Taxation of Foreign Athletes and Entertainers
If you are a foreign athlete and/or entertainer performing independent personal services in the United States, you must generally pay U.S. income tax on your U.S. source income. This includes compensation for performances, endorsements, the sale of merchandise, and royalty, or other, income closely related to the event. Consequently, you are required to file a U.S. federal income tax return to report and pay any U.S. tax.
Generally, if you are a nonresident alien entertainer or athlete performing independent personal services or participating in athletic events in the United States, you are subject to the following special tax and withholding rules.
- IRS focus on foreign athletes and entertainers
- Payments to Foreign Athletes and Entertainers are subject to special withholding rules. Refer to Artists and Athletes (Income Code 20) in Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities.
A Central Withholding Agreement (CWA) is a tool that can help reduce withholding for non-resident athletes and entertainers who plan to work in the United States. A CWA provides for the correct amount of withholding based upon net income.
Prior to filing a U.S. tax return, foreign athletes and entertainers must determine their Alien Tax Status
A Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) must be furnished on tax returns, statements, and other tax related documents. In general, only non-citizens, who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security, can apply for a Social Security Number. Other non-resident aliens must apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)