonetel. They offer highly reliable US virtual phone numbers, and we’ve found them to be the best option. Sonetel’s virtual phone numbers are cost-effective, with rates of less than $2 per month, and the entire process can be completed online.
2. Email Address; Securing an email address is a straightforward task. You can easily obtain an email address through providers like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or other reputable email hosting services.
Registering a US Business, Obtaining an EIN, and ITIN Remotely as a Non-US Resident
TikTok Shop requires you to provide documents that confirm your status as a registered US business, including details about your business name, owner’s name, date of birth, and residential address. It’s essential to provide your US Business registered address and your actual residential address, even if your residential address is not located in the US. What matters is that your business is legally registered in the United States.
Additionally, TikTok Shop requests specific documents, such as a US business registration document and an Employer Identification Number (EIN). As non-US residents or citizens lack a US Social Security Number (SSN), they must obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
To register your US business, you should access the Secretary of State’s website in the specific US state where you intend to establish your business. It’s important to note that business registration in the United States occurs at the state level rather than the federal level. The registration cost for a US business varies as it is determined by the state fee set by each individual state. These fees can differ from one state to another. The time required for registering a US business can vary from a matter of minutes to a few weeks, depending on the particular state in which you choose to register your business.
To obtain an ITIN, you can directly initiate the application process through the official website of the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If you choose to handle this application yourself, it’s important to note that the process is free of charge. After applying for an ITIN, it typically takes approximately 6-8 weeks for the IRS to process your application and subsequently issue your ITIN.
After successfully obtaining an ITIN from the US IRS, you can proceed to apply for an EIN through the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. The application process for an EIN is cost-free, and when you choose to apply online, you can expect to receive your EIN within just a few minutes, making the process swift and efficient.
In the event that your ITIN has not yet been issued, and you wish to apply for an EIN before obtaining your ITIN, the online option for EIN application will not be accessible to you. In such a situation, you will need to initiate the EIN application process by submitting IRS Form SS-4, and you can do so through mail, fax, or phone,
The Easiest way for non US residents to register a US Business and obtain an EIN
For an easy and straightforward experience, we suggest utilizing Incfile, a service designed to assist in registering your US business. Incfile offers transparent fees, and when you use their service, you’ll only be responsible for the standard business registration costs. As an added benefit, they provide a free registered agent service with a US address for the first year.
The majority of US businesses are required to have a registered agent located within the US. Your registered agent can be either yourself or a third party you appoint, but the key requirement is that they maintain a US address and are available during standard office hours to receive official correspondence and mail from the US government on behalf of your business.
Incfile can efficiently register your business in the US, typically taking only a matter of minutes to a few weeks. They offer a complimentary free service as your US Business registered agent for the first year and provide a free US registered business address. The cost of using Incfile for registering your business in the US is the exact statutory fee, which you would pay to the US state government where you intend to establish your business, if you chose to register your business directly and do the workload by yourself.
Incfile’s business model primarily centers around providing a registered agent service with associated costs beginning in the second year of your Incfile usage. They also upsell additional services that can benefit your business, including assistance with opening a US bank account or obtaining an EIN (even if your ITIN is not yet available). The flexibility of their service is advantageous, as it doesn’t entail any locked-in contracts. You have the freedom to select any registered agent or avail business services from other providers whenever you prefer.
Besides registering your US business through Incfile, you can take advantage of additional services, including obtaining an EIN (even prior to having your ITIN), and opening a US Business bank account by choosing their Gold package. This package entails a one-time payment, which typically costs around $284, though the exact price may vary based on the state where you intend to register your US business.
Registering the Appropriate Business Structure for Your US Non-Resident Business
Although this topic deserves an entire article, we’ll cut to the chase and provide our recommendations for the most suitable US business structure for non-US resident e-commerce startups.
We recommend opening a US multi-member LLC because it is a “see-through” entity by default (unless you choose to change its tax status to a C corp, which is generally not recommended for US non-resident e-commerce startups unless specific needs arise). This default tax structure means that federal income taxes for your US LLC are paid at the individual level rather than the corporate level. As a non-resident LLC, you may even end up paying 0% federal income tax if you don’t have effectively connected US income, making it a favorable choice for e-commerce startups.
It’s crucial to understand that with a registered US LLC, the company itself doesn’t have a separate tax existence; your tax obligations are tied to your US residency status and whether you have effectively connected US source income. If you don’t reside in the US and your business activities are outside the country, such as promoting products from your non-US home office through digital means, you won’t have effectively connected US source income. This typically results in a 0% US federal income tax obligation, as taxes pass through from the LLC to its members.
Another compelling reason we recommend establishing a multi-member US LLC for your non-resident e-commerce startup is the legal protection it offers. While your US LLC functions as a “see-through” entity for US income tax purposes, it remains a distinct legal entity. This separation means that your personal assets are safeguarded in case the LLC incurs any liabilities, providing an added layer of asset protection.
In the US, you have the option to register either a single-member LLC (commonly known as a sole proprietorship) or a multi-member LLC (often referred to as a partnership). We recommend registering a multi-member LLC because as your business expands, you may need to access services such as Amazon Seller Central. Some of these services may display your single-member LLC under the personal legal name of the LLC owner rather than the business name. Additionally, certain services like Klarna Pay do not accept single-member LLCs for their payment gateway registration. It’s important to keep this in mind as multi-member LLCs generally convey a more “established business” image to potential business partners and platforms compared to single-member LLCs.
In Which State Can You Register Your US Multi-Member LLC to Benefit from 0% Franchise Tax and Avoid State Annual Return Filings?
