26 CFR § 1.864-7 - Definition of office or other fixed place of business.

§ 1.864-7 Definition of office or other fixed place of business.

(a) In general.

(1) This section applies for purposes of determining whether a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation that is engaged in a trade or business in the United States at some time during a taxable year beginning after December 31, 1966, has an office or other fixed place of business in the United States for purposes of applying section 864(c)(4)(B) and § 1.864-6 to income, gain, or loss specified in paragraph (b) of § 1.864-5 from sources without the United States or has an office or other fixed place of business outside the United States for purposes of applying section 864(c)(4)(B)(iii) and paragraph (b)(3)(i) of § 1.864-6 to sales of goods or merchandise for use, consumption, or disposition outside the United States.

(2) In making a determination under this section due regard shall be given to the facts and circumstances of each case, particularly to the nature of the taxpayer's trade or business and the physical facilities actually required by the taxpayer in the ordinary course of the conduct of his trade or business.

(3) The law of a foreign country shall not be controlling in determining whether a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation has an office or other fixed place of business.

(b) Fixed facilities -

(1) In general. As a general rule, an office or other fixed place of business is a fixed facility, that is, a place, site, structure, or other similar facility, through which a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation engages in a trade or business. For this purpose an office or other fixed place of business shall include, but shall not be limited to, a factory; a store or other sales outlet; a workshop; or a mine, quarry, or other place of extraction of natural resources. A fixed facility may be considered an office or other fixed place of business whether or not the facility is continuously used by a nonresident alien individual or foreign corporation.

(2) Use of another person's office or other fixed place of business. A nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation shall not be considered to have an office or other fixed place of business merely because such alien individual or foreign corporation uses another person's office or other fixed place of business, whether or not the office or place of business of a related person, through which to transact a trade or business, if the trade or business activities of the alien individual or foreign corporation in that office or other fixed place of business are relatively sporadic or infrequent, taking into account the overall needs and conduct of that trade or business.

(c) Management activity. A foreign corporation shall not be considered to have an office or other fixed place of business merely because a person controlling that corporation has an office or other fixed place of business from which general supervision and control over the policies of the foreign corporation are exercised. The fact that top management decisions affecting the foreign corporation are made in a country shall not of itself mean that the foreign corporation has an office or other fixed place of business in that country. For example, a foreign sales corporation which is a wholly owned subsidiary of a domestic corporation shall not be considered to have an office or other fixed place of business in the United States merely because of the presence in the United States of officers of the domestic parent corporation who are generally responsible only for the policy decisions affecting the foreign sales corporation, provided that the foreign corporation has a chief executive officer, whether or not he is also an officer of the domestic parent corporation, who conducts the day-to-day trade or business of the foreign corporation from a foreign office. The result in this example would be the same even if the executive officer should (1) regularly confer with the officers of the domestic parent corporation, (2) occasionally visit the U.S. office of the domestic parent corporation, and (3) during such visits to the United States temporarily conduct the business of the foreign subsidiary corporation out of the domestic parent corporation's office in the United States.

(d) Agent activity -

(1) Dependent agents -

(i) In general. In determining whether a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation has an office or other fixed place of business, the office or other fixed place of business of an agent who is not an independent agent, as defined in subparagraph (3) of this paragraph, shall be disregarded unless such agent (a) has the authority to negotiate and conclude contracts in the name of the nonresident alien individual or foreign corporation, and regularly exercises that authority, or (b) has a stock of merchandise belonging to the nonresident alien individual or foreign corporation from which orders are regularly filed on behalf of such alien individual or foreign corporation. A person who purchases goods from a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation shall not be considered to be an agent for such alien individual or foreign corporation for purposes of this paragraph where such person is carrying on such purchasing activities in the ordinary course of its own business, even though such person is related in some manner to the nonresident alien individual or foreign corporation. For example, a wholly owned domestic subsidiary corporation of a foreign corporation shall not be treated as an agent of the foreign parent corporation merely because the subsidiary corporation purchases goods from the foreign parent corporation and resells them in its own name. However, if the domestic subsidiary corporation regularly negotiates and concludes contracts in the name of its foreign parent corporation or maintains a stock of merchandise from which it regularly fills orders on behalf of the foreign parent corporation, the office or other fixed place of business of the domestic subsidiary corporation shall be treated as the office or other fixed place of business of the foreign parent corporation unless the domestic subsidiary corporation is an independent agent within the meaning of subparagraph (3) of this paragraph.

