What Is the Meaning of an 1120-F Form?

by Barbara Gulin; Updated September 26, 2017
Foreign corporations that have U.S.-based income may have to file tax returns with the IRS.

Foreign corporations that generate income or claim tax deductions or credits in the United States must file Form 1120-F with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Foreign corporations have different filing deadlines, based on the tax year of the country in which they are based. Mexican and Canadian branches of U.S. mutual life insurance companies are also required to file Form 1120-F.

Purpose of Return

Form 1120-F is used for foreign corporations to report income, gains, losses, deductions and credits against any tax liability in the United States. If a foreign corporation overpaid taxes during the tax year, Form 1120-F is used to request a refund.

Filing Deadline

Filing deadlines for Form 1120-F vary according to various criteria. A foreign corporation with an office or place of business in the United States is required to file by the 15th day of the third month after the end of its tax year. Foreign corporations that do not have an office or place of business in the United States have until the 15th day of the sixth month after the end of their tax year. In either circumstance, a six-month extension request can be filed prior to the due date if a corporation requires additional time to file the tax return.

Protective Return

A protective return is filed in years that a foreign corporation does not generate gross income in the United States. The protective return ensures that the foreign corporation ensures its right to claim deductions and credits in the event that it discovers that income was generated. Foreign corporations filing a protective return indicate this intention by marking the "Protective Return" box on the tax form.

Other Required Forms

According the the IRS instructions for Form 1120-F, other forms that should accompany Form 1120-F include Schedule O, Form 4626, Form 8302, Form 413, and Form 8941. Any additional schedules should be submitted in alphabetical order. Additional forms are included in numerical order.

About the Author

Barbara Gulin has been a freelance writer and editor since 2008. She has helped write curriculum for Asian elementary students to learn Engish and has written extensive content for Themomsresource.com. Gulin studied electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She is also a licensed life and health insurance agent.

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