Is It Required By Law to Include My Real Name in Paypal Invoices?

by Monthy
24 replies
Hi guys!

First of all, I am not from the USA, I am from a small European country that is a part of the European Union. However, I often come in contact with people from all over the world and do business with them. Many of my customers are from the U.S., others are from the UK and some are from non-English-speaking countries.

My question deserves a bit of an introduction so let me do so: I have several lines of business, each of which uses a different business name, email address and contact information. I would like to ask you if any one of you know whether it is possible, in legal terms, to include a different name for every Paypal invoice that I create? Or perhaps a better way to put it would be: Is it OK to use a unique name for every unique customer who purchases my services whom I invoice via Paypal?

Before posting this question on the WF, I was wondering whether Paypal itself would be OK with it, so I reached out to them and asked one of their representatives. He said that from a payment point of view, it doesn't matter if I change my name, contact information, business name and email for every invoice that I send out. Well, this is only a payment point of view, though, and I can clearly understand why Paypal do not care - they simply want their cut of the transaction, it doesn't bother them whether the name is my real name or a pen name.

However, what Paypal cares or doesn't care about is one thing but the law is a completely different ball game. The law might prescribe that I must include my real name in the invoices that I send out. So I wanted to ask if you know what the law says in this regard and which law (whose country's law) would be used if I, as a service provider, send an invoice to an American citizen - would American law or my local law be applied on the transaction to determine possible legal obligation to include my real name?

Thanks a lot for reading this and hopefully commenting on it!
#include #invoices #law #paypal #pen name #pseudonym #real #required
  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    Contact and ask a lawyer and paypal

    al
    Signature

    A bar of iron cost $5. Made into horseshoes, it's worth $12. Made into needles, it's worth $3500. Made into balance springs for watches, it's worth $300,000. Your value is determined by what you are able to make of yourself

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10695802].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Monthy
      Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

      Contact and ask a lawyer and paypal

      al
      Thanks but this is a non-answer. Apparently you didn't even read the post, as I mentioned there I already contacted Paypal.
      Signature

      Free thanks to anyone who replies to me. :)

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10695820].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author agmccall
        Originally Posted by Monthy View Post

        Thanks but this is a non-answer. Apparently you didn't even read the post, as I mentioned there I already contacted Paypal.
        It is not a non answer. You need to contact a lawyer with legal questions, not strangers at a forum. Also, if you did not understand or like the paypal response then you need to contact them again for clarification.

        As for paypal's stance, it is the same with any processor. As long as you meet the legal requirements for owning your account then you can have as many DBA's as you want.

        But, talk to a lawyer.

        al
        Signature

        A bar of iron cost $5. Made into horseshoes, it's worth $12. Made into needles, it's worth $3500. Made into balance springs for watches, it's worth $300,000. Your value is determined by what you are able to make of yourself

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10695843].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
        Originally Posted by Monthy View Post

        Thanks but this is a non-answer. Apparently you didn't even read the post, as I mentioned there I already contacted Paypal.
        Actually, this is the best answer. Yes, you already contacted Paypal. Great!

        But you still must talk to a lawyer if you want to know what you need to do in your particular situation. Never rely on legal advice from strangers on an Internet forum, especially when members are from all around the world. And you didn't even say what country your from to begin with.

        Yes, lawyers cost money. But they're worth their weight in gold by keeping you out of legal trouble.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10696001].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Gambino
    Not a lawyer. You should ask someone who is.

    So just my thoughts/opinion. If you're 'John Smith' and you have multiple DBAs such as 'Copywriter USA' and '24 Hour Logos' then there is no issue billing your clients under the DBA that the customer is ordering through.

    That's the basics, but obviously there is a lot more involved such as how you have your business set up and how you pay taxes. The above would be for a sole proprietor with multiple DBAs. In my experience, PayPal is not very friendly when dealing with multiple business names on one account.

    Typically, the local law would be your primary concern since it's where you're located and the work is being done.

