Can my friend use my home address to use as a business branch office address?

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Can my friend use my home address to use as a business branch office address?

My friend has a company in China. He want to use my address as the branch office’s address in MD. Do I need a legal contract or some tax documentsation? Is there some reason why I shouldn’t do this?

Asked on June 16, 2011 under Business Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Can he do this? Yes...as a general proposition, a foreign company can use a domestic address as a business address.

Should you do this--probably not:

1) If you are his branch office, if he gets sued, there's a good chance you'll get sued. Especially since he's in China--if someone in the U.S. is wronged, defrauded, etc. by his company, who do you think they'll try to sue--the Chinese office, or the local one? Even if you can win or even get the suit dismissed, do you want to be involved in litigation and take the chance of judgment going against you?

2) If  he breaks the law, you could face criminal liability for  being complicit.

3) If your town has rules about running businesses out of residences, you could find yourself in violation and subject to penalites.

In short, there is ALOT of downside. Only do this IF there's so much credible potential upside that it's worth hiring a lawyer and getting insurance to make sure everything is set up in the safest way possible.


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