A nonresident alien usually is subject to U.S. income tax only on U.S. source income. Under limited circumstances, certain foreign source income is subject to U.S. tax. See Foreign Income
in chapter 4.
The general rules for determining U.S. source income that apply to most nonresident aliens are shown in Table 2-1. The following discussions cover the general rules as well as the exceptions to these rules.
Not all items of U.S. source income are taxable. See chapter 3
Generally, U.S. source interest income includes the following items.
- Interest on bonds, notes, or other interest-bearing obligations of U.S. residents or domestic corporations.
- Interest paid by a domestic or foreign partnership or foreign corporation engaged in a U.S. trade or business at any time during the tax year.
- Original issue discount.
- Interest from a state, the District of Columbia, or the U.S. Government.
The place or manner of payment is immaterial in determining the source of the income.
A substitute interest payment made to the transferor of a security in a securities lending transaction or a sale-repurchase transaction is sourced in the same manner as the interest on the transferred security. taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222212
U.S. source interest income does not include the following items.
- Interest paid by a resident alien or a domestic corporation if for the 3-year period ending with the close of the payer's tax year preceding the interest payment, at least 80% of the payer's total gross income:
- Is from sources outside the United States, and
- Is attributable to the active conduct of a trade or business by the individual or corporation in a foreign country or a U.S. possession.
- Interest paid by a foreign branch of a domestic corporation or a domestic partnership on deposits or withdrawable accounts with mutual savings banks, cooperative banks, credit unions, domestic building and loan associations, and other savings institutions chartered and supervised as savings and loan or similar associations under federal or state law if the interest paid or credited can be deducted by the association.
- Interest on deposits with a foreign branch of a domestic corporation or domestic partnership, but only if the branch is in the commercial banking business.
In most cases, dividend income received from domestic corporations is U.S. source income. Dividend income from foreign corporations is usually foreign source income. Exceptions to both of these rules are discussed below.
A substitute dividend payment made to the transferor of a security in a securities lending transaction or a sale-repurchase transaction is sourced in the same manner as a distribution on the transferred security. taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222214
Dividends received from a domestic corporation are not U.S. source income if the corporation elects to take the American Samoa economic development credit. taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222215
Part of the dividends received from a foreign corporation is U.S. source income if 25% or more of its total gross income for the 3-year period ending with the close of its tax year preceding the declaration of dividends was effectively connected with a trade or business in the United States. If the corporation was formed less than 3 years before the declaration, use its total gross income from the time it was formed. Determine the part that is U.S. source income by multiplying the dividend by the following fraction.
| ||Foreign corporation's gross income connected with a U.S. trade or business for the 3-year period|| |
| ||Foreign corporation's gross income from all sources for that period|| |
All wages and any other compensation for services performed in the United States are considered to be from sources in the United States. The only exceptions to this rule are discussed in chapter 3 under Employees of foreign persons, organizations, or offices, and under Crew members.
If you are an employee and receive compensation for labor or personal services performed both inside and outside the United States, special rules apply in determining the source of the compensation. Compensation (other than certain fringe benefits) is sourced on a time basis. Certain fringe benefits (such as housing and education) are sourced on a geographical basis.
Or, you may be permitted to use an alternative basis to determine the source of compensation. See Alternative Basis
If you are self-employed, you determine the source of compensation for labor or personal services from self-employment on the basis that most correctly reflects the proper source of that income under the facts and circumstances of your particular case. In many cases, the facts and circumstances will call for an apportionment on a time basis as explained next.taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222220
Use a time basis to figure your U.S. source compensation (other than the fringe benefits discussed later). Do this by multiplying your total compensation (other than the fringe benefits discussed later) by the following fraction:
| ||Number of days you performed services in the United States during the year|| |
| ||Total number of days you performed services during the year|| |
You can use a unit of time less than a day in the above fraction, if appropriate. The time period for which the compensation is made does not have to be a year. Instead, you can use another distinct, separate, and continuous time period if you can establish to the satisfaction of the IRS that this other period is more appropriate.taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222222
Christina Brooks, a resident of the Netherlands, worked 240 days for a U.S. company during the tax year. She received $80,000 in compensation. None of it was for fringe benefits. Christina performed services in the United States for 60 days and performed services in the Netherlands for 180 days. Using the time basis for determining the source of compensation, $20,000 ($80,000 × 60/240) is her U.S. source income.taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222223
Rob Waters, a resident of South Africa, is employed by a corporation. His annual salary is $100,000. None of it is for fringe benefits. During the first quarter of the year he worked entirely within the United States. On April 1, Rob was transferred to Singapore for the remainder of the year. Rob is able to establish that the first quarter of the year and the last 3 quarters of the year are two separate, distinct, and continuous periods of time. Accordingly, $25,000 of Rob's annual salary is attributable to the first quarter of the year (.25 × $100,000). All of it is U.S. source income because he worked entirely within the United States during that quarter. The remaining $75,000 is attributable to the last three quarters of the year. During those quarters, he worked 150 days in Singapore and 30 days in the United States. His periodic performance of services in the United States did not result in distinct, separate, and continuous periods of time. Of his $75,000 salary, $12,500 ($75,000 × 30/180) is U.S. source income for the year.taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222224
The source of multi-year compensation is generally determined on a time basis over the period to which the compensation is attributable. Multi-year compensation is compensation that is included in your income in one tax year but that is attributable to a period that includes two or more tax years.
