WARNING: the following information is not guaranteed to work, nor is it financial advice. This post is just a few tips based on my own personal experience.  

Kickstarter for australians

Since successfully funding our first project the Opena Case on Kickstarter I have been asked over and over again “how’d you get on Kickstarter if you’re Australian” or “how’d you get an Amazon Payments account as an Australian”.  Well as I explained in my previous post How to run a Kickstarter project if you’re not a US citizen? the first time we ran a project on Kickstarter we used my sisters detail who lives in the US, but I do now know how to run a Kickstarter project which relies on having an Amazon Payments account hooked up to an American bank account. Before we start I must mention that the process will cost you, but if you have an idea worth Kickstarting then I think it’s worth it.

If you have any question please review the comments below, if you still have a question please ask by commenting that way I’ll answer them and every one will benefit from the public response.

 

The following steps don’t have to be preformed in this exact exact proceeding order .

Step 1 – Set up your Kickstarter project

Just log onto Kickstarter.comand start setting up your project. You don’t need all the information to start as you can save your progress and return to ad the information as you receive it. Going through the process will help you get a clearer picture of the information involved in setting up a project.  Take a look at my post Tips on how to run a successful Kickstarter project for a few pointers.

Step 2 – US number which forwards to your Skype

Skype forwarding numberYou will need a US phone number to be verified by Kickstarter so setup a US phone number which forwards to your Skype name.  You can Google this to find a provider and verify you phone number this way.

Step 3 – Start an American LLC and obtain an EIN

You will need  to register an American LLC (Limited Liability Company) so that you can then obtain an EIN (Employee Identification Number) often also called a TIN (Tax Identification Number).  You can then use the EIN/TIN when signing up for an Amazon Payments account instead of needing an SSN (Social Security Number). An easy way to do this is through a service provided by The Company Corporation where you can sign up for a package deal (around $1,100) including LLC registration, EIN and mail forwarding for 12 months. I would also suggest registering your new LLC in Delaware for a number of reasons which you can Google.

Step 4 – Obtain a mail forwarding address.

As described above you will need a mail forwarding address which isn’t a PO Box when applying for a US bank account and credit card. Once again The Company Corporation will be able to help you with this.

Step 5 – Setup a US bank account

Bank of AmericaYou’ll also need to set up a US bank account that you can connect to your Amazon payments account. This needs to be a US bank account as you are only able to withdraw funds from an Amazon Payments account to a US bank account.  Having a US LLC will allow you to set up a US business bank account without having a SSN. We set up our US account by actually walking into a Bank of America brach in Las Vegas and verifying ourselves with our Australia passports. The Bank of America then gives you a number that they will use internally to verify you as a foreign Member of and American LLC. You will also need all of the your newly formed LLC’s documents on hand.

The trick to opening an account is to make it worth your bank tellers time, I made it clear that I wanted to open at least one transaction account, one savings account and a credit card account. Many bank Tellers work on commission or at least have targets to meet and opening 3 account is a good deal for them so they will try and help you out as best they can.

Also keep in mind that not all banks are the same and shop around if needed.

Step 6 – Setup an American credit card

US credit card You also need an American Credit Card as Amazon Payments uses this as verification method. Most banks won’t give you or a brand new American LLC with no trading history an actual credit card with credit but they will give you a Visa debit card which for all intents and purposes is exactly the same as a credit card to Amazon Payments and work fine as verification. Also very handy for signing up for other “US only” online services.

Step 7 – Set up Amazon Payments account

amazon payments accountOnce you have all of the preceding pieces of the puzzle you’ll be able to setup your Amazon payments account. Note that it may take a couple of days for you to verify your bank accounts as business bank accounts can only be verified FAXing official bank documents for the account you wish to verify to Amazon (2012 much?).

Step 8 – Complete verification of Kickstarter account

Once you have your Amazon Payments account this should be the last thing you need to complete you Kickstarter account activation.  Now just ad your video/content, get really nervous and launch your project.

I hope this information can be of use to you and I wish you the best of luck in your crowd funding adventures.

Other information that maybe helpful at this point: Tips on how to run a successful Kickstarter Project

How to start an online business: How to start an online business

 If you have any question please review the comments below, if you still have a question please ask by commenting that way I’ll answer them and every one will benefit from the public response.

 


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176 Responses to How to start a Kickstarter project if you’re outside the USA

  1. […] How to open an Amazon Payments Account and setup a Kickstarter project if you’re Australian Share […]

  2. […] in how to work around this hurdle, my mate and business partner, Rob Ward, has put together a good guide. TweetPin […]

  3. hotrezuil says:

    Awesome website…

    […]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[…]……

  4. […] NEW UPDATE : How To Run A Kickstarter Project if You’re An Aussie […]

  5. Quora says:

    Is Kickstarter service available for startups outside US?…

    Yes they can find I did myself find more info my blog http://www.robyward.com/2012/03/how-to-setup-a-kickstarter-project-if-youre-australian/

  6. Matthew says:

    Hi Rob,

    Great info here, I was wondering how I was going to get around the whole American thing. Really appreciate it. Best of luck with it all. Creative Precision

  7. Alex Cruder says:

    There’s a far easier solution. If you live outside of the US, getting access to an Amazon Payments account is problematic. You can use http://www.bridgestarter.com to give you access. Bridgestarter gives you an Amazon Payments account to hold your pledges. Then, all you have to do is setup your project with Kickstarter and you’re in business.

    I think bridgestarter.com is the best site of its kind. It’s working for me.

  8. It’s a hell of a lot of effort to go to for funding and it would help to be in the US that’s for sure, BUT, Kickstarter is the number one site for crowd funding, so really… If you’re in need of a large amount of investment then the effort is worth it..

  9. Takahiro Matsuyama says:

    Hello, I’m glad to meet your website.
    I could get much helpful info. Thank you.

    I’m a Japanese. I would like to start Kickstarter project in Japan, using examples from this page.

