Non-american company, what is the name of the company for the IRS?
February 12, 2024 6:45 AM   Subscribe

I have a company in another country (Japan) whose legal name is in Japanese characters. But some systems, most notably the IRS (who needs to know about my company since I am an American citizen), do not accept Japanese characters. I've asked some accountants in both places, but haven't found one that is certain

I imagine that this is just a matter of finding the right accountant who happens to know the right answer, but I figure I might be able to find that here! The legal name is in kanji (eg something like 漢字漢字株式会社 -- not the actual name but just a representative example), but I really am not quite sure what name to use for the IRS, or for other platforms that don't support character sets.

For example, setting aside the question of the IRS, a payment platform that a client wants to use to pay me doesn't support non-ascii characters (in 2024...I know :|). I could romanize the name of the company (eg kanji kanji ltd?), but I'm not really sure what name has legal standing in this context? In this case I'm currently talking to the various platforms, but they themselves are a bit unsure so they're talking to their partners's a question that has come up in multiple contexts so I wanted to do a bit of research. I don't know how to establish what non-character name for my company has effect in contexts where characters are absolutely not supported (I can bag on this payments platform for not supporting non-ascii characters in 2024, but the IRS absolutely will not support them so I have to figure this out regardless).

I should note that my company does not have an obvious translation in english. It has a bit of an indirect meaning.

I've asked a few accountants (both in American and Japan), but I haven't found one yet that was quite sure about the answer to this specifically. Figured it was worth a shot asking here!
posted by wooh to Law & Government (4 answers total)
Have you called the IRS helpline? I suspect somewhere in the cavernous vault of IRS forms there is probably one that declares, for tax purposes, the system-readable name of your business entity.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:49 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]

I’d call the IRS for this one. They’re really very helpful, though it may take some effort to get them on the phone at the moment.

I have to imagine the correct answer is to use Romaji, though.
posted by potent_cyprus at 6:53 AM on February 12

What the IRS cares about is the 4 letter "name control", which is used in combination with the taxpayer identification number to make sure that the filer and the IRS are talking about the same entity. The IRS page on name controls does not address what to do about other writing systems, but it does give you some more precise guidance on who to call at the IRS, under "Can I verify my corporation’s name control prior to e-filing?"
posted by jedicus at 7:06 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]

If I recall, the IRS helpline does provide a call-back service. Don't not consider calling because you expect long wait times.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:11 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]

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