Does a musical band or similar service under an LLC have to file for a foreign qualification in every state they play a show in/employ their service?

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    What country? (The US, for example, doesn't have the concept of intra-state "foreign qualification".) – RonJohn Jul 19 at 18:11
  • Good question, this seems tricky! On the one hand, many states would tend to require it as you are offering services and/or selling products in that state (like merchandise after the show, presumably). On the other hand, many states don't require it when business is considered temporary or short-term (say, under 30 days). – BrianH Jul 19 at 18:13
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    @RonJohn The country tag would be good for clarification, but foreign qualification is a US concept: delawareinc.com/blog/what-is-foreign-qualification or: ct.wolterskluwer.com/resource-center/guides/… "Domestic" meaning in-state, and "foreign" meaning "from outside of that state" in corporate law parlance. Corporate law is a mess, and a great generator of demand for lawyers - which I'm sure is a coincidence :) – BrianH Jul 19 at 18:26
  • @BrianH does that have anything to do with a band from Texas playing a gig in North Dakota (where presumably the concert promoter would handle taxes, etc)? It's not like the Texas band is opening a bank account in ND or registering as a DE corporation... – RonJohn Jul 19 at 18:36
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    @RonJohn I'm afraid that is where my experience reaches zero - the organization and workings of the business side of music and art remain mostly a mystery to me. Many work on a cash basis to avoid all this, some work with existing corporate entities, some get paid as a contractor and thus have no corporate reporting (but state taxes, yuck), etc. Its very common at this level of organizational complexity to just say "you'll need to ask a lawyer/CPA" because it is not designed to be easy, incorporation can make things harder, and many people just ignore the law and hope for the best. – BrianH Jul 19 at 20:42

Being a musician isn't that different from other businesses in this respect. A company has to register or qualify in a state if it is "doing business" in the state.

Whether a company is doing business in a state is a very blurry line. If you have an office or employees working in a state then you are definitely doing business, but occasional visits to a state for business reasons would generally not rise to doing business. See this article for more details.

If you go on tour to a bunch of states, then I expect you are not doing business in those states and don't need to qualify. If you have a weekly gig in another state that is close to your home, then you probably are doing business there and should qualify.

If you are somewhere in between and are not sure, then you can probably get away with not qualifying, especially if your revenue is small. It is not uncommon for small companies to neglect to register in other states, and it is hard for states to enforce this especially since the "doing business" requirements are very vague.

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