    Then, I worry about 2 things.
    First, “a US bank account”, I will use personal account. I can’t get a job account of a US bank: Union Bank in Japan.
    Second, “address”, I will rental a storage in the US.
    For your information, I will start an American LLC.

    Do you have any recommendations?

    • Rob says:

      Hi Takahiro, if you get an American LLC then you’ll also be able to obtain a mail forwarding address that you can use. Just make sure it’s not a PO box as these aren’t accepted by most institutions. Good Luck!!

    • Samer Tarazi says:

      Hello Takahiro,

      I have 1 question for you, I’m going to be doing the same thing you’re about to do, with a personal bank account, rather than a business account, did that work for you?

  10. Janet says:

    This was a very useful article. The only reason I still prefer to go via Kickstarter is because they have the most visitors

    Here are some alternatives:

    http://www.quora.com/What-Kickstarter-alternatives-exist-for-non-US-residents

    Last time I checked http://www.indiegogo.com had the most visitors after kickstarter.

  11. Janet says:

    Also….You can use a the following site to post a project on kickstarter

    http://www.bridgestarter.com

  12. Alex Kain says:

    Hey Rob,

    I assume that (although much more fun) it is not a requirement to attend in person to establish a US bank account and credit card but that this can be done from here?

    Alternatively, just wondering what your thoughts are on getting a friend who is a US citizen to be verified for the Amazon payment account?
    I know you used your sister’s details so did you have to tie her details to the Kickstarter project in any way or just supply the account details for payment?

    Also, do you know anything about the service http://bridgestarter.com that someone commented on your page?

    Finally, I noticed that in your guide, you recommend setting up the Kickstarter project first and then acquiring all of the financials; is there a specific reason for doing it in this order?

    Thanks again for your advice!

    • Rob says:

      Hi Alex

      I’m currently on holiday in Indonesia but I’ll try answer your questions the best I can.

      Yes you could just use a friend to open an amazon payments account. They won’t be seen on the Kickstarter project.

      Don’t know much about bridge starter but I guess you just pay them instead of a friend to sort out you US requirements.

      These days it’s very hard to setup an account even with an LLC from overseas, but I do believe some banks allow it. I opened our account while in Las Vegas.

      Hope this helps

      • Janet says:

        Hey Rob and all

        Unfortunately Amazon Payments has shut down the accounts of bridgestarter.com

        The founder Alex Cruder was legit…he tried really hard to help non Americans be able to use kickstarter.com for minimal fees….but amazon shut down the account that they used to collect money….Their site says they are working to get it resolved

      • Raelene says:

        Hey Rob.

        Thanks for all the great insight. My question is, if you’re sister opened a US account did she have to claim the Kickstarter funds as income on her taxes? I have family that are willing to help but not if the Kickstarter money has to be claimed by them.

        • Rob Ward says:

          Hi Raelene,

          I’ve been advised not to give specific financial advise on this blog, but I can say that I found ways around this I heard if you contact the IRS you can find some forms that effectively shown money in vs money out and a net effect of zero.

          Hope this helps – Rob

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hi Alex, we have half written an eBook on Crowd Funding and are trying to get an idea if people would be interested in it. If you are please sign up to our notification list

      Subscribe for Crowd Funding eBook notification

  13. deathbeard says:

    What about the tax issues? You will have a US company that will make 1 massive lump sum and then just give it away to another company in another country. I’m sure the US taxman will want a chunk out of it. And how do you justify the money tranfer to another company? I guess it needs to somehow be a business expense to avoid the tax?
    And then I assume you would have to shut down your US account and dissolve the company so you don’t have to keep doing paperwork and accounts every year for a dead company.

    • Rob says:

      In my understanding as long as you pay the state tax of $250.00 a year and take the money out of the country I don’t believe that you pay tax to the state. There’s heaps of info on the net about this if you Google it. We haven’t closed down our US LLC because the company has now become a very important part of our business allowing us to operate internationally.

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey guys, we have half written an eBook on Crowd Funding and are trying to get an idea if people would be interested in it. If you are please sign up to our notification list

      Subscribe for Crowd Funding eBook notification

  14. Albert says:

    Hi Rob! Awesome post. I would like ask you one more question: what about the llicense car number that Amazon payment request to us, it’s obligatory?

    Thanks a lot…

    • Rob says:

      Hi Albert, I think your talking about the part where Amazon asks for your Social Security Number (SSN). If so this is the part where you use the Tax Identification Number / Employer Identification Number (TIN/EIN) that you have obtained by registering an US LLC. Hope this helps and good luck

  15. damien says:

    are there any bridgestarter equivalents now that bridgestarter no longer brokers for kickstarter?

    • Rob says:

      Hey Damien, no sorry don’t know of any other bridgestarter style service available. If anyone else knows of one this would be a good place to post it!

  16. Alex says:

    Hey Rob,
    I have almost gotten there with Amazon Payments. I have established an LLC, a bank account, a credit card and EIN however they still would not verify me. They did tell me that I needed an SSN but I told them I had an EIN and I think this was ok.
    But where it became unstuck was not having a physical address where the business operates from. I initially provided my registered agent’s address but this does not suffice.
    I assume if I provide a friend’s address they will require some substantiation such as a utility bill in my name.
    Any ideas how to get around this?

    • Rob says:

      Hi Alex, over the weekend I was also contacted by another fellow potential Kickstarter punter in the exact same situation as yourself. I have a feeling that Amazon may have changed their approval process. When I set up our Amazon account I made a whole new account and used our mail forwarding address and this worked fine. If anyone finds a hack for this please post here as I think many people will find the same issue.

      Sorry I can’t be more help.

      • Alex says:

        No worries Rob. Will keep working on it!

        • Linton says:

          Hi Alex, thanks for sharing your experience. Just wondering if you had any success in setting up the Amazon Payments account? Have you managed to work around their requirement of an SSN and a physical address?

          Thanks!

