Form 1042-S and Tax Withholdings

IRS Form 1042-S (“Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding”) is used to report various items of income, amounts withheld under Chapter 3 of the Internal Revenue Code, and distributions of effectively connected income by a publicly traded partnership or nominee. The items subject to reporting on Form 1042-S involve amounts paid to foreign persons, including presumed foreign persons, that are subject to withholding, even if no amount was actually deducted and withheld from the payment (such as, because of a treaty or IRC exception), or if any withheld amount was repaid to the payee.

This article will explain the basics of Form 1042-S, especially the amounts subject, and not subject to reporting on the form. (Please also note that the IRS has issued a recent draft version of Form 1042-S that may entail future changes). US laws concerning international taxation can involve many complex tax and legal issues, so you are advised to seek an experienced attorney in these matters. Sherayzen Law Office, PLLC can assist you in all of your tax and legal needs, and help you avoid making costly mistakes.

What Amounts are Subject to Reporting on Form 1042-S?

According to the IRS, “Amounts subject to withholding are amounts from sources within the United States that constitute (a) fixed or determinable annual or periodical (FDAP) income; (b) certain gains from the disposal of timber, coal, or domestic iron ore with a retained economic interest; and (c) gains relating to contingent payments received from the sale or exchange of patents, copyrights, and similar intangible property. Amounts subject to withholding also include distributions of effectively connected income by a publicly traded partnership.” (See the instructions to Form 1042-S for further details).

The specific amounts subject to Form 1042-S reporting include, among others, the following U.S. source items: interest on deposits, the entire amount of corporate distributions, interest (including the part of a notional principal contract payment that is characterized as interest), rents, royalties, compensation for independent personal services performed in the U.S., compensation for dependent personal services performed in the U.S. (only if the beneficial owner is claiming treaty benefits, however), annuities, pension distributions and other deferred income, most types of gambling winnings, cancellation of indebtedness, effectively connected income (ECI), notional principal contract income, guarantee of indebtedness, and amounts paid to foreign governments, foreign controlled banks of issue, and international organizations (even if they are exempt under section 892 or 895).

What Amounts are Not Subject to Reporting on Form 1042-S?

There are numerous amounts that are not subject to reporting on Form 1042-S. Some of these amounts include the following: Interest and OID from short-term obligations (generally payable within 183 days or less), interest on a registered obligation that is targeted to foreign markets qualifying as portfolio interest under certain circumstances, bearer obligations targeted to foreign markets if a Form W-8 is not required, notional principal contract payments that are not ECI, and accrued interest and OID (generally, interest paid “on obligations sold between interest payment dates and the part of the purchase price of an OID obligation that is sold or exchanged in a transaction other than a redemption”), among others.

When Must Form 1042-S be Filed?

Regardless of Forms 1042-S is filed on paper or electronically, it must be filed with the IRS by March 15th and there is an additional requirement that the submitted Form 1042-S also be furnished to the recipient of the income by that same date.