Who Must File
Every withholding agent must file an information return on Form 1042-S (PDF) to report amounts paid to foreign persons (including persons presumed to be foreign) during the preceding calendar year that are described under Amounts Subject to Reporting on Form 1042-S.
You must file a Form 1042-S even if you did not withhold tax because the payment was exempt from tax under a U.S. tax treaty or the Internal Revenue Code, or you released the tax withheld to the recipient. For exceptions, refer to Amounts That Are Not Subject to Reporting on Form 1042-S.
Amounts paid to residents of U.S. possessions and territories are not subject to reporting on Form 1042-S if the beneficial owner of the income is a U.S. citizen, national, or resident alien.
A separate Form 1042-S is required for each recipient of income to whom you made payments during the preceding calendar year regardless of whether you withheld or were required to withhold tax.
If you withheld at more than one tax rate for a specific type of income that you paid to the same recipient, you must file a separate Form 1042-S for each amount to which a separate rate was applied.
Also, you must use a separate Form 1042-S for each type of income that you paid to the same recipient.
You must furnish a Form 1042-S to each recipient even if you did not withhold tax because you repaid the tax withheld to the recipient or because the income payment was exempt from tax under the Internal Revenue Code or under a U.S. income tax treaty.
The Form 1042-S can be filed electronically, or on paper. Withholding agents or their agents are required to use electronic media to file 250 or more Forms 1042-S with the IRS. The electronic submissions are filed using the Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) System. For more information, see Publication 1187, Specifications for Filing Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding, Electronically (PDF).
Joint owners. If all the owners provide documentation that permits them to receive the same reduced rate of withholding (for example, under an income tax treaty) you should apply the reduced rate of withholding. You are required, however, to report the payment on one Form 1042-S to the person whose status you rely upon to determine the withholding rate. If, however, any one of the owners requests its own Form 1042-S, you must furnish Form 1042-S to the person who requests it. If more than one Form 1042-S is issued for a single payment, the total amount paid and tax withheld reported on all Forms 1042-S cannot exceed the total amounts paid to joint owners.
Note: If you are required to file Form 1042-S, you must also file Form 1042, Annual Withholding Tax Return for U.S. Source Income of Foreign Persons (PDF). For more information about the Form 1042, refer to Annual Withholding Tax Return for U.S. Source Income of Foreign Persons.