  17. jon says:

    Hi Rob,

    Awesome post, just one quick question, if you follow all the steps that you outlined do you still need a US State Issued ID to open your amazon payments account? The kickstarter site states:

    To be eligible to start a Kickstarter project, you need to satisfy the requirements of Amazon Payments:

    —You are 18 years of age or older.
    —You are a permanent US resident with a Social Security Number (or EIN).
    —You have a US address, US bank account, and –> US state-issued ID (driver’s license).
    —You have a major US credit or debit card.

    Was the requirement of a State Issued ID present when you created your kickstarter project or, is this a new hurdle?

    Once again thanks for the post, you are giving hope to people who would like to use kickstarter but can’t because they are not from the US.

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey Jon

      Glade the post has been of use to you. I don’t remember needing to use a “US state-issued ID (driver’s license)” when I went through the process. From what I’m hearing form others following the method outlined in my post it sounds like Amazon are putting up a few more barriers. I still don;t think it makes it impossible maybe just a little harder. Might be worth asking some of the others who have commented on the post.

      I you find out a work around please post it as a comment.

      Good luck, I hope this is just a temporary hurdle.

  18. James Bailey says:

    Hi Folks,

    I am completely in agreement with you all that Kickstarter is the best crowdfunding platform, but if you have a good idea and are based outside of the US there are plenty of good alternatives.

    The reality is that if you are willing to set up a LLC in the US, you are probably going to be able to find a US friend that will be able to set up your project page with their account. You also need to be aware of the tax implications of getting revenue in the US.

    In Australia you have an excellent crowdfunding website called http://www.Pozible.com and if you are based in the UK or Europe then you have http://www.PleaseFund.Us (who I work for) and http://www.Sponsume.com. Both have good track record, but not the scale of Kickstarter.

    Hope this helps. The key thing to consider is whether your own network of supporters would be strong enough to get your crowdfunding project funded without “the crowd” also backing it.

    James

  19. Samir says:

    Hi Rob

    Thanks for the pointers and guide. Glad to see it is (was?) possible to do this.

    Will look more into it.

    Thanks for sharing.

  20. Stephen Holley says:

    My question to is and forgive me if this is too personal… I’m wondering if you can tell me how much as a percentage of the overall pledged amount, you guys actually received…?

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hi Stephen, as a rule you’ll generally receive about 90% of the total funds raised. Kickstarter takes 5% and Amazon takes almost another 5%. Hope this helps.

  21. Ott Oja says:

    Hi Rob,

    I’m not from Austrailia, but from Estonia, however, I do assume the same rules apply to us in the US.

    I contacted Amazon Payments before starting with any other part of the project just to make sure I’d be allowed on Kickstarter. I have an existing LLC in the US and taking care of all the other parts shouldn’t be a problem, but then the support replied to me:
    “Hello,

    To have an Amazon Payments Business account (which is used in conjunction with Kickstarter), you WILL need to have a U.S. resident create the Amazon Payments account. We will verify this person’s identity.

    Also, a valid US state-issued ID is required to establish the Amazon Payments Business account. I hope this information helps.”

    As there is no US resident on the team I am stumped! How do I get around this!?

    Your help would be much appreciated!
    Thank you and all the best,
    Ott

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hi Ott

      As I stated in the post I used the EIN or TIN instead of an SSN when signing up to Amazon payments and this worked fore me. If you ask Amazon payments they will tell you that you have to be a US citizen, this is just a way round it.

      Hope it helps and good luck!!

      • Ott Oja says:

        Thank you for the quick response!

        Currently, as I understand them, even with the EIN they want a resident to come in with their ID to verify that person. To me it doesn’t make any sense since there is an LLC, but we’ll see what support will reply to my latest email to them.

        Thanks again, I’ll keep you posted!

        Cheers,
        Ott

        • Rob Ward says:

          I think this is only the case once the standard automatic registration process has been elevated to higher level, as it wouldn’t be possible for Amazon to go to this length for all account registrations.

          Rob

          • Ott Oja says:

            For business accounts this might be so. But can an LLC then make a regular account?

            Anyway, this is the response I got from Amazon:

            “Greetings from Amazon Payments,

            We understand that the account is associated with X Comapany (an LLC) but according to Government regulations & applicable banking laws we have to verify the personal information of the person associated with the account/ responsible for the account.

            If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact us at payments-verification@amazon.com.

            Thank You for your compliance with our verification procedures.

            Sincerely,

            Account Specialist
            Amazon Payments”

            We will keep on looking for a way to solve this issue.

  22. Paul says:

    This is my FAILED experience :-\ Hope this helps

    I formed LLC, flew to US, open US bank account. Bring along your local bank statement and local credit card statement to make the process easier.
    I signed up for co-working space address. After 1 month, I received the US bank statement , faxed it to Amazon and it was approved.

    THEN, Amazon asked me to fill up online Tax form. Since my EIN is based on my country address, I put my local address.

    BOOM! @#$!@!

    My Amazon account DOWNGRADED! I can’t use it to receive money. It becomes useless.
    Suddenly Amazon asked me for Social Security Number. Although I explained it’s a corporate account and I have EIN. I sent a few appeal emails and I have no luck :-\

    NEVER EVER GIVE A HINT TO AMAZON IF YOU ARE NOT IN THE US.

    BE EXTRA CAREFUL WHEN YOU SIGN UP FOR AMAZON PAYMENTS.

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hi Paul thanks for sharing.

      That really sucks, I hope you can find a way round this.

      You’re correct this whole process is so that Amazon never knows that you’re not a US citizen. People have to relies that the company is the entity that your using to obtain the account and that personally you have no attachment to it other than being the owner. The EIN is for the LLC and should have been referencing the LLC’s US address.

      Once again thanks for helping the other readers.

      Rob

      • Paul says:

        Hi Rob,

        It really sucks :( #$@#$

        I couldn’t believe they rejected my account.
        Based on the rules, actually my company is legitimate. They made it difficult, they asked me to send License of Business (different from certificate of incorporation).

