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Withholding Exemption on Effectively Connected Income

Generally, you do not need to withhold tax on ECI income (income which is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business) if you receive a Form W-8ECI (PDF) on which a foreign payee represents that:

  1. The foreign payee is the beneficial owner of the income,
  2. The income is effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States, and
  3. The income is includible in the payee's gross income.

This withholding exemption applies to income for services performed by a foreign partnership or foreign corporation (unless item (4) below applies to the corporation).

The exemption does not apply, however, to:

  1. Pay for personal services performed by an individual,
  2. Effectively connected taxable income of a partnership that is allocable to its foreign partners (Refer to Partnership Withholding on Effectively Connected Income),
  3. Income from the disposition of a U.S. real property interest (Refer to U.S. Real Property Interest), or
  4. Payments to a foreign corporation for personal services if all of the following apply:
    1. The foreign corporation otherwise qualifies as a personal holding company for income tax purposes (Refer to IRC Section 542),
    2. The foreign corporation receives amounts under a contract for personal services of an individual whom the corporation has no right to designate, and
    3. 25% or more in value of the outstanding stock of the foreign corporation at some time during the tax year is owned, directly or indirectly, by or for an individual who has performed, is to perform or may be designated as the one to perform, the services called for under the contract.

The beneficial owner of the income should file Form W-8ECI with the withholding agent to claim an exemption from withholding on ECI income.

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