Publication 515 - Introductory Material


Combined Publication for 2014 and 2015

Although this revision of Publication 515 is primarily for use in 2015, it also includes information that is relevant for 2014. This latest revision of Publication 515 was delayed to incorporate recent guidance relating to new withholding and reporting obligations for withholding agents. See What's New, later.

Future Developments

For the latest information about developments related to Publication 515, such as legislation enacted after it was published, go to www.irs.gov/pub515.

What's New

Chapter 4 withholding. . Starting July 1, 2014, withholding agents making withholdable payments to certain foreign entities are required to withhold 30% of these payments. This publication incorporates the requirements for chapter 4 withholding, including certain of the reporting required by chapter 4 and the withholding requirements of foreign financial institutions (FFIs) making withholdable payments. This publication also describes which payments are withholdable payments. For more information, see Chapter 4 Withholding Requirements , later.

Chapter 3 updates. . This publication is also updated to reflect temporary regulations under chapter 3 that were published in early 2014, which are generally effective for payments subject to chapter 3 withholding that are made on or after July 1, 2014. References in this publication to the requirements of chapter 3 take into account these temporary regulations unless otherwise indicated.

New definitions section. .  This publication includes new defined terms under chapter 4. A list of frequently used chapter 4 terms and their definitions is in Definitions , later.

Substantial changes to Form W-8 series. Forms in the W-8 series are used to certify foreign status for withholding purposes. Forms W-8BEN, W-8ECI, W-8EXP, and W-8IMY have been revised primarily to provide for the use of these forms for chapter 4 purposes by withholding agents. New Form W-8BEN-E, Certificate of Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Entities), has been added for use by certain foreign entities to certify their status for both chapters 3 and 4 purposes (as required). For more information, see Beneficial Owners and Foreign Intermediaries .

Qualified Intermediary (QI), Withholding Foreign Partnership (WP), and Withholding Foreign Trust (WT) agreements. . QI, WP, and WT agreements entered into before June 30, 2014, expired on June 30, 2014. These agreements were revised effective June 30, 2014, primarily to incorporate the requirements of chapter 4 and changes resulting from the temporary regulations under chapter 3 that apply to these entities. The discussion of these agreements in this publication refers to the agreements effective June 30, 2014, unless otherwise indicated.

U.S. real property interest. At the time this publication went to print, only certain distributions from a regulated investment company (RIC) that is a U.S. real property holding company (USRPHC) were considered paid by a qualified investment entity (QIE). Before 2014, generally, all distributions from a RIC were considered paid by a QIE, which made them exempt from withholding under chapter 3 and section 1445. To find out if legislation extended the treatment of a RIC as a QIE for all distributions, go to www.irs.gov/formspubs or www.irs.gov/pub515.The special rules that apply to distributions from a QIE attributable to the gain from the sale or exchange of a U.S. real property interest continue to apply to certain distributions from a RIC that are directly or indirectly attributable to distributions received by the RIC from a real estate investment trust (REIT). See Qualified investment entities under U.S. Real Property Interest.

Interest-related dividends and short-term capital gain dividends received from mutual funds. At the time this publication went to print, the exemption from chapter 3 withholding on certain interest-related dividends and short-term capital gain dividends paid by a mutual fund or other RIC had expired. To find out if legislation extended this exemption from withholding, go to www.irs.gov/formspubs or www.irs.gov/pub515. See Dividends paid by a RIC , later.

Multi-level marketing. Clarification regarding the characterization and source of income received from multi-level marketing companies by distributors (upper-tier distributors) that are based on the sales or purchases of persons whom they have recruited and sponsored (lower-tier distributors) is provided. See Multi-level marketing .

Reminders

Deposit interest paid to certain nonresident alien individuals. Deposit interest of $10 or more paid to certain nonresident alien individuals must be reported on Form 1042-S. See Deposit interest paid to certain nonresident alien individuals.