        I think have to redo from the beginning again :-\

        What I did was incorporate LLC from my country, Hong Kong. I used http://www.bizfilings.com, pretty good service. Once completed, the whole documents shipped to to HK. After a few weeks, I received letter from IRS. The IRS kept my HK address.

        This was my mistake, WATCH OUT: because I wanted to make sure the Amazon Tax Form is tally with IRS record, I put my original local address although I have the US office address.

        BOOMZ! … One strike and I’m out.

        So my advice is when you received PIN from IRS, change your address to US address.

        Although to redo everything will cost $2000 (inclusive air tickets)
        But I think it’s worth it.

        The issues when you asked someone in the US to help you,
        you still need to reward them.

        If your estimated project value is below $50k, I think it’s ok to ask your friend. But if it hits more than $100k, then it can be scary. People can change due to money. And your friend may have some tax issues.

        So LLC is the best option for now.

        Thanks for sharing Rob.

    • Ben Hillier says:

      I looked into this service and they charge a single upfront fee of $1500 regardless of if the project is successful or not and regardless of amount raised if successful.

    • Rob Ward says:

      No I haven’t heard of it until now. Be good if someone who has used it could comment from there own experience but I’d say it’s pretty new. Thanks for the info Ben and congrats you guys killed it!

  23. Ann says:

    Hi Rob,

    I read your blog about how to run a project on kickstarter website with opening a US LLC, it was really helpful and organized, thanks for taking time and sharing your experience with everyone. I have some questions about using a CPA?
    Do you know any good CPA who be familiar with saving and increasing the corporate value over the time. Also, you had mentioned that registering a company within Delaware. What are the benefits of registering a company in Delware rather than in Silicon Valley, Sanjose and California area? do they offer low taxation rates or there are other benefits for a LLC in Delaware?

    thanks again for your time and sharing/

    Ann

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hi Ann,

      Yes I do know a good accountant but non that are skilled in foreign tax or business practises unfortunately. Some of the reasons for incorporating in Delaware that I found were low tax for foreign owned corporation when the profits are taken overseas and a fast filing process that can be setup within days. I suggest Googling “Advantages of a Delaware LLC” for more in-depth information. Hope this helps and thanks for posting a comment!

      Rob

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hi Ann

      I have spoken with my Accountant and they are happy to talk with you. Please contact MPR Group and ask for Jade Nicholls. #(03) 9869 5900

      Thanks

      Rob

  24. mike says:

    Hi Rob,

    Do you know any source to find out different states charged on foreign owned corporations or LLCs?
    are there two different taxes on foreign LLCs Federal and within the registered state (registered in Delaware or California)? and do you know what are the tax rates in income in California or Delaware in case of transferring money outside USA and having only a virtual office in one of these states?

    PS. Thanks for your informative blog

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hi Mike,

      I’m probably not the best person to ask for tax advice as I’m not an accountant, but when taking money out of the USA (in Delaware anyway) to Australia you’ll be charged tax on the money coming into Australia by the ATO.

      I don’t know much about California as the only dealing I’ve had there was getting a spot permit to sell at MacWorld in San Fran. I just paid a one off fee as a visiting LLC from another US state, within 30 days declared the revenue we made and paid Californian tax on it.

      Hope this helps

      Rob

      • Mike says:

        Thank you for the quick response!

        It was good to learn about visitor LLC also, thank you.

        just to make it clear for myself, do you have to pay %8.7 Delaware state taxes plus %35 US Federal taxes on your total income? or you only pay taxes to ATO?

        so when you take the money out from the USA, Delaware or USA wont charge you anything more?

        may I ask you what is the approximate total percentage you end up paying to USA and ATO? thx

        Sorry for asking too many questions.

        • Rob Ward says:

          Hi Mark

          I’m sorry but I’ve been advised by a good friend (who is a registered finical advisor) to only give general advice and not to get into details regarding financials as there are strict laws in Australia about giving finical advise.

          Sorry that I can’t be more help on this topic. I’m sure you’ll be able to find the answers somewhere online.

          Rob

          • Mike says:

            I totally understand, anyways I have learnt a lot from your weblog, very helpful info. Thanks bro and good luck with your business.

      • Rob Ward says:

        Hi Mike, we have half written an eBook on Crowd Funding and are trying to get an idea if people would be interested in it. If you are please sign up to our notification list

        Subscribe for Crowd Funding eBook notification

  25. Andrew Birt says:

    Rob, fantastic post, demystifies the whole process and great insider knowledge generously dispensed. Kudos mate. Also a question. Did that $1100 package you talk about mean you didn’t have to register the EIN yourself? I’ve just registered and LLC; then looking to register the EIN myself – which seems simple enough on the surface, but I’m wondering if there’s something I’ve missed. Did you look at the EIN and think; that’s too much work or see the package deal as just a fast way to tackle everything in one-go? Cheers, Andrew.

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey Andrew, I’m a bit sketchy on the pricing now as it was last year some time. I know I didn’t look into getting the EIN myself, I thought it would be more efficient to just pay the Company Corporation to do it. This way I also new that the EIN would be referring back to the US forwarding address and I wouldn’t have any issues. Thanks for the feedback and good luck!! Rob

    • Chris says:

      Hey Andrew, I registered my LLC through Company Corporation and called the agent and asked for a discount before clicking on my total payment which was showing on screen for the whole “outside US deal” something around $1400 USD without having their last option which was consulting for a year for almost $350. Anyways I called in and the lady gave me the same package including registering EIN again without only their last option for only $650 USD and I was still getting everything even the mail forwarding. So maybe for next LLC you can call them also and let them do everything, you may end of paying less than their online shop.

  26. Ron Pathak says:

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for the information above… very helpful…

    When you used your sister’s US residency to help you set up your first kickstarter project, what did that involve? …. and what liabilities did that expose your sister to? … and by doing it that way did you expose yourself financially to your sister? i.e. can you withdraw the money on your own or did you need her authorisation / and more importantly could she withdraw the money on her own or would she require your authorisation?

