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Publication 519

Chapter 8
Paying Tax Through Withholding or Estimated Tax (p38)


This chapter discusses how to pay your U.S. income tax as you earn or receive income during the year. In general, the federal income tax is a pay as you go tax. There are two ways to pay as you go.
  1. Withholding. If you are an employee, your employer probably withholds income tax from your pay. Tax may also be withheld from certain other income—including pensions, bonuses, commissions, and gambling winnings. In each case, the amount withheld is paid to the U.S. Treasury in your name.
  2. Estimated tax. If you do not pay your tax through withholding, or do not pay enough tax that way, you might have to pay estimated tax. People who are in business for themselves generally will have to pay their tax this way. You may have to pay estimated tax if you receive income such as dividends, interest, rent, and royalties. Estimated tax is used to pay not only income tax, but self-employment tax and alternative minimum tax as well.


Useful items

You may want to see:

 515  Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities
 901  U.S. Tax Treaties
Form (and Instructions)
 W-4: Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate
 W-8BEN: Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Individuals)
 W-8ECI: Certificate of Foreign Person's Claim That Income Is Effectively Connected With the Conduct of a Trade or Business in the United States
 W-9: Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification
 1040-ES (NR): U.S. Estimated Tax for Nonresident Alien Individuals
 8233: Exemption From Withholding on Compensation for Independent (and Certain Dependent) Personal Services of a Nonresident Alien Individual
 8288-B: Application for Withholding Certificate for Dispositions by Foreign Persons of U.S. Real Property Interests
 13930: Application for Central Withholding Agreement
See chapter 12 for information about getting these publications and forms.

Notification of
Alien Status(p38)

You must let your employer know whether you are a resident or a nonresident alien so your employer can withhold the correct amount of tax from your wages.
If you are a resident alien under the rules discussed in chapter 1, you must file Form W-9 or a similar statement with your employer. If you are a nonresident alien under those rules, you must furnish to your employer Form 8233 or Form W-8BEN, establishing that you are a foreign person, or Form W-4, establishing that your compensation is subject to graduated withholding at the same rates as resident aliens or U.S. citizens.
If you are a resident alien and you receive income other than wages (such as dividends and royalties) from sources within the United States, file Form W-9 or similar statement with the withholding agent (generally, the payer of the income) so the agent will not withhold tax on the income at the 30% (or lower treaty) rate. If you receive this type of income as a nonresident alien, file Form W-8BEN with the withholding agent so that the agent will withhold tax at the 30% (or lower treaty) rate. However, if the income is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business, file Form W-8ECI instead.