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The Peace Bridge, an international bridge between Canada and the US at the east end of Lake Erie.

Four common mistakes Canadian companies make and how to prevent them

Invest Buffalo Niagara has helped more than 100 Canadian companies expand to the Buffalo Niagara region. We know the process — the steps to take and order in which those things must happen.

Here are four common mistakes we see companies making and tips on how to avoid them.

1. Disregarding sales tax requirements

Just because you sell into the United States from Canada it doesn’t mean you’re exempt from paying state sales tax. The US Supreme Court recently made a ruling that shifted how states can tax goods and collect sales tax. No need to worry though. We have a webinar you can access here that is a great overview of these changes and the next steps Canadian companies should be taking.

2. Waiting to talk to an immigration attorney

There are various visa options for companies and their employees that may need to travel and/or work in the US when they form a US company. The important thing is to understand the options early enough in the process to make sure the visa is ready when you need it. Check out this simple chart detailing some of the visa options you and your employees may be eligible for.

3. Aligning Canadian corporate ownership structure with US corporate structure

Without going too far down this bunny hole, aligned corporate structures could impact your worldwide taxes and your immigration options, so it’s important to get this right from the get-go. Here’s some quick tips to US incorporation.

4. Integrate US facility with Canadian headquarters, both leadership and culture

Translating the mission and culture of your Canadian company to your US company is essential for long-term success. It doesn’t matter if your second facility is 20 minutes down the road or across an international border, it should be treated the same and given the same time and attention as the Canadian headquarters. Leadership and employees will be working together and making sure the US facility feels like part of the family is critical. Here’s a few highlights of companies that have successfully made the jump to this side of the border!

5. Waiting too long to call Invest Buffalo Niagara

While this is technically number 5, we think it’s important enough to throw in. Our organization offers FREE and confidential project management services to Canadian companies expanding to the US. We walk you through every step and make sure you’re not forgetting things. So, call! We’ve helped over 100 Canadian companies expand into the Buffalo Niagara region, and we’re ready to help you too!

For a comprehensive list of expert advice on Can-Am expansion, download a 50+ page guide to Canadian Business Expansion to the US here.

Olivia Hill is the senior business development specialist, Invest Buffalo Niagara.