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Definitions for Form 1042-S Reporting

Authorized Foreign Agent

An agent is an authorized foreign agent only if all four of the following apply.

  1. There is a written agreement between the withholding agent and the foreign person acting as agent.
  2. The IRS International Section has been notified of the appointment of the agent before the first payment for which the authorized agent acts on behalf of the withholding agent. The notification address is:
    Internal Revenue Service
    Philadelphia, PA 19255-0725
  3. The books and records and relevant personnel of the foreign agent are available for examination by the IRS to evaluate the withholding agent's compliance with its withholding and reporting obligations.
  4. The U.S. withholding agent remains fully liable for the acts of its agent and does not assert any of the defenses that may otherwise be available.

For further details, see Treasury Regulations section 1.1441-7(c).

Beneficial Owner

For payments other than those for which a reduced rate of withholding is claimed under an income tax treaty, the beneficial owner of income is, generally, the person who is required under U.S. tax principles to include the income in gross income on a tax return. A person is not a beneficial owner of income, however, to the extent that person is receiving the income as a nominee, agent, or custodian, or to the extent the person is a conduit whose participation in a transaction is disregarded. In the case of amounts paid that do not constitute income, beneficial ownership is determined as if the payment were income. Foreign partnerships, foreign simple trusts, and foreign grantor trusts are not the beneficial owners of income paid to the partnership or trust. The beneficial owners of income paid to a foreign partnership are generally the partners in the partnership, provided that the partner is not itself a partnership, foreign simple or grantor trust, nominee, or other agent. The beneficial owner of income paid to a foreign simple trust (i.e., a foreign trust that is described in IRC section 651(a)) is generally the beneficiary of the trust, if the beneficiary is not a foreign partnership, foreign simple or grantor trust, nominee or other agent. The beneficial owner of a foreign grantor trust (i.e., a foreign trust to the extent that all or a portion of the income of the trust is treated as owned by the grantor or another person under IRC sections 671 through 679) is the person treated as the owner of the trust. The beneficial owner of income paid to a foreign complex trust (i.e., a foreign trust that is not a foreign simple trust or foreign grantor trust) is the trust itself.

The beneficial owner of income paid to a foreign estate is the estate itself.

Note: A payment to a U.S. partnership, U.S. trust, or U.S. estate is treated as a payment to a U.S. payee that is not subject to 30% foreign-person withholding. A U.S. partnership, trust, or estate should provide the withholding agent with a Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification.

Disregarded Entity

A business entity that has a single owner and is not a corporation under Treasury Regulations section 301.7701-2(b) is disregarded as an entity separate from its owner.

Exempt Recipient

Generally, an exempt recipient is any payee that is not required to provide Form W-9 and is exempt from the Form 1099 reporting requirements. See the Instructions for the Requester of Form W-9 for a list of exempt recipients.

Fiscally Transparent Entity

An entity is treated as fiscally transparent with respect to an item of income for which treaty benefits are claimed to the extent that the interest holders in the entity must, on a current basis, take into account separately their shares of an item of income paid to the entity, whether or not distributed, and must determine the character of the items of income as if they were realized directly from the sources from which realized by the entity. For example, partnerships, common trust funds, and simple trusts or grantor trusts are generally considered to be fiscally transparent with respect to items of income received by them.

Flow-through Entity

A flow-through entity is a foreign partnership (other than a withholding foreign partnership), a foreign simple or grantor trust (other than a withholding foreign trust), or, for any payments for which a reduced rate of withholding under an income tax treaty is claimed, any entity to the extent the entity is considered to be fiscally transparent under IRC section 894 with respect to the payment by an interest holder's jurisdiction.

Foreign Person

A foreign person includes a nonresident alien individual, a foreign corporation, a foreign partnership, a foreign trust, a foreign estate, and any other person that is not a U.S. person. The term also includes a foreign branch or office of a U.S. financial institution or U.S. clearing organization if the foreign branch is a QI. Generally, a payment to a U.S. branch of a foreign person is a payment to a foreign person.

Intermediary

An intermediary is a person that 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

Non-exempt Recipient

A non-exempt recipient is any person who is not an exempt recipient.

Nonqualified Intermediary (NQI)

An NQI is any intermediary that is not a U.S. person and that is not a QI.

Nonresident Alien Individual

Any individual who is not a citizen or resident of the United States is a nonresident alien individual. An alien individual meeting either the "green card test" or the "substantial presence test" for the calendar year is a resident alien. Any alien individual not meeting either test is a nonresident alien individual. Additionally, an alien individual who is a resident of a foreign country under the residency article of an income tax treaty, or an alien individual who is a resident of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or American Samoa, is a nonresident alien individual. See Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, for more information on resident and nonresident alien status.

Note: Even though a nonresident alien individual married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien may choose to be treated as a resident alien for certain purposes (e.g., filing a joint income tax return), such individual is still treated as a nonresident alien for withholding tax purposes on all income except wages.

Payer

A payer is the person for whom the withholding agent acts as a paying agent pursuant to an agreement whereby the withholding agent agrees to withhold and report a payment.

Presumption Rules

The presumption rules are those rules prescribed under Chapter 3 and Chapter 61 of the Code that a withholding agent must follow to determine the status of a beneficial owner (e.g., as a U.S. person or a foreign person) when it cannot reliably associate a payment with valid documentation. See, for example, Treasury Regulation sections 1.1441-1(b)(3), 1.1441-4(a), 1.1441-5(d) and (e), 1.1441-9(b)(3), and 1.6049-5(d).

