IRS announces new online tool to help U.S. withholding agents validate their 1042-S data prior to filing

Issue Number: IR-2021-223

Inside This Issue


IRS announces new online tool to help U.S. withholding agents validate their 1042-S data prior to filing

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today launched a new online tool designed to help U.S. withholding agents comply with their reporting and withholding responsibilities with respect to IRS Form 1042-S (Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding).

The tool performs a quality review of data before submission to the IRS. Use of the tool does not change a withholding agent’s obligations to file Forms 1042-S with the IRS and furnish a copy of the Form 1042-S to the payee.

“U.S. withholding agents play an important role in helping the IRS administer the tax code so we are delighted to be able to provide this tool free of charge to assist agents in meeting their filing requirement,” said Nikole Flax, IRS Large Business and International division commissioner.

About the tool

In general, withholding agents, such as banks, insurance companies, universities, entertainment venues and resorts, or other financial institutions must file an information return on Form 1042-S to report amounts paid from U.S. sources to foreign persons. The definition of a withholding agent includes any person, U.S. or foreign, that has control, receipt or custody of amounts that are subject to the rules under Internal Revenue Code Chapter 3 (Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Corporations) or Chapter 4 (Taxes to Enforce Reporting on Certain Foreign Accounts, i.e. FATCA or the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act).​

The tool is designed to accept Form 1042-S data in common file formats that can be generated by most withholding agents’ back office systems. After uploading the data, the user will receive a report indicating errors and potential errors. A tutorial on how to use the tool can be viewed online or downloaded.

Even though the tool identifies data errors, the withholding agent remains responsible for making changes to the data on the agent’s system of record before submission to the IRS.​ The list of resources below will help agents understand and correct errors before submitting the Forms 1042-S.

The tool can be used as many times as necessary on new or revised data. The IRS has no access to the users’ data. Use of the tool is voluntary, but the IRS will take into account a withholding agent’s use of the tool when making enforcement and penalty determinations.​

Help spread the word

The IRS urges information reporting and withholding industry experts and withholding agents to share this critical information with any withholding agents that may benefit from using this tool.

Non-Resident Alien Withholding Resources

  • Form 1042-S, Instructions in PDF or HTML and any recent updates
  • Form 1042, Instructions in PDF or HTML and any recent updates
  • Publication 1187 (.pdf),Specifications for Electronic Filing of Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding
  • Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities

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