    Many thanks

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey Ron

      I’m not 100% sure of the tax implications as I’m not an accountant, but no I couldn’t get the money without her authorisation and she could take the money without my authorisation because she was the main account holder.

      I would only use this method with someone you trust and if you were expecting a large mount of money I think it’s worth setting up your own account to void and tax implications. It maybe worth getting professional advice on the matter. Hope this helps and best of luck with your project.

      Rob.

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hi Ron, we have half written an eBook on Crowd Funding and are trying to get an idea if people would be interested in it. If you are please sign up to our notification list

      Subscribe for Crowd Funding eBook notification

  27. Joe says:

    Hi Rob,

    Firstly, great article. Good to see that us aussies can find a way onto kickstarter.

    I had a question, relating to the “company corporation”. When forming your LLC and EIN did you put down your Australian address? Or did you first create a mail forwarding address and then use that to create the LLC and EIN?

    I hope that question makes sense, I guess what I’m asking for is a bit more detail on this step.

    Any help would be much appreciated!

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey Joe,

      When I applied using Company Corporation I think I used my Aussie address at the start but as I purchased a pack for the LLC, EIN and Mail Forwarding address the Mail Forwarding address became my LLC’s registered address.

      Good Luck – Rob

  28. Nick says:

    I’m from Australia and am wondering about: Step 3, Is there a way to avoid paying $1000.

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey Nick,
      I’m not sure, that’s just how I went about doing it. You might be able to find something cheaper if you look around but I found this way the most convenient.
      If you find something else thats cheaper and works well let everyone know in a comment.

      Good luck, rob.

  29. joseph says:

    Hey Rob, if i were to sign up using the same process you have, do you think i might run into an issue with registering the same forwarding address as you?

  30. joseph says:

    sorry rob another question if the llc is registered to your Australian address, when amazon has you fill out the tax forms did you register it to your forwarding address or your registered Australian address?

  31. Samer says:

    Hey Rob,

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing all this valuable information, which breathes hope into all of our dreams! :) I thought I’d share my experience and spare some people of the agony that I’ve been through! So I’ve done everything you’ve mentioned: 1. Got a US number 2. started an LLC, But I didn’t start a business bank account, because A relative (Not american) already has one there along with a credit card! So Here’s the deal Amazon got stuck on verifying me, and kept asking for the last 4 digits of my SSN, which I don’t have of course, Although I did hand in my EIN and filed the tax form already, they just wanted to make sure that I was who I was saying I am, and I couldn’t do that, so they restricted my account!

    So the point here is, I’m not sure this is because of the different names in my bank account and credit card, but the owner of the account, which is the name you enter when you first register, should be an american, what they’ve assured me is, this person won’t have anything to do with taxation, but they will need a SSN to actually verify your name and address!

    I hope this help anyone out there trying to do this!

    Thanks Again,

    Samer

    • Rob Ward says:

      Thanks for the info Samer, I’m sure this will help a lot of people following and working through this process.

      Best of luck to you, and don’t forget to mention your project here once you get it up on Kickstarter.

      Cheers – Rob

  32. Linton says:

    Hi Rob, thanks for the awesome post.

    I’ve read all the comments here too and found that it seemed Amazon has introduced more barriers by asking for SSN and/or physical address. This would make the whole method described here unusable.

    Have you heard anything that confirms these and/or provides any workaround? Thanks!

    BTW: I actually followed up to step 6 but got stuck there since Bank of America closed my account after knowing that it’s based off a mailbox address, which I obtained from The Company Corporation. I was thinking of trying another bank before reading the comments.

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hi Linton

      Firstly I’d read everything you can so that you have as much knowledge as possible on the matter before trying anything else. To bad you didn’t get the BOA account but I’d keep trying. They have always needed a physical address and SSN but I and others have been able to get around this by using an EIN and a mail forwarding address.

      The best advice I can give you is that you need to keep all your application off the radar and avoid being reviewed.

      Good Luck

      Rob

      • joseph says:

        could it be that amazon has caught on and recently have been requiring ssn? or have you know people to use this successfully recently.

        As i dont want to invest my money into this plan if it has been nulled

        • Rob Ward says:

          Hey Joe

          As I said Amazon have always asked for an SSN but when I did it I was able to enter an EIN when they asked for an SSN. Not sure how much it has changed but there are definitely still a lot of non US citizens getting on Kickstarter all the time.

          Cheers

        • Samer says:

          Hey Joseph,

          According to my experience, YOU WILL NEED SSN! I did everything as I’ve specified above! I registered an LLC and created an Amazon Payments account and all, and 2 days later, they ask me for the last 4 numbers of the account owner’s SSN and NOT the company’s EIN! So the very first name you list when you create the Amazon payments account has to be a US. Citizen or someone with a SSN! And that worked for me, verified right now after 3 weeks of going back and forth with them!! taxation info was all filed on the EIN, but they still need, and i quote, to “know our customer”!!! hope this helps you! :)

          • joseph says:

            thanks samer, i assume though that the persons who ssn# you are using has control of the amazon payments money? as the account is in their name so they must be a person who you trust

          • joseph says:

            or did you register with your bank account? and just use their ssn

          • Samer says:

            The person needs to register the amazon payments account and add some personal info. BUT let them use your email and your own/company bank account. ALSO fill in the company info. in the tax profile, so that you spare the US citizen all the taxation pain! I’m guessing you could eventually change the password to your payments account!
            by the way, the following link is quite similar to what I did, except I used a non-us citizen bank account! http://www.xenonauts.com/kickstarter.html#C9!

