26 CFR § 1.881-2 - Taxation of foreign corporations not engaged in U.S. business.

§ 1.881-2 Taxation of foreign corporations not engaged in U.S. business.

(a) Imposition of tax.

(1) This section applies for purposes of determining the tax of a foreign corporation which at no time during the taxable year is engaged in trade or business in the United States. However, see also § 1.882-2 where such corporation has an election in effect for the taxable year in respect to real property income or receives interest on obligations of the United States. Except as otherwise provided in § 1.871-12, a foreign corporation to which this section applies is not subject to the tax imposed by section 11 or section 1201(a) but, pursuant to the provisions of section 881(a), is liable to a flat tax of 30 percent upon the aggregate of the amounts determined under paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section which are received during the taxable year from sources within the United States. Except as specifically provided in such paragraphs, such amounts do not include gains from the sale or exchange of property. To determine the source of such amounts, see sections 861 through 863, and the regulations thereunder.

(2) The tax of 30 percent is imposed by section 881(a) upon an amount only to the extent the amount constitutes gross income.

(3) Deductions shall not be allowed in determining the amount subject to tax under this section.

(4) Except as provided in § 1.882-2, a foreign corporation which at no time during the taxable year is engaged in trade or business in the United States has no income, gain, or loss for the taxable year which is effectively connected for the taxable year with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States. See section 864(c)(1)(B) and § 1.864-3.

(5) Gains and losses which, by reason of section 882(d) and § 1.882-2, are treated as gains or losses which are effectively connected for the taxable year with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States by such a foreign corporation shall not be taken into account in determining the tax under this section. See, for example, paragraph (c)(2) of § 1.871-10.

(6) Interest received by a foreign corporation pursuant to certain portfolio debt instruments is not subject to the flat tax of 30 percent described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section. For rules applicable to a foreign corporation's receipt of interest on certain portfolio debt instruments, see sections 871(h), 881(c), and § 1.871-14.

(b) Fixed or determinable annual or periodical income - (1) General rule. The tax of 30 percent imposed by section 881(a) applies to the gross amount received from sources within the United States as fixed or determinable annual or periodical gains, profits, or income. Specific items of fixed or determinable annual or periodical income are enumerated in section 881(a)(1) as interest, dividends, rents, salaries, wages, premiums, annuities, compensations, remunerations, and emoluments, but other items of fixed or determinable annual or periodical gains, profits, or income are also subject to the tax as, for instance, royalties, including royalties for the use of patents, copyrights, secret processes and formulas, and other like property. As to the determination of fixed or determinable annual or periodical income, see paragraph (a) of § 1.1441-2. For special rules treating gain on the disposition of section 306 stock as fixed or determinable annual or periodical income for purposes of section 881(a), see section 306(f) and paragraph (h) of § 1.306-3.

(2) Substitute payments. For purposes of this section, a substitute interest payment (as defined in § 1.861-2(a)(7)) received by a foreign person pursuant to a securities lending transaction or a sale-repurchase transaction (as defined in § 1.861-2(a)(7)) shall have the same character as interest income received pursuant to the terms of the transferred security. Similarly, for purposes of this section, a substitute dividend payment (as defined in § 1.861-3(a)(6)) received by a foreign person pursuant to a securities lending transaction or a sale-repurchase transaction (as defined in § 1.861-2(a)(7)) shall have the same character as a distribution received with respect to the transferred security. Where, pursuant to a securities lending transaction or a sale-repurchase transaction, a foreign person transfers to another person a security in the interest on which would qualify as portfolio interest under section 881(c) in the hands of the lender, substitute interest payments made with respect to the transferred security will be treated as portfolio interest, provided that in the case of interest on an obligation in registered form (as defined in § 1.871-14(c)(1)(i)), the transferor complies with the documentation requirement described in § 1.871-14(c)(1)(ii)(C) with respect to the payment of substitute interest and none of the exceptions to the portfolio interest exemption in sections 881(c) (3) and (4) apply. See also §§ 1.871-7(b)(2) and 1.894-1(c).

(3) Dividend Equivalents. For rules applicable to a foreign corporation's receipt of a dividend equivalent, see section 871(m) and the regulations thereunder.

(c) Other income and gains -

(1) Items subject to tax. The tax of 30 percent imposed by section 881(a) also applies to the following gains received during the taxable year from sources within the United States:

(i) Gains described in section 631 (b) or (c), relating to the treatment of gain on the disposal of timber, coal, or iron ore with a retained economic interest;

(ii) [Reserved]

(iii) Gains from the sale or exchange after October 4, 1966, of patents, copyrights, secret processes and formulas, goodwill, trademarks, trade brands, franchises, or other like property, or of any interest in any such property, to the extent the gains are from payments (whether in a lump sum or in installments) which are contingent on the productivity, use, or disposition of the property or interest sold or exchanged, or from payments which are treated under section 871(e) and § 1.871-11 as being so contingent.

(2) Determination of amount of gain. The tax of 30 percent imposed upon the gains described in subparagraph (1) of this paragraph applies to the full amount of the gains and is determined (i) without regard to the alternative tax imposed by section 1201(a) upon the excess of net long-term capital gain over the net short-term capital loss; (ii) without regard to section 1231, relating to property used in the trade or business and involuntary conversions; and (iii) except in the case of gains described in subparagraph (1)(ii) of this paragraph, whether or not the gains are considered to be gains from the sale or exchange of property which is a capital asset.

(d) Credits against tax. The credits allowed by section 32 (relating to tax withheld at source on foreign corporations), by section 39 (relating to certain uses of gasoline and lubricating oil), and by section 6402 (relating to overpayments of tax) shall be allowed against the tax of a foreign corporation determined in accordance with this section.

(e) Effective/applicability date. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, this section applies for taxable years beginning after December 31, 1966. Paragraph (b)(2) of this section is applicable to payments made after November 13, 1997. For corresponding rules applicable to taxable years beginning before January 1, 1967, see 26 CFR 1.881-2 (Revised as of January 1, 1971). Paragraph (b)(3) of this section applies to payments made on or after January 23, 2012.

[T.D. 7293, 38 FR 32796, Nov. 28, 1973, as amended by T.D. 8735, 62 FR 53502, Oct. 14, 1997; T.D. 9323, 72 FR 18388, Apr. 12, 2007; T.D. 9572, 77 FR 3109, Jan. 23, 2012; T.D. 9648, 78 FR 73080, Dec. 5, 2013]