Energy Voice | Opportunity knocks in Houston, but beware the tax man

Aberdeen companies wishing to set up shop in Houston need to work hard, persevere, and beware the tax man, guests at a networking event heard yesterday.

Accountant Frank Landreneau warned that foreigners needed to think about the “unintended consequences” of prolonging their stay in the US.

Mr Landreneau, chief financial officer at PKF Texas, said he knew of people who had ended up residing in the US for years, not months, as initially planned.

As a result, they had unwittingly built up tax obligations.

Mr Landreneau also warned that “silence” from the US tax authorities should not be interpreted as a sign that a person or business has nothing to fear.

But he said non-US companies could benefit from extensive tax reforms if they establish a permanent presence in the country.

He said corporation tax had been reduced and that companies could take advantage of certain incentives for exporting products from the US.

Mr Landreneau was speaking at the annual Aberdeen-Houston Gateway, an event which celebrates the business links between the two cities.

Andy Grieve, chief executive of energy service firm Hampco, moved to Houston from the Granite City in 2005 and is now a UK and US dual citizen.

Mr Grieve told the audience at the Macdonald Norwood Hall Hotel, Aberdeen, that the number of different types of tax he had to be aware of was “horrendous”.

But he said there was “plenty of help” for those who are willing to ask for it.

Jeffrey Blair, director at economic development body Greater Houston Partnership, said the “climate” for oil and gas companies in Texas was “good”.

Mr Blair also said the lines were “blurring” between onshore and offshore production in North America as technology is increasingly transferred between the two sectors.

Aberdeen Lord Provost Barney Crockett said both cities had shown “resilience” in the face of difficulties for the oil and gas industry and that the “shared experience was ever more important”.

Brett Jackson, managing director of Granite PR, which organised the event, said: “We are again indebted to all those who have thrown their support behind the Aberdeen-Houston Gateway, particularly those who will make the journey from Texas to be with us.

“The number of delegates involved in the 2019 Aberdeen-Houston Gateway represents year-on-year growth in excess of 20%, clearly demonstrating the appetite for knowledge which exists among companies keen to expand their corporate horizons.”

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Craigmill, Pitcaple, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom, AB51 5HP
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