    But again, ask a lawyer who is paid to know these things.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10695825].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Monthy
      Originally Posted by Gambino View Post

      Not a lawyer. You should ask someone who is.

      So just my thoughts/opinion. If you're 'John Smith' and you have multiple DBAs such as 'Copywriter USA' and '24 Hour Logos' then there is no issue billing your clients under the DBA that the customer is ordering through.

      That's the basics, but obviously there is a lot more involved such as how you have your business set up and how you pay taxes. The above would be for a sole proprietor with multiple DBAs. In my experience, PayPal is not very friendly when dealing with multiple business names on one account.

      Typically, the local law would be your primary concern since it's where you're located and the work is being done.

      But again, ask a lawyer who is paid to know these things.
      Thanks. Actually it can be said Paypal was friendly to me when I asked this question to them. As mentioned above, they had no problem with it and the representative even advised me to change my business name in the settings in my Paypal account before creating every separate invoice.

      I'm not sure if the names I appear under can be considered "DBAs". I make money online by freelance writing and use different pen names in different niches. So for every niche I would like to be able to use a different pen name (throughout the niche, so even for Paypal invoicing).
      Signature

      Free thanks to anyone who replies to me. :)

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10695837].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Gambino
        Originally Posted by Monthy View Post

        Thanks. Actually it can be said Paypal was friendly to me when I asked this question to them. As mentioned above, they had no problem with it and the representative even advised me to change my business name in the settings in my Paypal account before creating every separate invoice.
        Exactly my point. The PayPal rep may have been friendly but the PayPal interface is not set up to run multiple business under one account. You'd have to constantly change the name every single time you create an invoice. I wouldn't do it.

        As Kay said, the best advice in this thread was "ask a lawyer". The only advice that matters is that of a person qualified to give it. Unfortunately, if you get busted for something, "well, the guys on the Warrior Forum advised me it way okay" probably won't hold up well in court.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10695849].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author Monthy
          Originally Posted by Gambino View Post

          Exactly my point. The PayPal rep may have been friendly but the PayPal interface is not set up to run multiple business under one account. You'd have to constantly change the name every single time you create an invoice. I wouldn't do it.

          As Kay said, the best advice in this thread was "ask a lawyer". The only advice that matters is that of a person qualified to give it. Unfortunately, if you get busted for something, "well, the guys on the Warrior Forum advised me it way okay" probably won't hold up well in court.
          Alright, but I'm sure there are also lawyers actively searching through the WF and answering questions. Brian Kindsvater is one I can think of. So asking on a forum isn't completely useless.
          Signature

          Free thanks to anyone who replies to me. :)

          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10695854].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author TrickyDick
            Originally Posted by Monthy View Post

            Alright, but I'm sure there are also lawyers actively searching through the WF and answering questions. Brian Kindsvater is one I can think of. So asking on a forum isn't completely useless.
            It is not just about grabbing a random Lawyer....

            You need a Lawyer licensed in your country and state or province... Laws vary by both country and state or province.

            I don't know what country and state Brian is licensed to practice....
            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10696194].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author JC Web
        Originally Posted by Monthy View Post

        ...
        I'm not sure if the names I appear under can be considered "DBAs". I make money online by freelance writing and use different pen names in different niches. So for every niche I would like to be able to use a different pen name (throughout the niche, so even for Paypal invoicing).
        Leaving the legal aspect aside for the moment, it sounds like these different names you want to use are not registered business names/DBA names. If you ever encounter any issue with your PayPal account, Paypal is going to ask you for identification and also for your business documents if you are not operating under your personal name. If you can't show them documents permitting you to operate under the names you are using for your business, that will be the end of your account.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10695980].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Contact and ask a lawyer and paypal
    You say that is a non-answer as you've talked to Paypal. Ok ....

