US tax law imposes a 30% branch profits tax on a foreign corporation's US branch earnings and profits for the year that are effectively connected with a US business, to the extent that they are not reinvested in branch assets. Thus, the taxable base for the branch profits tax is increased (decreased) by any decrease (increase) in the US net equity of the branch. The branch profits tax on profits may be reduced or eliminated entirely if a relevant treaty so provides (subject to strict 'treaty shopping' rules). The purpose of the branch profits tax is to treat US operations of foreign corporations in much the same manner as US corporations owned by foreign persons. With certain exceptions, a 30% (or lower treaty rate) branch profits tax also will be imposed on interest payments by the US branch to foreign lenders. In addition, the tax will apply if the amount of interest deducted by the branch on its US tax return exceeds the amount of interest actually paid during the year.
Last Reviewed - 14 January 2020