          • Rob Ward says:

            Hey Samer

            Just confirmed that I’ll be speaking at this corwd funding thing in October if anyone is interested http://startfund.eventbrite.com.au/?ebtv=C

            Cheers Rob

  33. Kane says:

    Hi Rob,
    very nice article, very helpful and informative.
    I have a question about the “Identity verification” section, which is describe as: “Every project requires a verified Kickstarter account. If you are running this project as an individual, verify your own name. If you are running this project on behalf of a legal entity (e.g. company or organization), verify your identity as the representative of this entity.”
    should i write my name and real address or the company name and mail foward address?
    Except this, Kickstarter also require Phone verification, should i verify my real country phone number or the number come with the incorporation package? This two thing is very bother me and i totally don’t know how to do.

    Thank you:)

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey Kane,

      I used our own names but then used a skype number for verification. Not sure if this still works or if this is what you should do, but it’s what I did.

      Hope this helps.

      Rob

      • Kane says:

        Hi Rob,
        thanks for reply,
        I wonder what address you provide to verify your identity?
        Your real address or mail forward address?

        • Mark Hampton says:

          Hi Rob,

          Same problem here. They have added a new step which requires a name, US home address and birthday.

          I’ve sent the question to Kickstarter.

          I also wonder how they verify this. Maybe the name/birthday/address of everyone in the US is public – that would be a surprise.

          Mark

    • Samer says:

      Hey Kane,

      I just tried this with my own name and it didn’t work! to verify the identity with kickstarter itself you now need a US citizen! and somehow got all this info about his/her background and they will ask you about 4 multiple choice question to verify that you’re that person!

      As for the phone, just get call forwarding from skype and then have them call you and just type in the number! I do think you will need a US number, but im not sure!

      • Kane says:

        Hi Samer,

        it look like i really need to find a american join my team,
        but whatever i will still try Rob method bcause want to find a
        proper american join my team is very hard.

      • joseph says:

        hey samer j

        ust one last question with my situation.

        with the other guide you linked they used the persons address and credit card. did you do this? or did you still use your own business address and credit card

        • Samer says:

          Hey Joseph,

          Well I didnt actually get a mail forwarding address as we just used that other person’s address and thus also his credit card! don’t worry about the credit card that much, they don’t even charge it, just for verification! I’m guessing they have it on record just in case they need money from you or something!

          Good luck!

          Samer

      • Rob Ward says:

        Hi Samer, we have half written an eBook on Crowd Funding and are trying to get an idea if people would be interested in it. If you are please sign up to our notification list

        Subscribe for Crowd Funding eBook notification

  34. Frode says:

    Hi all.

    Its much back and forward here.

    We have a UK based operation, have develop the prototype for the portal, end-unit, and communication as SIM. With 2 patent pending etc.

    We are now dev a animation video a new login page, and will promote this to the market to investor, but also a ‘kick’ with Kickstarter or other similar places, and have as you all find that Kickstarter is the best to start up the sale.

    We find the product we have a brilliant place for Kickstarter, its quite unique, etc.

    Is it some here that can help us establish all part for us in US.

    I have mail: frodelaak@gmail.com.

    Hope to hear from all that can help, and we will of course pay for the service.

    I will also be in USA from 25th to 26th.

    Br
    Frode

  35. Rob Ward says:

    HI All

    There is a crowd funding event being held next month in Melbourne details here http://startfund.eventbrite.com.au/?ebtv=C

    Cheers Rob

  36. Alvin Bunte says:

    You are a very clever individual!

  37. Paul says:

    SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IS NOW MANDATORY!
    Even if you registered as Business account, you still need to have someone with SSN as a contact person.

    So think, before you incorporate US company, make sure you know someone that has SSN.

    Now I’m kind of stuck :-\

    The good thing about Corporate account, you have piece of mind because it bank is under your control, not your friend. It will also spare her from tax issue in the future.

    Hope this help.

  38. […] has written a number of useful blog posts on how to set up a Kickstarter page for those outside of the US, but says the success of Annex comes down to turning success on the […]

  39. Matt says:

    Hi Rob,

    Excellent post. I’m on the flipside of this issue. I’m based in Los Angeles and would like to help some mates based in Melbourne pledge through Kickstarter. However I’m trying to gather information surrounding the tax implications I will be on the hook for as a result of my generosity.

    I have two options I could use.
    1. Setup a new LLC in the States that will act as a special purpose vehicle for this project.
    2. Use my existing LLC’s information to set up the Amazon account for their KS page.

    It would be easy to make up my mind if I:
    1. Knew what the tax implications were for either scenario.
    2. If I could simply setup the Amazon account through my LLC and append this to their KS project without penalty by the US Government.

    As of now, I’m working with a short deadline and more questions than answers. Any guidance you give me on this topic would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Matt

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey Matt

      Good on you for helping out. I see where you are coming from, I think the safest thing to do would be to set up a separate LLC with your mates as the members and then just use your SSN to help set up the Amazon Payments account. This way everything refers back to the LLC and you’re in the clear. Well that’s the way I see it anyway.

      Cheers and best of luck – Rob

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey Matt, we have half written an eBook on Crowd Funding and are trying to get an idea if people would be interested in it. If you are please sign up to our notification list

      Subscribe for Crowd Funding eBook notification

      Thanks Rob

  40. Steve says:

    Hi Rob,

    does it work if we have a personal US bank account, instead of a business bank account? Do we still need to register the LLC if we already have a personal US bank account? Please advise. Thanks

    Steve

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey Steve

      We registered an LLC for a number of reasons, one was because we found we could use the companies EIN/TIN instead of an SSN while registering for an Amazon payments account. Since we did this others on this blog have said that this is no longer possible and you need an SSN. If you have a friend in the US this might be a good time to call in a favour :). See other information regarding the matter in the comments.

      Cheers – Rob

      • Steve says:

        Hi Rob,

        Thanks for the advise. So does a personal account and a SSN work fine? Does the bank account have to be in the same name as the bank account holder while verifying?

        Steve

        • Steve says:

          Sorry what I meant is, does the name of the bank account owner need to match the name of the amazon payments account?