    Contact and ask a lawyer
    It's not a non-answer because every country has it's regulations when it comes to financial transactions. I can say "no problem - you can do that" - but what happens - to you - if I'm wrong? IANAL so any legal advice given would be guesswork.
    Signature

    Saving one dog will not change the world - but the world will change forever for that one dog.
    It takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10695839].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Saltzig
    Far as I know it is not legal, read T&S on PayPal. I think you cannot run multiple businesses under one account. You can hack it and include just one (main business) and include incomes on other you own, but that is already in shady area.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10695918].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author hardwarker
    It is better to provide your real name. because there may any problem & the Paypal may ask your any ID card (National ID card, Driving License, Passport, or, some other card like these). In this time you must show this documents. If you fail to show the documents, your Paypal ID will be blocked & your Paypal balance will be forfeiture.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10695945].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author TheGMa
    Hm. I've read all the way through this thread and am confused beyond belief.
    1. It's a legal question: "...Is It Required By Law...?" so I have no idea why the post is here to begin with.
    2. You apparently already know there is an attorney in the forum, so why didn't you PM him right off?
    3. If you already spoke with PayPal and received an answer from them, why did you include the name in the title of your post?
    4. Why so many pen names? Have you never heard of the advantages of branding? Sure as hell makes bookkeeping a lot easier.
    5. It is a curtesy to provide your information on every invoice: name of company or person + support contact. Whether I receive an invoice or receipt from a French or German or American company or person, that information is always included. It's just good business.

    It doesn't matter what you call yourself as far as business names are concerned, but choosing 20 different aliases screams of scammery. I would personally be furious if I found out that I thought I was doing business with someone called John Smith only to find out his real name is Timothy Johnson, or is it Bill Jones?

    Monthly, it just sounds to me like you are making your life complicated for no good reason. I mean, I'm a gardener and sometimes I do research for $7 reports for gardeners. I belong to 3 gardening forums, I use the same handle in each and write my reports under my name + my gardening forum handle.

    As for the legal question, ask an expert in business law for your reporting location. If you do not have to file any income reports or register as a business, plus you live in some small Euro country like Luxembourg or Andorra or Switzerland, exactly who do you think is going to come after you with a law suit?

    If you were a bricks and mortar corporation doing business in other countries, such as selling material items, then you would have to abide by the laws of each country in which you are doing business. Check with the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce). They set the standards for doing business internationally; it's where everyone goes for rules and regs. But you are on the Internet, therefore I do not really understand your question.

    - Annie
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10695978].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Monthy
      Originally Posted by TheGMa View Post

      Hm. I've read all the way through this thread and am confused beyond belief.
      1. It's a legal question: "...Is It Required By Law...?" so I have no idea why the post is here to begin with.
      2. You apparently already know there is an attorney in the forum, so why didn't you PM him right off?
      3. If you already spoke with PayPal and received an answer from them, why did you include the name in the title of your post?
      4. Why so many pen names? Have you never heard of the advantages of branding? Sure as hell makes bookkeeping a lot easier.
      5. It is a curtesy to provide your information on every invoice: name of company or person + support contact. Whether I receive an invoice or receipt from a French or German or American company or person, that information is always included. It's just good business.

      It doesn't matter what you call yourself as far as business names are concerned, but choosing 20 different aliases screams of scammery. I would personally be furious if I found out that I thought I was doing business with someone called John Smith only to find out his real name is Timothy Johnson, or is it Bill Jones?

      Monthly, it just sounds to me like you are making your life complicated for no good reason. I mean, I'm a gardener and sometimes I do research for $7 reports for gardeners. I belong to 3 gardening forums, I use the same handle in each and write my reports under my name + my gardening forum handle.

      As for the legal question, ask an expert in business law for your reporting location. If you do not have to file any income reports or register as a business, plus you live in some small Euro country like Luxembourg or Andorra or Switzerland, exactly who do you think is going to come after you with a law suit?

      - Annie
      Hi Annie,

      Thanks for the constructive answer.