You determine the period to which the compensation is attributable based on the facts and circumstances of your case. For example, an amount of compensation that specifically relates to a period of time that includes several calendar years is attributable to the entire multi-year period.
The amount of compensation treated as from U.S. sources is figured by multiplying the total multi-year compensation by a fraction. The numerator of the fraction is the number of days (or unit of time less than a day, if appropriate) that you performed labor or personal services in the United States in connection with the project. The denominator of the fraction is the total number of days (or unit of time less than a day if appropriate) that you performed labor or personal services in connection with the project.taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222225
Compensation you receive as an employee in the form of the following fringe benefits is sourced on a geographical basis.
- Local transportation.
- Tax reimbursement.
- Hazardous or hardship duty pay as defined in Regulations section 1.861-4(b)(2)(ii)(D)(5).
- Moving expense reimbursement.
The amount of fringe benefits must be reasonable and you must substantiate them by adequate records or by sufficient evidence.
The above fringe benefits, except for tax reimbursement and hazardous or hardship duty pay, are sourced based on your principal place of work. Your principal place of work is usually the place where you spend most of your working time. This could be your office, plant, store, shop, or other location. If there is no one place where you spend most of your working time, your main job location is the place where your work is centered, such as where you report for work or are otherwise required to "base" your work.
If you have more than one job at any time, your main job location depends on the facts in each case. The more important factors to be considered are:
- The total time you spend at each place,
- The amount of work you do at each place, and
- How much money you earn at each place.
The source of a housing fringe benefit is determined based on the location of your principal place of work. A housing fringe benefit includes payments to you or on your behalf (and your family's if your family resides with you) only for the following.
- Utilities (except telephone charges).
- Real and personal property insurance.
- Occupancy taxes not deductible under section 164 or 216(a).
- Nonrefundable fees for securing a leasehold.
- Rental of furniture and accessories.
- Household repairs.
- Residential parking.
- Fair rental value of housing provided in kind by your employer.
A housing fringe benefit does not include:
- Deductible interest and taxes (including deductible interest and taxes of a tenant-stockholder in a cooperative housing corporation),
- The cost of buying property, including principal payments on a mortgage,
- The cost of domestic labor (maids, gardeners, etc.),
- Pay television subscriptions,
- Improvements and other expenses that increase the value or appreciably prolong the life of property,
- Purchased furniture or accessories,
- Depreciation or amortization of property or improvements,
- The value of meals or lodging that you exclude from gross income, or
- The value of meals or lodging that you deduct as moving expenses.
The source of an education fringe benefit for the education expenses of your dependents is determined based on the location of your principal place of work. An education fringe benefit includes payments only for the following expenses for education at an elementary or secondary school.
- Tuition, fees, academic tutoring, special needs services for a special needs student, books, supplies, and other equipment.
- Room and board and uniforms that are required or provided by the school in connection with enrollment or attendance.
The source of a local transportation fringe benefit is determined based on the location of your principal place of work. Your local transportation fringe benefit is the amount that you receive as compensation for local transportation for you or your spouse or dependents at the location of your principal place of work. The amount treated as a local transportation fringe benefit is limited to actual expenses incurred for local transportation and the fair rental value of any employer-provided vehicle used predominantly by you or your spouse or dependents for local transportation. Actual expenses do not include the cost (including interest) of any vehicle purchased by you on your behalf.taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222230
The source of a tax reimbursement fringe benefit is determined based on the location of the jurisdiction that imposed the tax for which you are reimbursed.taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222231
The source of a moving expense reimbursement is generally based on the location of your new principal place of work. However, the source is determined based on the location of your former principal place of work if you provide sufficient evidence that such determination of source is more appropriate under the facts and circumstances of your case. Sufficient evidence generally requires an agreement between you and your employer, or a written statement of company policy, which is reduced to writing before the move and which is entered into or established to induce you or other employees to move to another country. The written statement or agreement must state that your employer will reimburse you for moving expenses that you incur to return to your former principal place of work regardless of whether you continue to work for your employer after returning to that location. It may contain certain conditions upon which the right to reimbursement is determined as long as those conditions set forth standards that are definitely ascertainable and can only be fulfilled prior to, or through completion of, your return move to your former principal place of work.taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222232
If you are an employee, you can determine the source of your compensation under an alternative basis if you establish to the satisfaction of the IRS that, under the facts and circumstances of your case, the alternative basis more properly determines the source of your compensation than the time or geographical basis. If you use an alternative basis, you must keep (and have available for inspection) records to document why the alternative basis more properly determines the source of your compensation. Also, if your total compensation from all sources is $250,000 or more, check "Yes" to both questions on line K on page 5 of Form 1040NR, and attach a written statement to your tax return that sets forth all of the following.
