I receive an offer from a company in the US to work as an independent contractor. I'm not a US citizen nor a US resident, I will be working online as a contractor from outside the US. Will I have to pay US tax or more precisely will my employer withhold tax from my pay? I have made some research and found out that employer must without 30% tax from an independent contractor, but I cannot determine in which situation, ie if I'm outside of the USA and not a US citizen/resident.

  • 4
    It's important to note that if you are a contractor / vendor, the company is not your EMPLOYER, it's your CLIENT. An employer-employee relationship implies certain legal privileges that you won't have, and certain legal responsibilities that the company won't have. Very different.
    – Xavier J
    Jan 11, 2022 at 20:35
  • The amount of withholding, if you were responsible for it, would entirely depend on which tax bracket you were in. Sounds like you need to hire somebody familiar with tax law when it comes to individuals in similar situations.
    – Donald
    Jan 11, 2022 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


From the IRS article on tax for persons employed abroad:

As a general rule, wages earned by nonresident aliens for services performed outside of the United States for any employer are foreign source income and therefore are not subject to reporting and withholding of U.S. federal income tax.

I suspect the 30% comes from an article about backup withholding - that most likely would not apply to you, and you'd know if it did.

  • They "client" in that case asked me to fill a W-8 form, does it make sense? Jan 11, 2022 at 20:39
  • 2
    @Dr4ketheb4dass That implies they think you are subject to withholding (that's what that form is for). It may be that your work is considered "in the US" even if you're personally offshore - you may want to clarify your question exactly what you're doing and exactly what your status is (there's a difference between an employee and a contractor, but it's not always used in a consistent way). You also might get a more complete answer at Personal Finance & Money, where tax questions like this are very common.
    – Joe
    Jan 11, 2022 at 21:09
  • Looked into it a bit more; it's apparently common to have the W8-BEN filled out even when not doing withholding (as evidence you don't need it, mostly). So that may not be a concern.
    – Joe
    Jan 11, 2022 at 21:13
  • If you are subject to withholding then I would expect that you should be able to file an annual tax return to claim at least a partial refund.
    – brhans
    Jan 12, 2022 at 0:15

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