How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask RD Your Own Question
RD , Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 8784
Experience:  CPA, MBA, Over 10 yrs of experience in tax planning and business consulting..
Type Your Tax Question Here...
RD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Who is liable for the withholding tax if you work in Puerto Rico

Resolved Question:

I'm an independent 1099 Contractor from the US. I worked 8 months in Puerto Rico and never had any money withheld. Now, the company I'm working for (as a 1099 contractor) just learned that they should have been withholding 20% of my pay. Who is liable to pay that 20%? Me or the company that should have withheld it?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  RD replied 9 years ago.

Normally the federal tax withholding will come out of your pay and it should be withheld by the company making the payment to you.

Are you a US resident or citizen and resident of CA?



Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I'm a US resident who lives in California. But I work in Puerto Rico as a 1099 Contractor for a consulting firm (head quarters in Connecticut) at a clients site in Puerto Rico.
Expert:  RD replied 9 years ago.
So you are paid by the Connecticut firm and not from the Puerto Rico client. Is this correct?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Yes, that is correct.
Expert:  RD replied 9 years ago.

If you are paid Form 1099 and the income is Puerto Rico source and you have provided a valid Social Security number than the company(Connecticut Co) is not required to withhold taxes. Did they provide you any backup as to the requirement to withhold taxes?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
No they haven't. And that is what is so frustrating. They say they must now withhold pay but can't say exactly why they think that. Nor are they willing to put anything in writing about this topic. I think they have not thoroughly researched everything and may be acting prematurely by telling us they are going to start withholding pay.

Thank you very much, I really appreciate your input. It is helpful.
Expert:  RD replied 9 years ago.

I do not think that you should be subject to tax withholding unless anything discussed below applies. You, as an independent contractor, are required to estimate your tax liability and make quarterly installment payment of the estimated tax liability.

Here is a link on backup withholding from IRS on Form 1099.


Below is the extract from the same website link provided above-

Withholding rules. When you open a new account, make an investment, or begin to receive payments reported on Form 1099, the bank or other business will give you Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, or a similar form. You must show your TIN on the form and, if your account or investment will earn interest or dividends, you also must certify (under penalties of perjury) that your TIN is correct and that you are not subject to backup withholding.


The payer must withhold at a flat 28% rate in the following situations.

  • You do not give the payer your TIN in the required manner.

  • The IRS notifies the payer that the TIN you gave is incorrect.

  • You are required, but fail, to certify that you are not subject to backup withholding.

  • The IRS notifies the payer to start withholding on interest or dividends because you have underreported interest or dividends on your income tax return. The IRS will do this only after it has mailed you four notices over at least a 210-day period.


Taxpayer identification number. Your TIN is one of the following three numbers.

  • Your social security number (SSN).

  • Your employer identification number.

  • An IRS individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). Aliens who do not have an SSN and are not eligible to get one should get an ITIN. Use Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, to apply for an ITIN.


An ITIN is for tax use only. It does not entitle you to social security benefits or change your employment or immigration status under U.S. law. For more information on ITINs, get Publication 1915, Understanding Your IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.


How to prevent or stop backup withholding. If you have been notified by a payer that the TIN you gave is incorrect, you can usually prevent backup withholding from starting or stop backup withholding once it has begun by giving the payer your correct name and TIN. You must certify that the TIN you give is correct.


Let me know if you have any questions.

RD, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 8784
Experience: CPA, MBA, Over 10 yrs of experience in tax planning and business consulting..
RD and other Tax Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • I really was impressed with the prompt response. Your expert was not only a tax expert, but a people expert!!! Her genuine and caring attitude came across in her response... T.G.W Matteson, IL
< Previous | Next >
  • I really was impressed with the prompt response. Your expert was not only a tax expert, but a people expert!!! Her genuine and caring attitude came across in her response... T.G.W Matteson, IL
  • I WON!!! I just wanted you to know that your original answer gave me the courage and confidence to go into yesterday's audit ready to fight. Bonnie Chesnee, SC
  • Great service. Answered my complex tax question in detail and provided a lot of additional useful information for my specific situation. John Minneapolis, MN
  • Excellent information, very quick reply. The experts really take the time to address your questions, it is well worth the fee, for the peace of mind they can provide you with. Orville Hesperia, California
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA

Meet The Experts:

  • Wallstreet Esq.

    Wallstreet Esq.

    Tax Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    10 years experience
< Last | Next >
  • Wallstreet Esq.'s Avatar

    Wallstreet Esq.

    Tax Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    10 years experience
  • Mark D's Avatar

    Mark D

    Enrolled Agent

    Satisfied Customers:

    MBA, EA, Specializing in Business and Individual Tax Returns and Issues
  • Richard's Avatar


    Tax Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    29 years of experience as a tax, real estate, and business attorney.
  • Robin D.'s Avatar

    Robin D.

    Senior Tax Advisor 4

    Satisfied Customers:

    15years with H & R Block. Divisional leader, Instructor
  • Megan C's Avatar

    Megan C

    Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

    Satisfied Customers:

    Licensed CPA, CFE, CMA, CGMA who teaches accounting courses at Master's Level
  • jgordosea's Avatar


    Enrolled Agent

    Satisfied Customers:

    I've prepared all types of taxes since 1987.
  • R. Klein, EA's Avatar

    R. Klein, EA

    Enrolled Agent

    Satisfied Customers:

    Over 20 Years experience

Related Tax Questions