United States

Corporate - Withholding taxes

Last reviewed - 31 July 2020

Under US domestic tax laws, a foreign person generally is subject to 30% US tax on the gross amount of certain US-source (non-business) income. All persons making US-source payments to foreign persons ('withholding agents') generally must report and withhold 30% of the gross US-source payments, such as dividends, interest, and royalties. Withholding agents are permitted to reduce the rate of withholding if the beneficial owner properly certifies their eligibility for a lower rate either based on operation of the US tax code or based on a tax treaty. Information reporting of the US-source payments is always required even if no withholding applies.

Withholding also may be required on the purchase from a non-US person of an interest in US real estate (which may include shares in a US company holding primarily US real estate/real property interests) or a partnership interest if the partnership is or has been engaged in the conduct of a US trade or business.

The United States has entered into various bilateral income tax treaties in order to avoid double taxation and to prevent tax evasion. The table below, from the IRS website, summarises the benefits resulting from these treaties. Note that the information in this table is subject to change due to changes to existing treaties.

Recipient WHT (%)
Dividends paid by US corporations in general (1) Dividends qualifying for direct dividend rate (1, 2) Interest paid by US obligors in general Royalties *
Non-treaty 30 30 30 30/30/30/30/30
Treaty rates:        
Australia (3) 15 (22) 5 (22, 24) 10 (5, 6, 15, 21) NA/5/5/5/5
Austria (3) 15 (9) 5 (9) 0 (15, 19) NA/0/0/10/0
Bangladesh (3) 15 (22) 10 (22) 10 (11, 15, 19) NA/10/10/10/10
Barbados (3) 15 (9) 5 (9) 5 NA/5/5/5/5
Belgium (3) 15 (22, 27) 5 (22, 24, 27) 0 (15, 19, 30) NA/0/0/0/0
Bulgaria (3) 10 (22, 27) 5 (22, 27) 5 (15, 19, 21, 27) NA/5/5/5/5
Canada (3) 15 (22) 5 (22) 0 (15, 19) 10/0/0/10/0
China, People's Republic of (3) 10 10 10 7/10/10/10/10
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) (8) 30 30 0 (7) 0/0/0/0/0
Cyprus (3) 15 5 10 (21) NA/0/0/0/0
Czech Republic (3) 15 (9) 5 (9) 0 (15) 10/10/10/0/0
Denmark (3) 15 (22, 27) 5 (22, 24, 27) 0 (15, 20) NA/0/0/0/0
Egypt 15 (4) 5 (4) 15 (4) NA/30/15/NA/15 (3)
Estonia (3) 15 (9) 5 (9) 10 (15, 20) 5/10/10/10/10
Finland (3) 15 (22, 27) 5 (22, 24, 27) 0 (15, 20) NA/0/0/0/0
France (3) 15 (22) 5 (22, 24) 0 (5, 15) NA/0/0/0/0
Germany (3) 15 (22, 27) 5 (22, 24, 27) 0 (15, 19) NA/0/0/0/0
Greece (4) 30 30 0 0/0/0/30/0
Hungary (3) 15 5 0 NA/0/0/0/0
Iceland (3) 15 (22, 27) 5 (22, 27, 30) 0 (15, 20) NA/5/0/5/0
India (3) 25 (9) 15 (9) 15 (12) 10/15/15/15/15
Indonesia (3) 15 10 10 10/10/10/10/10
Ireland (3) 15 (22) 5 (22, 30) 0 (15) NA/0/0/0/0
Israel (3) 25 (9) 12.5 (9) 17.5 (12, 17) NA/15/15/10/10
Italy (3) 15 (22) 5 (22) 10 (15, 23) 5/8/8/8/0
Jamaica (3) 15 10 12.5 NA/10/10/10/10
Japan (3, 25) 10 (22, 25, 27) 5 (22, 24, 25, 27) 10 (15, 25, 26, 27) NA/0/0/0/0
Kazakhstan (3) 15 (16) 5 (16) 10 (15) 10/10/10/10/10
Korea, South (3) 15 10 12 NA/15/15/10/10
Latvia (3) 15 (9) 5 (9) 10 (15, 20) 5/10/10/10/10
Lithuania (3) 15 (9) 5 (9) 10 (15, 20) 5/10/10/10/10
Luxembourg (3) 15 (9, 28) 5 (9) 0 (4, 5, 15) NA/0/0/0/0
Malta (3) 15 (22, 27, 30) 5 (22, 27, 30) 10 (15, 19) NA/10/10/10/10
Mexico (3) 10 (22, 27) 5 (22, 24, 27) 15 (15, 18, 25, 27) 10/10/10/10/10
Morocco (3) 15 10 15 NA/10/10/10/10
Netherlands (3) 15 5 (24, 29) 0 (6, 30) NA/0/0/0/0
New Zealand (3) 15 (22) 5 (22, 24) 10 (15, 19, 21) NA/5/5/5/5
Norway (3) 15 15 10 NA/0/0/NA/0
Pakistan (4) 30 15 30 NA/0/0/NA/0
Philippines (3) 25 20 15 NA/15/15/15/15
Poland (3) 15 5 0 NA/10/10/10/10
Portugal (3) 15 (9) 5 (9) 10 (5, 15) 10/10/10/10/10
Romania (3) 10 10 10 NA/15/15/10/10
Russia (3) 10 (16) 5 (16) 0 (15) NA/0/0/0/0
Slovak Republic (3) 15 (9) 5 (9) 0 (15) 10/10/10/0/0
Slovenia (3) 15 (22) 5 (22) 5 (15) NA/5/5/5/5
South Africa (3) 15 (9) 5 (9) 0 (15, 19) NA/0/0/0/0
Spain (3) 15 (22, 27) 5 (22, 24, 27, 30) 0 (15, 19, 30) NA/0/0/0/0 (10, 30)
Sri Lanka (3) 15 (29) 15 (29) 10 (15, 19) 5/10/10/10/10
Sweden (3) 15 (22, 27) 5 (22, 24, 27) 0 (15) NA/0/0/0/0
Switzerland (3) 15 (9) 5 (9) 0 (15, 19) NA/0/0/NA/0
Thailand (3) 15 (9) 10 (9) 15 (12, 15) 8/15/15/5/5
Trinidad & Tobago (3) 30 30 30 NA/15/15/NA/0 (14)
Tunisia (3) 20 (9) 14 (9) 15 10 (13)/15/15/15/15
Turkey (3) 20 (9) 15 (9) 15 (6, 12, 15) 5/10/10/10/10
Ukraine (3) 15 (16) 5 (16) 0 NA/10/10/10/10
United Kingdom (3) 15 (22, 25) 5 (22, 24, 25) 0 (15, 20, 25) NA/0/0/0/0
Venezuela (3) 15 (22) 5 (22) 10 (15, 20, 21) 5/10/10/10/10