          • Rob Ward says:

            I’m not sure seeing as its changed since I did it and I set it up under a company name not an individual. You may even need the company to get the Amazon Payments account in the first place I’m sure this will be easy to find out once ou start the process.

            Thanks

  41. Steve says:

    Hey Rob,

    I found a American friend to help. I am going to start the New company process, but having trouble opening a bank account directly from my local country, probably have to fly down there to get it opened. What I am thinking is, could I jus open the new company, but for Amazon i use my own US bank account instead of the company bank account. Does this work?

    • Rob Ward says:

      I’m not sure, sorry. I only know the way I did it as explained above. There’s normally 10 different ways to skin a cat.

      Thanks -Rob

    • Piers says:

      Federal law says (I’m not a legal professional) that you *must* appear in person with valid ID to open a bank account anywhere in the US. I’ve heard of a couple of people pulling it, off, but I believe these were largely fluke cases of people managing to get a clueless bank staff member to let something through that really shouldn’t have gotten through.

  42. BigJoe says:

    Hi all
    Someone can help finding US friend , contact person or business partner, who help getout to to kickstarter. Share or fee solution possible.
    We are small company.

  43. frank fera says:

    Thanks everyone, what an invaluable source of information. I just saw an article on aussie prime time for kickstarter so naturally I was aghast at the fact that you needed to be a US or UK citizen to post a project on kickstarter :-| after a couple of days of figuring my way around this, I found the above. Awesome! I’ll post my experiences once I’m done setting up if anything interesting occurs that might be useful to share.

  44. […] How to start a Kickstarter project if you’re outside the USA […]

  45. Mojo says:

    Thanks for the information. Looks like a way through.

    I know this may have already been covered (i didn’t trawl through the entire comments list…), but does Kickstarter actually allow this? Is it valid their end?

    • Mojo says:

      I mean, when you read the beginnings of setting up a kickstarter on the website, they make you verify or aree that you are a USA or UK citizen. But on kickstarter itself, there appears to be projects when you search Australia – melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney (which makes me think that once you are in there, they allow you to expand on where you are offering the project from). Appears a little confusing to me…

      Thanks for your time :)

      • Rob Ward says:

        Hey Mojo

        This is true, when doing this your not exactly playing by the rules, I don’t think you’d be breaking them just bending.

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey Mojo, we have half written an eBook on Crowd Funding and are trying to get an idea if people would be interested in it. If you are please sign up to our notification list

      Subscribe for Crowd Funding eBook notification

      Thanks Rob

  46. Wil says:

    OK, so if someone was to summarise the best procedure to go about all this as it stands today… What would your non-legally binding advice be?

    For instance; if one was to have a friend in the US with a SSN and was able to incorporate an LLC in Delaware; would you agree with the following? If not what would you change and how?

    – Set up your Kickstarter project.
    – Convince a permanent US resident (US friend) that has a US state-issued ID and a Social Security Number to help you out.
    – Use an organisation like the The Company Corporation to incorporate an LLC in Delaware whilst also using their services to obtain a mail forwarding address.
    – Start a US bank account for the LLC; (one transaction account, one savings account and a credit card account – “Visa debit card”).
    – Have your permanent US resident mate set up an Amazon Payments account using his SSN and the company bank account details. (I’m still a bit vague on whether the US permanent resident has to have his name on the bank account though)
    – Complete verification of Kickstarter account.

    Comprende?

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey Wil,

      Sounds very close to what we did and it Kickstarted our business, became our full-time job and we now have about 15 separate products and 3 online stores.

      Good luck with whatever you choose to do!

      Rob

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey Will, we have half written an eBook on Crowd Funding and are trying to get an idea if people would be interested in it. If you are please sign up to our notification list

      Subscribe for Crowd Funding eBook notification

      Thanks Rob

      • Wil says:

        Done! Look forward to receiving it.

      • Wil says:

        Done! Look forward to receiving the notification.

        • Wil says:

          Hey Roby; how’d you go with that Crowdfunding book?

          • Rob Ward says:

            Hi Wil, got a draft together but haven’t got to much further as we got too busy building our business. Still not totally off the cards.

        • Toby says:

          Hey Wil!

          Did you go forward with your kickstarter project? I would do it exactly as you described. The only thing I am worried about is the same issue you are vague about: does the US citizen’s name need to be the same like the one for the bank account at Amazon payments?

  47. Nick says:

    Hi Rob, firstly thanks for the very detailed info, also for being so helpful and responsive. Also appreciating everyone that’s sharing info here. I have a couple of questions:

    a) it looks like the “US helper friend” (in your case your sister right?) needs to create the Kickstarter project since Kickstarter needs to verify him/her, is that right?

    b) would his/her name appear on the project page? where?

    c) on the right of the project page below the “Project by”, it shows the kickstarter history of how many created / backed, is that the info of the project creator “US helper friend” (in your case your sister)? can that be set to someone else?

    d) Below that there’s a facebook account name, is that also from the “US helper friend” or can that be someone else?

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hi Nick,

      When we did our Kickstarter projects we didn’t need to verify my sister in the US as this wasn’t necessary, we only needed to use here for the Amazon Payments account. In fact on our second project when we made our US LLC we didn’t need to use her details at all. I think this has changed now on the Amazon side of things but I’m not sure about Kickstarter. Cheers Rob

  48. Nathan says:

    Hi Rob,
    Firstly thank you so much for this priceless information, without it I would not even know where to start.
    I wanted t ask you if you considered setting up a C-Corp as opposed to a LLC in Delaware? I have just had a meeting with a US CPA and they recommend a C-Corp because profits can be paid in dividends as opposed to a pass through entity being an LLC. My understanding is that the C-Corp will pay tax as a company, and then dividends will be paid to the shareholders. Any tax paid in the US is offset here in Australia through the US/AU tax treaty.
    The one main benefit I can see from this is, if you made a large amount of money in a fiscal year through Kickstarter and brought the entire amount back to Australia, you could possibly be paying tax in the highest bracket 45c for $180,000 and over (potentially losing half of your money in taxes). With the flexibility of having control over dividends, you could bring the money back to Australia in smaller amounts each year to avoid paying the highest rate of tax.
    Appreciate your inout and whether you have had to cross this bridge or not.
    Thanks!
    Nathan

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey Nathan

      Glad your finding the blog helpful, there is also some more up to date content in the comments.

