Tax & Accounting Blog

Tax Treaty Exemptions for Business Profits – Part 1

ONESOURCE March 19, 2012

Foreign business enterprises are subject to U.S. income taxes on net business income that is effectively connected with the conduct of a U.S. trade or business. Foreign enterprises may avoid 30 percent withholding (called NRA withholding) on their net business profits by submitting a valid Form W-8ECI to the payer for the Effectively Connected Income (ECI) described on line 9 of the form. To be valid, the form must include a U.S. Employer Identification Number (which begins with 98 for a foreign organization). Form W-8ECI cautions that the organization must submit a U.S. tax return. This return must include all of the organization’s ECI whether or not reported by a payer on an information return. (For more information, see Withholding on U.S. Business Income of Foreign Vendors, September/October 2011 Edition of A View from the Crow’s Nest.) Tax treaty exemptions can help reduce or eliminate tax obligations for foreign businesses.