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Who Must File Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding

Every withholding agent must file an information return, Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding, to report amounts paid to foreign persons that are described under Amounts Subject to NRA Withholding and Reporting, even if you did not withhold any tax. Refer to Amounts Not Subject to NRA Withholding and Withholding.

A separate Form 1042-S is required for:

  • Each recipient regardless of whether or not you withheld tax.
  • Each tax rate (if you withheld at more than one tax rate) of a specific type of income that you paid to the same recipient.
  • Each type of income that you paid to the same recipient.

The Form 1042-S can be filed electronically, or on paper. Withholding agents are required to to file electronically if there are 250 or more Forms 1042-S. 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).

Payments made to joint owners - You are required to file one Form 1042-S to report the payment made to the joint owners of that payment. If, however, any one of the owners requests its own Form 1042-S, you must provide Form 1042-S to the person who requests it in the amount allocable to that person. 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.  Example, ABC Bank paid $100 in dividend to Jane and John Smith (who have equal share of ownership) with the withholding rate of 30%. If Jane and John requested separate Forms 1042-S, ABC Bank must file one Form 1042-S with the IRS of $100 dividend income and $30 tax withheld to “John and Jane Smith”; and provide two Forms 1042-S (one to Jane and the other to John) of $50 dividend income and $15 tax withheld on each.

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. For more information about the Form 1042, refer to Discussion of Form 1042, Form 1042-T, and Form 10420S.

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