Notes

* Please note the tax rates and associated footnotes appearing in the 'Royalties' column in the table address five types of royalties, as denoted in the most recent IRS publication. These five are industrial equipment royalties, know-how/other industrial royalties, patent royalties, motion picture and television royalties, and copyright royalties. The slashes '/' between each figure and associated footnote(s) are meant to demarcate these five types of royalties, respectively. For rates indicated as 'NA', if the enterprise earns income from the leasing of equipment in the conduct of a trade or business, it is covered by the Business Profits article. For passive income from the leasing of equipment, and not in the Royalty article, it is covered by the Other Income article, if any.

  1. No US tax is imposed on a dividend paid by a US corporation that received at least 80% of its gross income from an active foreign business for the three-year period before the dividend is declared.
  2. Dividends paid by a subsidiary to a foreign parent corporation that has the required percentage of stock ownership are subject to a reduced rate, usually 5%, and, under some treaties, WHT may be eliminated entirely. In some cases, the income of the subsidiary must meet certain requirements (e.g. a certain percentage of its total income must consist of income other than dividends and interest).
  3. The exemption or reduction in rate does not apply if the recipient has a PE in the United States and the property giving rise to the income is attributable to this PE. Under certain treaties, the exemption or reduction in rate also does not apply if the property producing the income is attributable to a fixed base in the United States from which the recipient performs independent personal services. Even with the treaty, if the income is not effectively connected with a trade or business in the United States by the recipient, the recipient will be considered as not having a PE in the United States under IRC Section 894(b).
  4. The exemption or reduction in rate does not apply if the recipient is engaged in a trade or business in the United States through a PE that is in the United States. However, if the income is not effectively connected with a trade or business in the United States by the recipient, the recipient will be considered as not having a PE in the United States to apply the reduced treaty rate to that item of income.
  5. Interest determined with reference to the profits of the issuer or one of its associated enterprises typically is taxed at 15%.
  6. Contingent interest that does not qualify as portfolio interest is treated as a dividend and is subject to the rates under those columns, as appropriate.
  7. The exemption applies only to interest on credits, loans, and other indebtedness connected with the financing of trade between the United States and the CIS member. It does not include interest from the conduct of a general banking business.
  8. The tax rates in the US treaty with the former USSR still apply to the following countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
  9. The rate in column 2 applies to dividends paid by a regulated investment company (RIC) or a real estate investment trust (REIT). However, that rate applies to dividends paid by a REIT only if the beneficial owner of the dividends is an individual holding less than a 10% interest (25% in the case of Portugal, and Tunisia) in the REIT.
  10. The rate is 0% for royalties received in consideration for the use of, or the right to use, containers in international traffic. With respect to payments in consideration for copyrights of scientific work, whether a payment is in consideration for a copyright of a scientific work will be determined in accordance with the domestic law of the source state.
  11. The rate is 5% for interest (i) beneficially owned by a bank or other financial institution (including an insurance company) or (ii) paid due to a sale on credit of any industrial, commercial, or scientific equipment, or of any merchandise to an enterprise.
  12. The rate is 10% if the interest is paid on a loan granted by a bank or similar financial institution. For Thailand, the 10% rate also applies to interest from an arm's-length sale on credit of equipment, merchandise, or services.
