5 replies
Dear Fellow Copywriters,

I am about to launch a business as a freelance copywriter, and wanted to find out about payment practices when working with companies in the US. Specifically:

1. How do US companies pay Canadian copywriters? (Cheque / paypal / bank transfer / other?)
2. Are there any legal issues for Canadians working freelance for US companies?
3. As freelancers, are you paid into a personal or corporate (small business) account? Do clients have any preference?
4. In your experience, are US clients ever worried about hiring Canadian freelancers? If so, what are their concerns?

I would be grateful for any advice you might have, or reflection on any experiences you've all had.


#$$$ #paid
  • Profile picture of the author JakeDaly
    1) Same way all professionals get paid - mostly through cheque or bank transfer, although offering clients the option of paying through credit or debit cards would be nice, too(I don't recommend this until you're established, as fees and service costs can eat a lot of your revenue).

    Some IM clients may choose to pay through Paypal, though, since that's where THEY get paid a lot of the time.

    2) If you form a company, none whatsoever.. but if you're an individual you may have to fill out the W-8BEN (Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding). I ain't no tax expert, though, so definitely ask a local accountant or other freelancers you know. Some US companies will want to only deal with American copywriters to begin with, so be prepared to show past results and have confidence in selling yourself.

    3) For tax and budgeting purposes, it'd be easier to open a bank account strictly for your business.

    4) See #2
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    • Profile picture of the author NMD1967
      Dear Jake,

      Many thanks for your detailed response - much appreciated.

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    • Profile picture of the author NMD1967
      Hi Jake,

      Just to clarify - are you saying that there should be no problems working as a Canadian for US companies if I form a company in Canada? What if I form a company in the US?

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  • Profile picture of the author vickydz
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    • Profile picture of the author JakeDaly
      You won't have a problem either way, really, but those two options would have different tax consequences.. so you should speak to a tax professional or fellow Canadian freelancers and see which one is best for you.
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      • Profile picture of the author JacMer
        A Canadian citizen setting up a US company may subject you to double taxation.
        I assume when you say a US or Canadian company you are planning on a corporate structure for liability issues. In the US, the way to go would be a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), but I believe you need to be a US citizen and resident of a State that allows that option.
        Not sure if Canada has an option similar - best check with legal / tax pros.
        Hope that helps.
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