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More Info about Form 1042-S

November 30th, 2010 2 comments

Internal Revenue Service Form 1042-S, titled “Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding,” must be filed for non-residents and foreign entities that have derived income or gains from investments in the US in the past year. These gains can include ordinary income dividends, long-term capital gains, or return of capital distributions. Gains from interests in US real estate also require reporting. Foreign corporations, foreign partnerships, foreign estates and foreign governments and foreign individuals should all list gains from US-based investments on the 1042-S form.

Other types of income that should be reported on Form 1042-S are: wages of employees who have claimed tax treaty benefits, fellowship/scholarship income, payments made to foreign independent contractors, royalty payments, and prizes or awards.

Form 1042-S includes a space to report withholding on investment distribution. Short-term capital gain and qualified interest income can be exempt from withholding (this exemption requires verification of the investor’s foreign status), as are long-term capital gains. Foreign persons or entities are not required to file a return if the withholding amount is equivalent to their tax obligation, or if they have not participated in income-generating trade or business inside the United States in the past year.

A 1042-S form should be filed by every withholding agent. This means an individual, a corporation, partnership or trust responsible for payment towards the foreign person’s income or investment gains. The withholding agent is defined this way regardless of whether actual withholding is required. Records of the form should be kept for three years after the original reporting date.

Every entity that engages in business with a foreign person, corporation or partnership is required to file a return for the income or capital gains they pay out. The benefit of this is that it allows non-resident alien individuals and foreign businesses to easily keep track of their investments, trading interests, and income sources within the United States.

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