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Joint Accounts, ITINs, and Interest Reporting

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Question: 
We have a joint account for two individuals; one is a nonresident alien with an ITIN, the other one is a US citizen with a SSN who is an 'in case of emergency' signer. Is the interest reported on a 1042S using ITIN of primary owner or does the interest HAVE to be reported on a 1099 using the SSN of the emergencyonly signer?
Answer: 

I'm not familiar with the term "in case of emergency signer" (and am a little bit leery of the idea that the concept is that they can only sign in an emergency. What is an "emergency?"). However, I assume it has the same meaning as "agent," "convenience signer" or "authorized signer." In short, the emergency signer has no ownership interest in the account.

If that is the case, the account should be set up as if it belongs solely to the alien. It can be documented with the alien's identification and a W8BEN. Thus, it is generally exempt from information reporting. Reporting on a 1042S is only required if the alien is a Canadian citizen.

First published on BankersOnline.com 10/20/03

First published on 10/20/2003

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