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Effectively Connected Income

Frequently Asked Questions

About Effectively Connected Income (ECI)

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What is effectively connected income? Generally speaking, if a foreign person or business entity engages in a trade or business in the United States, all income from sources within the United States “connected with the conduct of that trade or business” is considered as “Effectively Connected Income” (ECI) regardless of whether there is any connection between the income and the trade or business being carried on in the United States, during the tax year or not. Needlessly to say, ECI is subject to U.S. tax.

Typically, to treat income received in that taxable year as ECI, you have to be engaged in a trade or business during that year. You are usually perceived as engaged in a U.S. trade or business when you perform personal services in the United States. The nature of your activities can be essential when determining whether you are engaged in a trade or business in the United States.

There are two tests used to determine if income is effectively connected with the taxpayer’s U.S. business are: (1) the “asset use” test and (2) the “business activities” test.
The “asset use” test asks the question of whether the received income was derived from assets used in, or held for use in, the taxpayer’s U.S. business. The asset-use test is often applied and of great significance, in cases, for example, where a foreign company is in the business of manufacturing or selling goods in the U.S. Ordinarily, an asset shall be treated as used in or held for use in the conduct of a trade or business in the United States if the asset is:

  1. “Held for the principal purpose of promoting the present conduct of the trade of business in the United States; or”
  2. “Acquired and held in the ordinary course of the trade or business conducted in the United States,”
  3. “Otherwise held in a direct relationship to the trade or business conducted in the United States”
Tax Treatment for ECI

The “business activities” test is less frequently used. It asks the question of whether the taxpayer’s U.S. business activities were a material factor in obtaining the income. The business activities test is beneficial when the business would otherwise be considered passive income, such as rents, royalties, and dividends.

ECIs are taxed at the ordinary rates that apply to U.S. citizens and resident aliens. Deductions are allowed. As a nonresident alien, if you are engaged in a trade or business in the U.S., you may also need to file 1040NR. Contact us today if you have a specific issue and would like to speak to a professional.

THEVOZ & Partners specializes in the area of Tax Law

This area of law is particularly complex and requires a high level of training. For this reason, our attorneys train continuously and hold a significant amount of experience in the field of tax law. THEVOZ & Partners is a law firm with offices in Austin and Lausanne specializing in the provision of tax and legal services to individuals and companies in the United States and Europe. We help clients navigate a litany of domestic and international tax issues ranging from compliance to planning and even litigation. We understand that each client has unique needs and goals, and we pride ourselves on taking a personalized approach to tailor our services to meet those needs.