Paying a foreign person

Discussion in 'Tax' started by John Levine, May 14, 2014.

  1. John Levine

    John Levine Guest

    On a project I'm doing, I have a subcontractor in Montreal. He's a
    Canadian citizen, and has an SSN because he used to work in the US,
    but he doesn't currently have a US visa. The project is a one-off,
    so I'll make one or two payments this year when the client pays me.

    As I read the IRS pubs, he sends me a W-8BEN confirming that he lives
    in Canada, and I can pay him without withholding the 30%.

    At the end of the year, do I have to issue him a 1099?
     
    John Levine, May 14, 2014
    #1
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  2. John Levine

    Alan Guest

    Assuming he performs his work in Canada, he is not subject to any
    withholding as he has no US source income. But.... assuming you intend
    to take a business deduction for the payments to him, you need to file
    Form 1042-S to substantiate your payments. 1042-S: Use income code 16
    (compensation for independent personal services) for Box 1 and use
    withholding exemption code 03 (income is not from US sources) for Box
    3a. Country code is CA.

    You can disregard everything after line 14d.

    The form instructions tell you the where, when and how of filing.
     
    Alan, May 14, 2014
    #2
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  3. John Levine

    John Levine Guest

    On a project I'm doing, I have a subcontractor in Montreal. He's a
    Thanks. How come it's 03 (non US) rather than 04 (tax treaty)? I'm
    in New York, the payor is in Virginia, so what's non-US?

    R's,
    John
     
    John Levine, May 15, 2014
    #3
  4. John Levine

    Alan Guest

    The source for compensation is where the work is performed. The IRC does not require withholding when the source is not the US.
     
    Alan, May 18, 2014
    #4
  5. John Levine

    Mark Bole Guest

    It's pretty rare I find occasion to disagree with Alan, but this topic
    came up at a recent presentation by an IRS foreign taxation specialist,
    and here is his reply, indicating that 1042-S is not required, but
    having a W-8BEN on file might be a good idea.

    ====[begin response]===========================
    As to the limited information provided in the e-mail string below, and
    for federal tax required information return reporting purposes, you are
    correct in stating that a Form 1042-S is not required in the following
    situation:


    The Canadian payee is a nonresident alien of the U.S. under the
    residency rules of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (IRC 7701(b)).
    The Canadian payee was paid by a U.S. company for personal services
    he performed in a foreign country.
    Under U.S. law the payments described above constitute foreign
    source income to the Canadian payee because the personal services were
    performed in a foreign country.

    This is true even though the payor of the income is a resident of
    the United States.

    The payments described above are not taxable to the Canadian payee
    because the foreign source income of a nonresident alien is not taxable
    by the United States.
    The payments described above are not subject to withholding of U.S.
    federal income tax by the U.S. payor of the income.
    The payments described above are not reportable by the U.S. payor
    to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Form W-2, Form 1099-MISC,
    or on Form 1042-S.
    In short, under the provisions of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code,
    neither the U.S. payor of the income, nor the Canadian payee, has any
    reporting requirement, withholding requirement, filing requirement, or
    payment requirement with respect to the payments described above.
    Furthermore, because the payments are not subject to any U.S.
    reporting requirement, withholding requirement, filing requirement, or
    payment requirement , there is no need for the Canadian payee to invoke
    the provisions of the USA-Canada income tax treaty because the payments
    are not taxable by the United States under the provisions of the U.S.
    Internal Revenue Code.


    Also, as I mentioned in my December 2014 presentation:


    The Canadian payee should prepare and file a Form W-8BEN with the
    U.S. withholding agent so that the U.S. withholding agent has
    documentation that the [Canadian] payee is a nonresident alien (a
    foreign person).
    If Form W-8BEN is used solely for the purpose of establishing that
    the payee is a foreign person, there is no need for the payee to report
    his U.S. taxpayer identification number on such Form W-8BEN.
    On the other hand, if in the future the payee were to use Form
    W-8BEN or Form 8233 for the purpose of claiming a reduction of
    withholding of U.S. federal income tax under the provisions of a U.S.
    income tax treaty, then it would be mandatory for the payee to report
    his U.S. taxpayer identification number on such forms or the treaty
    claims on such forms would be invalid.
    A U.S. taxpayer identification number is:

    A U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) issued by the U.S. Social
    Security Administration.
    An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) issued by the IRS.
    An Employer Identification Number (EIN) issued by the IRS.


    Please see the doc file attached to this message which provides
    citations from the Internal Revenue Code to support the above conclusions.

    ==========[end response]============================
     
    Mark Bole, Jan 8, 2015
    #5
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