Federal, state and local governmental entities often act as withholding agents, and pay income to a foreign person. You are a withholding agent if you are a U.S. or foreign person that has control, receipt, custody, disposal, or payment of any item of income of a foreign person that is subject to withholding.
Generally, a foreign person is subject to U.S. tax on its U.S. source income. Most types of U.S. source income received by a foreign person are subject to U.S. tax at a rate of 30%. A reduced rate, including exemption, may apply if an Internal Revenue Code Section provides for a lower rate, or there is a tax treaty between the foreign person's country of residence and the United States. The tax is generally withheld (NRA withholding) from the payment made to the foreign person.
The term NRA withholding is used in this area descriptively to refer to withholding required under sections 1441, 1442, and 1443 of the Internal Revenue Code. Generally, NRA withholding describes the withholding regime that requires 30% withholding on a payment of U.S. source income and the filing of Form 1042 and related Form 1042-S. Payments to all foreign persons, including nonresident alien individuals, foreign entities and governments, may be subject to NRA withholding.