- Your name and social security number (written across the top of the statement).
- The specific compensation income, or the specific fringe benefit, for which you are using the alternative basis.
- For each item in (2), the alternative basis of allocation of source used.
- For each item in (2), a computation showing how the alternative allocation was computed.
- A comparison of the dollar amount of the U.S. compensation and foreign compensation sourced under both the alternative basis and the time or geographical basis discussed earlier.
Transportation income is income from the use of a vessel or aircraft or for the performance of services directly related to the use of any vessel or aircraft. This is true whether the vessel or aircraft is owned, hired, or leased. The term "vessel or aircraft" includes any container used in connection with a vessel or aircraft.
All income from transportation that begins and ends in the United States is treated as derived from sources in the United States. If the transportation begins or ends in the United States, 50% of the transportation income is treated as derived from sources in the United States.
For transportation income from personal services, 50% of the income is U.S. source income if the transportation is between the United States and a U.S. possession. For nonresident aliens, this only applies to income derived from, or in connection with, an aircraft.
For information on how U.S. source transportation income is taxed, see chapter 4
For example, payments for research or study in the United States made by the United States, a noncorporate U.S. resident, or a domestic corporation, are from U.S. sources. Similar payments from a foreign government or foreign corporation are foreign source payments even though the funds may be disbursed through a U.S. agent.
Payments made by an entity designated as a public international organization under the International Organizations Immunities Act are from foreign sources. taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222237
Scholarships, fellowship grants, targeted grants, and achievement awards received by nonresident aliens for activities performed, or to be performed, outside the United States are not U.S. source income.
These rules do not apply to amounts paid as salary or other compensation for services. See Personal Services
, earlier, for the source rules that apply.
If you receive a pension from a domestic trust for services performed both in and outside the United States, part of the pension payment is from U.S. sources. That part is the amount attributable to earnings of the pension plan and the employer contributions made for services performed in the United States. This applies whether the distribution is made under a qualified or nonqualified stock bonus, pension, profit-sharing, or annuity plan (whether or not funded).
If you performed services as an employee of the United States, you may receive a distribution from the U.S. Government under a plan, such as the Civil Service Retirement System, that is treated as a qualified pension plan. Your U.S. source income is the otherwise taxable amount of the distribution that is attributable to your total U.S. Government basic pay other than tax-exempt pay for services performed outside the United States. taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222241
Your U.S. source income includes rent and royalty income received during the tax year from property located in the United States or from any interest in that property.
U.S. source income also includes rents or royalties for the use of, or for the privilege of using, in the United States, intangible property such as patents, copyrights, secret processes and formulas, goodwill, trademarks, franchises, and similar property. taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222242
Real property is land and buildings and generally anything built on, growing on, or attached to land.
Gross income from sources in the United States includes gains, profits, and income from the sale or other disposition of real property located in the United States. taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222243
The income from the sale of products of any farm, mine, oil or gas well, other natural deposit, or timber located in the United States and sold in a foreign country, or located in a foreign country and sold in the United States, is partly from sources in the United States. For information on determining that part, see section 1.863-1(b) of the regulations.
Table 2-1. Summary of Source Rules for Income of Nonresident Aliens
|Item of income||Factor determining source|
|Salaries, wages, other compensation||Where services performed|
|Business income:|| |
| Personal services||Where services performed|
| Sale of inventory—purchased||Where sold|
| Sale of inventory—produced||Allocation|
|Interest||Residence of payer|
|Dividends||Whether a U.S. or foreign corporation*|
|Rents||Location of property|
| Natural resources||Location of property|
| Patents, copyrights, etc.||Where property is used|
|Sale of real property||Location of property|
|Sale of personal property||Seller's tax home (but see Personal Property , later, for exceptions)|
|Pension distributions attributable to contributions||Where services were performed that earned the pension|
|Investment earnings on pension contributions||Location of pension trust|
|Sale of natural resources||Allocation based on fair market value of product at export terminal. For more information, see section 1.863-1(b) of the regulations.|
a) Dividends paid by a U.S. corporation are foreign source if the corporation elects the
American Samoa economic development credit.
b) Part of a dividend paid by a foreign corporation is U.S. source if at least 25% of the
corporation's gross income is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business for the
3 tax years before the year in which the dividends are declared.