The next question to address is, in which state should you register your US multi-member LLC? Currently, there are five US states with 0% sales tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon. However, the 0% sales tax rate is not our recommended criterion. This is because it simply means you won’t pay sales tax on sales made to customers in those states, and it’s not an exclusive benefit for businesses registered in these states. For instance, an LLC registered in Maryland will also pay 0% sales tax when selling products to customers in Delaware.
We also need to consider something called the “Franchise tax,” which is levied on companies registered in certain states. For instance, the Franchise Tax for a Delaware LLC is a fixed annual fee of $300.
Before suggesting the ideal U.S. states for registering your non-resident U.S. LLC, we take into account the requirement to file State annual returns. While it’s mandatory but free to file annual returns in some U.S. states for your LLC, there are states where it’s compulsory and comes with a filing fee. Moreover, there are states that don’t impose any obligation for LLCs to file state annual returns at all.
We prioritize simplicity, so our recommendation leans towards states that do not require LLCs to file annual returns or impose annual Franchise taxes. Therefore, we suggest registering your non-US resident multi-member LLC e-commerce startup in Arizona, New Mexico, or Missouri. You can conveniently register your LLC in any of these states within minutes using Incfile.
Obtaining Your US Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) as a Non-Resident for TikTok Shop Seller Account
Now that you’ve learned how to easily register a US business, select the preferred business structure for non-residents, and choose an ideal US state for your non-US resident LLC, the next step is to understand how to obtain a US Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) as a non-resident. This is a crucial requirement for opening a US Business TikTok Shop seller account.
The detailed process of obtaining your US ITIN cannot be covered in this article, so we’ve created a separate article dedicated to guiding you on how to obtain your US ITIN as a US non-resident. It’s important to be aware that the current processing time for US ITIN applications typically ranges from 6 to 8 weeks once submitted to the IRS.
Setting Up Payment and Tax Details for Your US Business Tiktok Shop Account from an Unsupported Country
When setting up your TikTok Shop US business account, you will be asked to provide essential payment and tax information. This entails choosing a merchant category code, completing the W9/W8-BEN Form, supplying information about related persons, and specifying your business entity type.
Form W9 serves the purpose of supplying your US Tax ID, aka your ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number), to Tiktok. This information allows Tiktok to report specific details, such as your earnings, to the IRS. You will receive the W9 form from Tiktok during your Tiktok Shop Account registration, and you should complete it accurately with your details.
The W-8BEN form is mandated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to gather accurate taxpayer information from Nonresident Aliens (NRAs) for reporting and tax status documentation. Tiktok will supply the W8-BEN form, and it’s essential to provide truthful information without falsifying any details. If you reside in a region not supported by Tiktok Shop, such as Canada or Europe, it should be clearly indicated on the W8-BEN form provided by Tiktok. This form is primarily for Tiktok to report taxes to the US IRS, certifying that you are a non-US resident. As a result, you won’t be subject to specific taxes that US citizens and residents are obligated to pay.
After completing the tax form, you might be curious about the US taxes you’ll need to pay when operating a Tiktok Shop as a non-resident with a US-registered business.
The good news is that if you’re a non-resident with a US “pass-through business” structure, like a single-member LLC or a multi-member LLC with non-US resident partners and effectively connected US sourced income, you may potentially owe 0% in taxes. Nevertheless, you still have an obligation to file the necessary federal income tax forms annually with the IRS.
For a comprehensive understanding of the various taxes that e-commerce businesses in the US typically pay and how they apply to you as a non-resident US LLC, refer to this article.
Federal Income tax is a significant consideration for all US businesses, as both resident and non-resident US LLCs are required to file annual US federal income tax returns with the IRS, regardless of if they owe $0 in federal income taxes. Failing to submit the necessary IRS income tax forms within the prescribed annual timeframe can result in heavy fines. Luckily, filling out the necessary IRS income tax form can be done at no cost if you do it yourself.
As mentioned earlier in this article, you can register a US LLC in states such as Arizona, New Mexico, and Missouri that do not require LLCs to file state annual returns. However, it’s crucial to distinguish between state annual returns and federal income tax returns. While state annual returns may not be necessary in these states, federal income tax returns must be filed annually with the IRS, even if the LLC owes $0 in federal income tax. This is the focus of our discussion in this section. Therefore, we recommend reading our article on Federal income tax returns for non-resident US LLCs for more details.
Providing Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) Details for US Partnership/Corporation/Nonprofit When Registering a Tiktok Shop Account
Tiktok Shop mandates that partnerships, corporations, or nonprofits seeking to establish a Tiktok Shop seller account must indicate whether the company has Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBO) and specify the role of the individual associated with the Tiktok Shop account within the organization.
UBO stands for Ultimate Beneficial Owner, referring to the individual who ultimately benefits from the US-registered partnerships, corporations, or nonprofits
If you’ve established a multi-member US LLC (essentially a US partnership), Tiktok Shop will prompt you to indicate whether your partnership has a UBO, and you also need to specify the role of the individual associated with your TikTok Shop Account within the Company. In simple terms, you’re required to identify who is in control of the TikTok Shop Account and describe their role within the US registered Company.
Most of the information requested by Tiktok Shop during the account registration, such as a US phone number, email address, and basic forms, can be quickly provided, even if you’re a non-US resident. These requirements are simple and cost-effective.
The more significant effort and time commitment lie in the initial business registration as a non-resident, obtaining an ITIN and EIN, and understanding your tax and federal income tax return filing responsibilities. This process may incur costs of around $350 and take approximately 8 weeks, but this article provides detailed instructions to help you navigate it. Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information and documents, opening a Tiktok Shop seller account from an unsupported country as a US non-resident registered business becomes a straightforward and hassle-free task.