      As I’m not an accountant I can’t really comment, but I think you would only be paying the highest tax rate if you were bring the funds back into Australia as an individual rather than as an Australian company.

      Cheers and good luck – Rob

      • Nathan says:

        Thanks Rob – totally agree, by having an Australian company the tax rate would be capped at 30%, forgot about that.

        Thanks for your help
        Nathan

  49. […] are ways that you can get onto Kickstarter as an Australian, and Roby Ward’s website has some good advice for how to go about […]

  50. Tommy says:

    Can I use the Mail Forwarding Address as the business address in Amazon Payments for identity verification?

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey Tommy, as long as it’s not a PO box you should be ok.
      -Rob

      • Tommy says:

        Rod, thank you so much! I was so sad that my US relatives not willing to help me due to their own concerns. So I try to figure it out by myself and working on setting up a US LLC now.

        One more thing I would like to know, Kickstarter mentions they require US state-issued ID (driver’s license), I want to know which part they will ask for this US ID? I have no such US helper right now, if they must require this US ID for identification, I think I will fail…

        • Rob Ward says:

          We just used our EIN number but as we first set this up back in 2011 Kickstarter may have changed their system by now. Some of the other people that have commented on this link would have more current experiences with the KS systems.

          • Tommy says:

            Thanks. Anyway, money is paid and my US LLC is being processed. I will let you know my result.

            By the way, I am also thinking the way from UK because it seems that UK projects do not require Amazon Payments account, KS require UK bank account only. But of cos KS claims that they require UK ID or passport for identification, so I think someone who has a UK friend may try this way.

  51. […] be able to contest for this with a mailing address set in the US. Rob Ward shares tips on how to set up a Kickstarter project even if you are based outside of the US. There have also been cases of Asian startups winning the lotto on Kickstarter. Pirate3D, for […]

    • Toby says:

      Hi all!

      Tommy, were you successful? Did you manage to get your project started?

      Were anyone recently successful in starting a campaing from outside the US?

      • Rob Ward says:

        Hi Toby, yes we were successful twice in both starting a campaign and hitting our funding goals. Our first campaign was about 2 years ago now. Kickstarter is now opening in Australia so I would recommend that option. Good Luck

        • Toby says:

          Hi,

          thanks Rob. We are based in Germany so Australia does not make it easier than the US. Even UK is not really more attractive for us than the US.

          Since Amazon payments apparently has applied more strict rules I was wondering if anyone else has uses your method successfully after you did it.

          As far as I understand it still works. We’ll go for it soon.

          Is there any way here to send private messages without publishing email adresses?

          • VIncent says:

            Hi Rob,

            Can you keep us posted about the possibilities to post a project from Europ to Kickstarter. We are a Belgian Development team wishing a crowd-funding KS project.

          • Rob Ward says:

            Hi Vincent

            I’m not really sure of Kickstarter’s movements in this area, but if I hear anything I’ll let you know. Australia is supposed to be opening soon, but still no final date!

            Cheers – Rob

  52. Henry says:

    Lets Work Together

  53. K.T. says:

    Hi all,
    What is the best description to select “type of ownership” for describing the company in Amazon Payments? Will I get any trouble for selecting inappropriate description?

    Thanks.

  54. Larry says:

    Hi Roby,

    I really appreciate this how to, you provided here!
    When applying for a US bankaccount I suppose they wanted you to fill in a US address. Did you fill in the mail forwarding address from ‘the company corporation’?
    Also what LLC documents did you need to provide at the bank?

    cheers,
    Larry

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hey Larry

      I can’t remember exactly what docs I had with me at the time but I’m guessing I just took everything that I received from the Company Corporation. You will also need your Passport.

      Good Luck – Rob

  55. stefano says:

    Hi Rob,
    First of all I want to say thanks for taking time and sharing your experience with everyone.

    I am Italian and my sister, like yours, moved to Miami two years ago with her two young sons an his husband. She opened a liquor store and so I am sure she has a bank account.

    But she has a five years visa so she is not a permanent US citizen. Do you think tha I can run the project on kickstarter, with the help of my sister even if she is not a permanent US citizen?

    Your help would be much appreciated!
    Thank you and all the best,

    Stefano

  56. Ann says:

    Hi Rob! Thank you for the great info and big thanks to the people who shared their experience.
    I have found a lot of useful information, but I still have some questions about running the project on Kickstarter.

    First I will explain my situation. We have an existing LLC in the US with a bank account in Bank of America, EIN and company’s address.

    As we need an Amazon Payments business account, do we need a U.S. resident or citizen and US state-issued ID to create the account? And if we don’t have a person in U.S., can we create an Amazon Payments account on behalf of the company? I wonder if the company’s address eligible to one of the Amazon requirements “to have a physical presence in the US”, because we have office in the United States and EIN.

    And, if it’s important to have a person associated with the account, should the person be a member of the company or any person with the US state-issued ID?

    And the last question about the bank account. What steps will be after filling personal details by US person? Do we need to add credit/debit card and bank account and whose data should be provided – a personal data or company’s data? This is very important part to understand, because we don’t want our US helper to suffer from tax bill.

    Thank you for your help in advance!

    Good luck!

    Ann

    • Rob Ward says:

      Hi Ann, As you know things have changed a lot in this space from when we first made the leap into the crowd funding. I’m now not sure what happens with the Amazon payments side but Kickstarter is now in Australia where you don’t have to use Amazon so I think this is a better option. Your LLC will still be very help when needing to set up payment gateways and other things as you move forward.

      Good luck – Rob

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