      1. As I mentioned, there surely are lawyers on the forum who might be able to give me proper answer or at least show me the right direction.

      2. Because there might be many other attorneys on the forum, some of whom might be more knowledgeable than Brian is about this subject.

      3. Why shouldn't I? I have no reason to hide their name in the title.

      4. Every pen name is for every separate niche I am in. I am in a lot of niches and it might look strange if I used the same name in all of the niches.

      5. I would surely include contact information and my business name (i.e. pen name on every invoice I would issue), the customers would have no difficulty reaching me and frankly, if they knew my real name, it wouldn't make them better off by slight bit.

      For the legal question, I really don't know who is going to come after me with a law suit as I have no prior experience with it. Is it the American customer? Likely, if they are dissatisfied with my service (not that there is significant probability that that would occur). Are they going to sue my based on their national law or mine? I don't really know.
      Signature

      Free thanks to anyone who replies to me. :)

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10696836].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author TheGMa
        Originally Posted by Monthy View Post

        Hi Annie,

        Thanks for the constructive answer.

        1. As I mentioned, there surely are lawyers on the forum who might be able to give me proper answer or at least show me the right direction.

        2. Because there might be many other attorneys on the forum, some of whom might be more knowledgeable than Brian is about this subject.

        3. Why shouldn't I? I have no reason to hide their name in the title.

        4. Every pen name is for every separate niche I am in. I am in a lot of niches and it might look strange if I used the same name in all of the niches.

        5. I would surely include contact information and my business name (i.e. pen name on every invoice I would issue), the customers would have no difficulty reaching me and frankly, if they knew my real name, it wouldn't make them better off by slight bit.

        For the legal question, I really don't know who is going to come after me with a law suit as I have no prior experience with it. Is it the American customer? Likely, if they are dissatisfied with my service (not that there is significant probability that that would occur). Are they going to sue my based on their national law or mine? I don't really know.
        Sweetie, whatever gave you the idea that it would look strange to use the same name in different niches? I am going after niches starting in June (finally!). Let's say I have a site that specializes in high end handbags, another site that specializes in accessories, another site that specializes in one phase or another of Internet Marketing, another site dedicated to grandmas.

        1. I'll have a corporate entity that binds them all, and that will be listed at the bottom of each page on each site. I'm buying my LLC at the end of June.

        2. If the site requires a personality, like IM sites do or the granny site would, then my name and picture is right out there. Believe it or not, that builds customer loyalty and a broader customer base, especially if you can provide useful, informative articles that include a reference to a product article on one of your other sites. And I'm not talking about black hat PBN's.

        Think of it as running into someone you know at the grocery store. Since you already know that person, if they tell you that Clorox CleanUp is the best cleanser on the market, you're gonna pick it up. You bought a terrific backpack through one of their sites last month, and you got a really good tip for your grandchildren on another one of their sites. What's not to trust?

        Makes for incredible email marketing. Specialize and diversify at the same time.

        You really don't have to make your business so complicated. The more KISS you apply, the more money you make because you can focus on marketing, marketing, marketing instead of who you are here, there, and somewhere else.

        Annie
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10698792].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    If you have different businesses, and by that I mean you have different legal entities, why would Paypal have a problem with Business A billing Business A clients as Business A and Business B billing Business B clients as Business B?

    The question is: why do it from one account? Why not create an account for each business? Real businesses do that?

    Among other things, from the point of view of protecting themselves. If Business A is completely separate from Business B and Business B incurs a liability, Business A is not responsible. If they're connected, Business A might be liable too.

    Talk to an attorney and set up your businesses properly everywhere.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10696003].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Monthy
      Originally Posted by DABK View Post

      If you have different businesses, and by that I mean you have different legal entities, why would Paypal have a problem with Business A billing Business A clients as Business A and Business B billing Business B clients as Business B?

      The question is: why do it from one account? Why not create an account for each business? Real businesses do that?