Exemption from requirement to withhold for certain payments to qualified securities lenders. If you made U.S.-source substitute dividend payments to qualified securities lenders, you may be exempt from withholding tax on the payments. See Amounts paid to qualified securities lenders .

Electronic deposits. You must make all deposits of taxes paid with respect to Form 1042-S (including taxes withheld under either chapter 3 or chapter 4) electronically.

Substitute forms. Any substitute forms you use must comply with the requirements in Publication 1179, General Rules and Specifications for Substitute Forms 1096, 1098, 1099, 5498, and Certain Other Information Returns. If they do not, the forms may be rejected as incorrect and the IRS may impose penalties. See Penalties .

Filing electronically. If you file Form 1042-S electronically, you will use the Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) system. You get to the system through the Internet at fire.irs.gov. For files submitted on the FIRE system, it is the responsibility of the filer to verify the results of the transmission within 5 business days. The IRS will not mail error reports for files that are bad. See Publication 1187 for information on the requirements for filing Form 1042-S electronically.

Requests for extensions on Form 8809 must be filed electronically. Requests on Form 8809 for an extension of time to file Form 1042-S must be made electronically if the request is for more than one payer. See Extension to file Form 1042-S with the IRS .

Photographs of missing children. The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.

Introduction

This publication is for withholding agents who pay income to foreign persons, including nonresident aliens, foreign corporations, foreign partnerships, foreign trusts, foreign estates, foreign governments, and international organizations. Specifically, it describes the persons responsible for withholding (withholding agents), the types of income subject to withholding, and the information return and tax return filing obligations of withholding agents. In addition to discussing the rules that apply generally to payments of U.S. source income to foreign persons, it also contains sections on the withholding that applies to the disposition of U.S. real property interests and the withholding by partnerships on income effectively connected with the active conduct of a U.S. trade or business.

Comments and suggestions.   We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.

  You can send us comments from www.irs.gov/formspubs/. Click on “More Information” and then on “Give us feedback”.

  You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service 
Tax Forms and Publications  
SE:W:CAR:MP:T:TFP 
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526 
Washington, DC 20224

  We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.

  Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.

Ordering forms and publications.   Visit www.irs.gov/formspubs/ to download forms and publications, call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800- 829-3676), or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received.

Internal Revenue Service 
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Tax questions.   If you have a tax question, check the information available on IRS.gov or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.

Useful Items - You may want to see:

Publication

  • 15 (Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide

  • 15-A Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide

  • 15-B Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits

  • 51 (Circular A), Agricultural Employer's Tax Guide

  • 505 Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax

  • 519 U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens

  • 901 U.S. Tax Treaties

  • 1187 Specifications for Electronic Filing of Form 1042-S, Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding

  • 5124 FATCA XML v1.1 User Guide

Form (and Instructions)

  • SS-4 Application for Employer Identification Number

  • W-2 Wage and Tax Statement

  • W-4 Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate

  • W-4P Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments

  • W-7 Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

  • W-8BEN Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Individuals)

  • W-8BEN-E Certificate of Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Entities)

  • W-8ECI Certificate of Foreign Person's Claim That Income Is Effectively Connected With the Conduct of a Trade or Business in the United States

  • W-8EXP Certificate of Foreign Government or Other Foreign Organization for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting

  • W-8IMY Certificate of Foreign Intermediary, Foreign Flow-Through Entity, or Certain U.S. Branches for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting

  • W-8 Inst. Instructions for the Requester of Forms W-8BEN, W-8BEN-E, W-8ECI, W-8EXP, and W-8IMY

  • W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification

  • 941 Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return

  • 1042 Annual Withholding Tax Return for U.S. Source Income of Foreign Persons

  • 1042-S Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding

  • 1042-T Annual Summary and Transmittal of Forms 1042-S

  • 8966 FATCA Report

See How To Get Tax Help at the end of this publication, for information about getting publications and forms.


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