(ii) Authority to conclude contracts or fill orders. For purposes of subdivision (i) of this subparagraph, an agent shall be considered regularly to exercise authority to negotiate and conclude contracts or regularly to fill orders on behalf of his foreign principal only if the authority is exercised, or the orders are filled, with some frequency over a continuous period of time. This determination shall be made on the basis of the facts and circumstances in each case, taking into account the nature of the business of the principal; but, in all cases, the frequency and continuity tests are to be applied conjunctively. Regularity shall not be evidenced by occasional or incidental activity. An agent shall not be considered regularly to negotiate and conclude contracts on behalf of his foreign principal if the agent's authority to negotiate and conclude contracts is limited only to unusual cases or such authority must be separately secured by the agent from his principal with respect to each transaction effected.

(2) Independent agents. The office or other fixed place of business of an independent agent, as defined in subparagraph (3) of this paragraph, shall not be treated as the office or other fixed place of business of his principal who is a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation, irrespective of whether such agent has authority to negotiate and conclude contracts in the name of his principal, and regularly exercises that authority, or maintains a stock of goods from which he regularly fills orders on behalf of his principal.

(3) Definition of independent agent -

(i) In general. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “independent agent” means a general commission agent, broker, or other agent of an independent status acting in the ordinary course of his business in that capacity. Thus, for example, an agent who, in pursuance of his usual trade or business, and for compensation, sells goods or merchandise consigned or entrusted to his possession, management, and control for that purpose by or for the owner of such goods or merchandise is an independent agent.

(ii) Related persons. The determination of whether an agent is an independent agent for purposes of this paragraph shall be made without regard to facts indicating that either the agent or the principal owns or controls directly or indirectly the other or that a third person or persons own or control directly or indirectly both. For example, a wholly owned domestic subsidiary corporation of a foreign corporation which acts as an agent for the foreign parent corporation may be treated as acting in the capacity of independent agent for the foreign parent corporation. The facts and circumstances of a specific case shall determine whether the agent, while acting for his principal, is acting in pursuance of his usual trade or business and in such manner as to constitute him an independent agent in his relations with the nonresident alien individual or foreign corporation.

(iii) Exclusive agents. Where an agent who is otherwise an independent agent within the meaning of subdivision (i) of this subparagraph acts in such capacity exclusively, or almost exclusively, for one principal who is a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation, the facts and circumstances of a particular case shall be taken into account in determining whether the agent, while acting in that capacity, may be classified as an independent agent.

(e) Employee activity. Ordinarily, an employee of a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation shall be treated as a dependent agent to whom the rules of paragraph (d)(1) of this section apply if such employer does not in and of itself have a fixed facility (as defined in paragraph (b) of this section) in the United States or outside the United States, as the case may be. However, where the employee, in the ordinary course of his duties, carries on the trade or business of his employer in or through a fixed facility of such employer which is regularly used by the employee in the course of carrying out such duties, such fixed facility shall be considered the office or other fixed place of business of the employer, irrespective of the rules of paragraph (d)(1) of this section. The application of this paragraph may be illustrated by the following example:

Example.
M, a foreign corporation, opens a showroom office in the United States for the purpose of promoting its sales of merchandise which it purchases in foreign country X. The employees of the U.S. office, consisting of salesmen and general clerks, are empowered only to run the office, to arrange for the appointment of distributing agents for the merchandise offered by M, and to solicit orders generally. These employees do not have the authority to negotiate and conclude contracts in the name of M, nor do they have a stock of merchandise from which to fill orders on behalf of M. Any negotiations entered into by these employees are under M's instructions and subject to its approval as to any decision reached. The only independent authority which the employees have is in the appointment of distributors to whom M is to sell merchandise, but even this authority is subject to the right of M to approve or disapprove these buyers on receipt of information as to their business standing. Under the circumstances, this office used by a group of salesmen for sales promotion is a fixed place of business which M has in the United States.