      Among other things, from the point of view of protecting themselves. If Business A is completely separate from Business B and Business B incurs a liability, Business A is not responsible. If they're connected, Business A might be liable too.

      Talk to an attorney and set up your businesses properly everywhere.
      As far as I know, I can only have one personal and one business Paypal account, so that wouldn't really work for a variety of business lines.
      Signature

      Free thanks to anyone who replies to me. :)

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10696841].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
    The question is: why do it from one account? Why not create an account for each business? Real businesses do that?
    Paypal only allows each person 1 individual account and 1 business account. Multiple email addresses can be associated with each account, but you're only limited to 1 business account.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10696089].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author gregdavidson727
    Originally Posted by Monthy View Post

    Hi guys!

    First of all, I am not from the USA, I am from a small European country that is a part of the European Union. However, I often come in contact with people from all over the world and do business with them. Many of my customers are from the U.S., others are from the UK and some are from non-English-speaking countries.

    My question deserves a bit of an introduction so let me do so: I have several lines of business, each of which uses a different business name, email address and contact information. I would like to ask you if any one of you know whether it is possible, in legal terms, to include a different name for every Paypal invoice that I create? Or perhaps a better way to put it would be: Is it OK to use a unique name for every unique customer who purchases my services whom I invoice via Paypal?

    Before posting this question on the WF, I was wondering whether Paypal itself would be OK with it, so I reached out to them and asked one of their representatives. He said that from a payment point of view, it doesn't matter if I change my name, contact information, business name and email for every invoice that I send out. Well, this is only a payment point of view, though, and I can clearly understand why Paypal do not care - they simply want their cut of the transaction, it doesn't bother them whether the name is my real name or a pen name.

    However, what Paypal cares or doesn't care about is one thing but the law is a completely different ball game. The law might prescribe that I must include my real name in the invoices that I send out. So I wanted to ask if you know what the law says in this regard and which law (whose country's law) would be used if I, as a service provider, send an invoice to an American citizen - would American law or my local law be applied on the transaction to determine possible legal obligation to include my real name?

    Thanks a lot for reading this and hopefully commenting on it!
    It's been a long time since I created a new Paypal account. Does Paypal require you to confirm your identity by using your bank account? If you're not required to confirm your identity, I don't see where the problem is. Unless, of course, Paypal mistakenly believes that your account has been hacked.

    P.S. Why are you worried about your customers figuring out your true identity?
    Signature
    >>> CLICK HERE <<< ====> 2,000 NICHE E-BOOKS WITH MRR & PLR RIGHTS! JUST $2.99! <====
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10696120].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Mehdib
    Two things I can mention here, one is that Paypal does not care because they charge the account and it is not a bank so they do not care about it but:
    1. When you want to file for taxes how are you going to convince tax department that those names are yours?
    2. I know for a fact that even if you use a fake name in a chatroom you are breaking the law in the US, New Zealand and Australia. Not sure about European countries, now imagine fake name for invoices. You might be opening yourself for some trouble.

    My question though is why change your own name, change the business name which is legit but not your own name.
    Signature

    Marketing dude in technology world
    Works as digital marketing manager at ID printers

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10696228].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Many companies are into multiple businesses. I get a bill from Sears whether I buy a bed, a TV set or if they repair my fridge. I have no problem with that.

    But, instead of having multiple accounts or changing many things, why not have 1 account with paypal that sounds general (ABC Enterprises, LLC) and with each receipt/order confirmation have some words that convey that the Username/Niche name won't appear on the invoice/bill, instead ABC Enterprises, LLC will appear?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10696954].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Uncle Dimitry
    short answer: No, as nobody cares.

    Alternatively, just register a company and send all invoices with that name, but nobody still cares.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10713382].message }}
  • What name(s) you choose to use on your PayPal invoices is of no interest to the law. Defrauding people would be of interest to them. But since PayPal has a remedy for this, I can see no problem there either.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10713825].message }}

Trending Topics