Personal property is property, such as machinery, equipment, or furniture, that is not real property.
Gain or loss from the sale or exchange of personal property generally has its source in the United States if you have a tax home in the United States. If you do not have a tax home in the United States, the gain or loss generally is considered to be from sources outside the United States. taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222248
Your tax home is the general area of your main place of business, employment, or post of duty, regardless of where you maintain your family home. Your tax home is the place where you permanently or indefinitely work as an employee or a self-employed individual. If you do not have a regular or main place of business because of the nature of your work, then your tax home is the place where you regularly live. If you do not fit either of these categories, you are considered an itinerant and your tax home is wherever you work. taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222249
Inventory property is personal property that is stock in trade or that is held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of your trade or business. Income from the sale of inventory that you purchased is sourced where the property is sold. Generally, this is where title to the property passes to the buyer. For example, income from the sale of inventory in the United States is U.S. source income, whether you purchased it in the United States or in a foreign country.
Income from the sale of inventory property that you produced in the United States and sold outside the United States (or vice versa) is partly from sources in the United States and partly from sources outside the United States. For information on making this allocation, see section 1.863-3 of the regulations.
These rules apply even if your tax home is not in the United States. taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222250
To determine the source of any gain from the sale of depreciable personal property, you must first figure the part of the gain that is not more than the total depreciation adjustments on the property. You allocate this part of the gain to sources in the United States based on the ratio of U.S. depreciation adjustments to total depreciation adjustments. The rest of this part of the gain is considered to be from sources outside the United States.
For this purpose, "U.S. depreciation adjustments" are the depreciation adjustments to the basis of the property that are allowable in figuring taxable income from U.S. sources. However, if the property is used predominantly in the United States during a tax year, all depreciation deductions allowable for that year are treated as U.S. depreciation adjustments. But there are some exceptions for certain transportation, communications, and other property used internationally.
Gain from the sale of depreciable property that is more than the total depreciation adjustments on the property is sourced as if the property were inventory property, as discussed above.
A loss is sourced in the same way as the depreciation deductions were sourced. However, if the property was used predominantly in the United States, the entire loss reduces U.S. source income.
The basis of property usually means the cost (money plus the fair market value of other property or services) of property you acquire. Depreciation is an amount deducted to recover the cost or other basis of a trade or business asset. The amount you can deduct depends on the property's cost, when you began using the property, how long it will take to recover your cost, and which depreciation method you use. A depreciation deduction is any deduction for depreciation or amortization or any other allowable deduction that treats a capital expenditure as a deductible expense. taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222251
Intangible property includes patents, copyrights, secret processes or formulas, goodwill, trademarks, trade names, or other like property. The gain from the sale of amortizable or depreciable intangible property, up to the previously allowable amortization or depreciation deductions, is sourced in the same way as the original deductions were sourced. This is the same as the source rule for gain from the sale of depreciable property. See Depreciable property
, earlier, for details on how to apply this rule.
Gain in excess of the amortization or depreciation deductions is sourced in the country where the property is used if the income from the sale is contingent on the productivity, use, or disposition of that property. If the income is not contingent on the productivity, use, or disposition of the property, the income is sourced according to your tax home as discussed earlier. If payments for goodwill do not depend on its productivity, use, or disposition, their source is the country in which the goodwill was generated. taxmap/pubs/p519-007.htm#en_us_publink1000222252
Despite any of the above rules, if you do not have a tax home in the United States, but you maintain an office or other fixed place of business in the United States, treat the income from any sale of personal property (including inventory property) that is attributable to that office or place of business as U.S. source income. However, this rule does not apply to sales of inventory property for use, disposition, or consumption outside the United States if your office or other fixed place of business outside the United States materially participated in the sale.
If you have a tax home in the United States but maintain an office or other fixed place of business outside the United States, income from sales of personal property, other than inventory, depreciable property, or intangibles, that is attributable to that foreign office or place of business may be treated as U.S. source income. The income is treated as U.S. source income if an income tax of less than 10% of the income from the sale is paid to a foreign country. This rule also applies to losses if the foreign country would have imposed an income tax of less than 10% had the sale resulted in a gain.