  13. This is the rate for royalties for the use of, or the right to use, industrial, commercial, and scientific equipment. The rate for royalties for information concerning industrial, commercial, and scientific know-how is subject to the rate in column 5 ('other royalties').
  14. The rate is 15% for copyrights of scientific work.
  15. Exemption or reduced rate does not apply to an excess inclusion for a residual interest in a real estate mortgage investment conduit (REMIC).
  16. The rate in column 2 applies to dividends paid by a RIC. Dividends paid by a REIT are subject to a 30% rate.
  17. An election can be made to treat this interest income as if it were industrial and commercial profits taxable under article 8 of this treaty.
  18. The rate is 4.9% for interest derived from (i) loans granted by banks and insurance companies and (ii) bonds or securities that are regularly and substantially traded on a recognised securities market. The rate is 10% for interest not described in the preceding sentence and paid (i) by banks or (ii) by the buyer of machinery and equipment to the seller due to a sale on credit.
  19. The rate is 15% (10% for Bulgaria and Spain; 30% for Austria, Germany, and Switzerland) for contingent interest that does not qualify as portfolio interest.
  20. The rate is 15% for interest determined with reference to (i) receipts, sales, income, profits, or other cash flow of the debtor or a related person, (ii) any change in the value of any property of the debtor or a related person, or (iii) any dividend, partnership distribution, or similar payment made by the debtor to a related person.
  21. Interest received by a financial institution is tax exempt. For Venezuela, the rate is 4.95% if the interest is beneficially owned by a financial institution (including an insurance company).
  22. The rate in column 2 applies to dividends paid by a RIC or REIT. However, that rate applies to dividends paid by a REIT only if the beneficial owner of the dividends is (i) an individual (or pension fund, in the case of France or New Zealand) holding not more than a 10% interest in the REIT, (ii) a person holding not more than 5% of any class of the REIT's stock and the dividends are paid on stock that is publicly traded, or (iii) a person holding not more than a 10% interest in the REIT and the REIT is diversified.
  23. Interest paid or accrued on the sale of goods, merchandise, or services between enterprises is exempt. Interest paid or accrued on the sale on credit of industrial, commercial, or scientific equipment is exempt.
  24. Dividends received from an 80%-owned corporate subsidiary are exempt if certain conditions (including a holding period requirement) are met. For Japan, this figure is 50%.
  25. Exemption does not apply to amount paid under, or as part of, a conduit arrangement.
  26. Interest is exempt if (i) paid to certain financial institutions, or (ii) paid on indebtedness from the sale on credit of equipment or merchandise.
  27. Amounts paid to a pension fund that are not derived from the carrying on of a business, directly or indirectly, by the fund are exempt. This includes amounts paid by a REIT only if the conditions in footnote 22 are met. For Sweden, to be entitled to the exemption, the pension fund must not sell or make a contract to sell the holding from which the dividend is derived within two months of the date the pension fund acquired the holding.
  28. The exemption does not apply if the recipient of the gain is an individual who is present in the United States for more than 119 days during the year.
  29. The rate applies to dividends paid by a REIT only if the beneficial owner of the dividends is (i) an individual holding less than a 10% interest in the REIT, (ii) a person holding not more than 5% of any class of the REIT's stock and the dividends are paid on stock that is publicly traded, or (iii) a person holding not more than a 10% interest in the REIT and the REIT is diversified.
  30. 15% rate applies if income is attributable to a PE that that enterprise has in a third state, if the tax that is actually paid with respect to such income in the third state is less than 60% of the tax that would have been payable in the treaty country if the income were earned by the enterprise and were not attributable to the PE in the third state, unless derived in the active conduct of a trade or business in that third state.