What is the usual tax rate in the USA for non-US residents but who have a management company paying them a salary in Delaware?
Jul 01, 2023
Most VC firms set up the fund, the general partner and the management company in Delaware, including firms with foreign Managing Partners. This provides a clear structure with unified control and governance, and it helps to manage costs, which can escalate quickly when law firms in different jurisdictions need to coordinate.
All of the Delaware companies are passthrough entities under US law, which means that profits and losses are passed directly to the owners of those entities without being taxed. The Managing Partners, who are the owners of the management company, traditionally take distributions to have passthrough treatment of management fees and other gains. They then pay taxes personally.
With foreign Managing Partners, the tax treatment of passthrough gains distributed from the management company is governed by tax treaties. With some treaties, the ideal tax optimization strategy is to set up a blocker company or other entity in their local country or in an intermediary country. The best way to determine the tax strategy is to interview a few local tax specialists that are familiar with US venture and ask during the interview.
With this said, aggressive tax optimization can be very expensive and time consuming, distracting Managing Partners from the core activities of fundraising and investing. Tax optimization can also be done closer to the time of an exit, when the proceeds and the details are clearer.