Federal Tax

U.S. Income Taxation of Foreign Corporations (Portfolio 908)

  • This Bloomberg Tax Portfolio describes the Internal Revenue Code provisions applicable to foreign corporations.


The United States asserts jurisdiction to tax foreign corporations only if they are engaged in business in the United States or receive income from sources within the United States. Foreign corporations that are engaged in a trade or business in the United States are subject to net-basis income tax under §882 on any of their income that is “effectively connected” with that business. Such corporations also may be subject to the branch taxation regime of §884, which is described in 6480 T.M., The Branch-Related Taxes of Section 884.

In addition, all foreign corporations, whether or not engaged in a business in the United States, are subject to gross-basis tax under §881 on certain types of U.S.-source income—primarily investment income, such as interest and dividends—that are not “effectively connected” with a U.S. business.

Table of Contents

I. Overview
II. Foreign Corporations
III. Taxation of Effectively Connected Income – Section 882
IV. Taxation of Income Not Effectively Connected with a U.S. Trade or Business: Section 881
V. Treaties
VI. Return Requirements for Foreign Corporations

Jessica Katz
Jessica Katz
Georgetown University
Charles Plambeck
Charles Plambeck
Managing Director
Diane Ring
Boston College Law School