Who Must File IRS Form 1042

Form 1042 (“Annual Withholding Tax Return for U.S. Source Income of Foreign Persons”) serves a number of important reporting purposes. In general, it is used to report the tax withheld under chapter 3 of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) on certain income of foreign persons (such as nonresident aliens, foreign partnerships, foreign corporations, foreign estates, and foreign trusts), as well as to report the tax withheld under chapter 4 of the IRC on payments subject to tax withholding. It also utilized to report tax withheld pursuant to IRC Section 5000C (“Imposition of tax on certain foreign procurement”), and reportable payments from Form 1042-S under chapters 3 or 4.

In this article, we will cover who is responsible for filing Form 1042. US individuals involved with cross-border businesses or living overseas should be aware of this form as they may be subject to the form’s filing requirements for a variety of common reasons, without even knowing it. For instance, US-source alimony paid to a nonresident alien former spouse may be reportable by a withholding agent on Form 1042 (in addition to 1042-S), even if the entire amount is exempt under a tax treaty.

This article provides general information and is not intended to convey tax or legal advice. Please contact Mr. Eugene Sherayzen, an experienced tax attorney at Sherayzen Law Office, PLLC if you have any questions about filing this form, or any other US-international tax questions.

Who is Responsible for Filing Form 1042?

As noted by the IRS, unless an exception applies, “every withholding agent or intermediary who receives, controls, has custody of, disposes of, or pays a withholdable payment, including any fixed or determinable annual or periodical income, must file an annual return for the preceding calendar year” on Form 1042. The IRS defines “withholding agent” to mean any person who is required to withhold tax. This definition is expansive and can include, in general, any individual, trust, estate, partnership, corporation, nominee, government agency, association, or tax-exempt foundation (both domestic and foreign) that is required to withhold tax. Withholding agents are personally liable for any tax required to be withheld, as well as interest and applicable penalties.

An “intermediary” means, “a person who acts as a custodian, broker, nominee, or otherwise as an agent for another person, regardless of whether that other person is the beneficial owner of the amount paid, a flow-through entity, or another intermediary.”

When Must Form 1042 Be Filed?

Form 1042 must be filed in a number of different circumstances. As stated by the IRS, an individual or entity must file the form if, “you are required to file or otherwise file Form(s) 1042-S for purposes of either chapter 3 or 4 (whether or not any tax was withheld or was required to be withheld to the extent reporting is required)…; You file Form(s) 1042-S to report to a recipient tax withheld by your withholding agent; You pay gross investment income to foreign private foundations that are subject to tax under section 4948(a); You pay any foreign person specified federal procurement payments that are subject to withholding under section 5000C; You are a qualified intermediary (QI), withholding foreign partnership (WP), withholding foreign trust (WT), participating foreign financial institution (FFI), or reporting Model 1 FFI making a claim for a collective refund under your respective agreement with the IRS.” Note, that the FFI classification may also require other extensive reporting under FATCA.

2014 Form 1042: Due Date and Place of Filing

The 2014 Form 1042 must be filed by March 16, 2015, to the IRS’ Ogden (UT) Service Center, and an extension of time to file may be granted by submitting Form 7004, (“Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns”).

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help With International Tax Compliance

US-International tax reporting and planning can involve many complex areas, and you are advised to seek the advice of attorneys practicing in this area. If you have any questions, please contact Sherayzen Law Office, PLLC for all of your tax and legal needs.

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