Publicly Traded Partnerships (PTP)

A Publicly Traded Partnership (PTP) is any partnership in which interests are regularly traded on an established securities market (regardless of the number of its partners). However, it does not include a PTP treated as a corporation under IRC section 7704.

Private Arrangement Intermediary (PAI)

A QI may enter into a private arrangement with another intermediary under which the other intermediary generally agrees to perform all of the obligations of the QI. Refer to Section 4 of Rev. Proc. 2000-12, 2000-4 I.R.B. 387, for details.

Qualified Intermediary (QI)

A QI is an intermediary that is a party to a withholding agreement with the IRS. An entity must indicate its status as a QI on a Form W-8IMY submitted to a withholding agent. For information on a QI withholding agreement, see Rev. Proc. 2000-12. In addition be aware that Revenue Procedure 2000-12 has been either superseded or amended by the following Revenue Procedures:

  • Revenue Procedure 2001-2
  • Revenue Procedure 2001-41
  • Revenue Procedure 2002-2
  • Revenue Procedure 2002-30
  • Revenue Procedure 2003-2
  • Revenue Procedure 2003-64
  • Revenue Procedure 2004-21
  • Revenue Procedure 2005-77

Recipient

A recipient is any of the following:

  • A beneficial owner of income.
  • A QI.
  • A withholding foreign partnership or withholding foreign trust.
  • An authorized foreign agent.
  • A U.S. branch of certain foreign banks or insurance companies that is treated as a U.S. person.
  • A foreign partnership or a foreign trust (other than a withholding foreign partnership or withholding foreign trust), but only to the extent the income is effectively connected with its conduct of a trade or business in the United States.
  • A payee who is not known to be the beneficial owner, but who is presumed to be a foreign person under the presumption rules.
  • A PAI.
  • A partner receiving a distribution of effectively connected income from a PTP or nominee.

A recipient does not include any of the following:

  • An NQI.
  • A nonwithholding foreign partnership, if the income is not effectively connected with its conduct of a trade or business in the United States.
  • A disregarded entity.
  • A foreign trust that is described in IRC section 651(a) (a foreign simple trust) if the income is not effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States.
  • A foreign trust to the extent that all or a portion of the trust is treated as owned by the grantor or other person under sections 671 through 679 (a foreign grantor trust).
  • A U.S. branch that is not treated as a U.S. person unless the income is, or is treated as, effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States.

U.S. Branch Treated as a U.S. Person

The following types of U.S. branches (of foreign entities) may reach an agreement with the withholding agent to treat the branch as a U.S. person:

  • A U.S. branch of a foreign bank subject to regulatory supervision by the Federal Reserve Board or
  • A U.S. branch of a foreign insurance company required to file an annual statement on a form approved by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners with the Insurance Department of a State, Territory, or the District of Columbia.

The U.S. branch must provide a Form W-8IMY evidencing the agreement with the withholding agent.

Note: A U.S. branch that is treated as a U.S. person is treated as such solely for purposes of determining whether a payment is subject to withholding. The branch is, for purposes of information reporting, a foreign person and payments to such a branch must be reported on Form 1042-S.

Withholding Agent

A withholding agent is any person, U.S. or foreign, that has control, receipt, or custody of an amount subject to withholding or who can disburse or make payments of an amount subject to withholding. The withholding agent may be an individual, corporation, partnership, trust, association, or any other entity. The term withholding agent also includes, but is not limited to, a qualified intermediary (QI), a nonqualified intermediary (NQI), a withholding foreign partnership, a withholding foreign trust, a flow-through entity, a U.S. branch of a foreign insurance company or foreign bank that is treated as a U.S. person, and an authorized foreign agent. A person may be a withholding agent even if there is no requirement to withhold from a payment or even if another person has already withheld the required amount from a payment.

Note: Generally, any person who pays (or causes to be paid) an item of U.S. source income to a foreign person (or to its agent) must withhold. However, other persons may be required to withhold. For example, if a payment is made by a QI (whether or not it assumes primary withholding responsibility) that knows that withholding was not done by the person from which it received the payment, that QI is required to do the appropriate withholding. In addition, withholding must be done by any QI that assumes primary withholding responsibility under Chapter 3 of the Internal Revenue Code, a withholding foreign partnership, a withholding foreign trust, a U.S. branch of a foreign insurance company or foreign bank that agrees to be treated as a U.S. person, or an authorized foreign agent. Finally, if a payment is made by an NQI or a flow-through entity that knows, or has reason to know, that withholding was not done, that NQI or flow-through entity is required to withhold since it also falls within the definition of a withholding agent.

Withholding Foreign Partnership or Withholding Foreign Trust

A withholding foreign partnership or trust is a foreign partnership or trust that has entered into a withholding agreement with the IRS in which it agrees to assume primary withholding responsibility for all payments that are made to it for its partners, beneficiaries, or owners. For information on these withholding agreements, refer to Revenue Procedures 2003-64, 2004-21, and 2005-77.

References/Related Topics

Note: This page contains one or more references to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), Treasury Regulations, court cases, or other official tax guidance. References to these legal authorities are included for the convenience of those who would like to read the technical reference material. To access the applicable IRC sections, Treasury Regulations, or other official tax guidance, visit the Tax Code, Regulations, and Official Guidance page. To access any Tax Court case opinions issued after September 24, 1995, visit the Opinions Search page of the United States Tax Court.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 13-Feb-2014