(f) Office or other fixed place of business of a related person. The fact that a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation is related in some manner to another person who has an office or other fixed place of business shall not of itself mean that such office or other fixed place of business of the other person is the office or other fixed place of business of the nonresident alien individual or foreign corporation. Thus, for example, the U.S. office of foreign corporation M, a wholly owned subsidiary corporation of foreign corporation N, shall not be considered the office or other fixed place of business of N unless the facts and circumstances show that N is engaged in trade or business in the United States through that office or other fixed place of business. However, see paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(g) Illustrations. The application of this section may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1.
S, a foreign corporation, is engaged in the business of buying and selling tangible personal property. S is a wholly owned subsidiary of P, a domestic corporation engaged in the business of buying and selling similar property, which has an office in the United States. Officers of P are generally responsible for the policies followed by S and are directors of S, but S has an independent group of officers, none of whom are regularly employed in the United States. In addition to this group of officers, S has a chief executive officer, D, who is also an officer of P but who is permanently stationed outside the United States. The day-to-day conduct of S's business is handled by D and the other officers of such corporation, but they regularly confer with the officers of P and on occasion temporarily visit P's offices in the United States, at which time they continue to conduct the business of S. S does not have an office or other fixed place of business in the United States for purposes of this section.
Example 2.
The facts are the same as in example 1 except that, on rare occasions, an employee of P receives an order which he, after consultation with officials of S and because P cannot fill the order, accepts on behalf of S rather than on behalf of P. P does not hold itself out as a person which those wishing to do business with S should contact. Assuming that orders for S are seldom handled in this manner and that they do not constitute a significant part of that corporation's business, S shall not be considered to have an office or other fixed place of business in the United States because of these activities of an employee of P.
Example 3.
The facts are the same as in example 1 except that all orders received by S are subject to review by an officer of P before acceptance. S has a business office in the United States.
Example 4.
S, a foreign corporation organized under the laws of Puerto Rico, is engaged in the business of manufacturing dresses in Puerto Rico and is entitled to an income tax exemption under the Puerto Rico Industrial Incentive Act of 1963. S is a wholly owned subsidiary of P, a domestic corporation engaged in the business of buying and selling dresses to customers in the United States. S sells most of the dresses it produces to P, the assumption being made that the income from these sales is derived from sources without the United States. P in turn sells these dresses in the United States in its name and through the efforts of its own employees and of distributors appointed by it. S does not have a fixed facility in the United States, and none of its employees are stationed in the United States. On occasion, employees of S visit the office of P in the United States, and executives of P visit the office of S in Puerto Rico, to discuss with one another matters of mutual business interest involving both corporations, including the strategy for marketing the dresses produced by S. These matters are also regularly discussed by such persons by telephone calls between the United States and Puerto Rico. S's employees do not otherwise participate in P's marketing activities. Officers of P are generally responsible for the policies followed by S and are directors of S, but S has a chief executive officer in Puerto Rico who, from its office therein, handles the day-to-day conduct of S's business. Based upon the facts presented, and assuming there are no other facts which would lead to a different determination, S shall not be considered to have an office or other fixed place of business in the United States for purposes of this section.
Example 5.
The facts are the same as in example 4 except that the dresses are manufactured by S in styles and designs furnished by P and out of goods and raw materials purchased by P and sold to S. Based upon the facts presented, and assuming there are no other facts which would lead to a different determination, S shall not be considered to have an office or other fixed place of business in the United States for purposes of this section.
Example 6.
The facts are the same as in example 5 except that, pursuant to the instructions of P, the dresses sold by P are shipped by S directly to P's customers in the United States. Based upon the facts presented, and assuming there are no other facts which would lead to a different determination, S shall not be considered to have an office or other fixed place of business in the United States for purposes of this section.
[T.D. 7216, 37 FR 23433, Nov. 3, 1972]