|Purpose:||All payments to aliens (hereinafter referred to as foreign visitors) must comply with regulations established by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This policy is intended to assist departments in meeting the requirements imposed by this agency for the situations that most frequently arise at the University of Arizona.
NOTE: The University will not make any payment (including expense reimbursement) to a foreign visitor unless specifically allowed by this policy.
|Objective:||This policy has three objectives:
|Application:||This policy applies to individuals classified by the USCIS as other than U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents (green card holders). It applies only to those individuals eligible for payment by Disbursement Voucher. The individuals eligible for payment by Disbursement Voucher are specifically identified in this policy; if a payment is not specifically identified in this policy, it will not be allowed through the Disbursement Voucher process.
While the Policy does not provide details about how to request payment through the University's Employment Process, it does identify circumstances in which foreign visitors will be treated as employees and paid through the University's payroll system. When circumstances identified in this policy require the department to use the Employment Process, refer to the Human Resources Recruitment and Hiring Process.
This policy does not describe procedures for payment to students through the financial aid office.
|Questions:||It is critical to determine if the visa classification and other circumstances related to the foreign visitor allow for payment of any kind. If they do not, no payment will be allowed. If the foreign visitor's visa classification and other circumstances allow for payment, the method of any payment to a foreign visitor (Disbursement Voucher or Employment Process) must be determined before he/she performs any service. If you are not certain about whether a particular visa classification or set of circumstances allows for payment or you are uncertain as to the proper method of requesting payment (Disbursement Voucher or Employment Process), contact the Tax Compliance Section for assistance prior to the performance of service by the foreign visitor.
NOTE: Individuals cannot pay foreign visitors with personal funds and then request reimbursement from the University. The University will not reimburse anyone who pays a foreign visitor with his/her own funds. All requests for payments to foreign visitors must be submitted in accordance with this policy and paid directly by the University to the foreign visitor or an appropriate third party vendor.
|Policy Owner:||Tax Compliance|
General Policy Guidelines
- Determining the method of the payment (Disbursement Voucher or Employment Process): Before applying this policy, it is critical to determine the method of the payment being made to the foreign visitor. Under most circumstances (where payment is allowed), foreign visitors who provide a service for a fee will be paid as employees. Unless a department has identified a foreign visitor who meets the criteria specified in the University Policy for Noncompetitive Selection, the department is required to conduct an employment search which adheres to the University's Recruitment Policy. Refer to the "Method of Payment" section under the Summary of Payments Allowed and Disallowed Under Various Visa Classifications within this Policy to determine when the Disbursement Voucher or Employment Process should be used. The appropriate "method of payment" depends upon the:
- Documentation required for foreign visitor payments allowed through the Disbursement Voucher process - obtain prior to foreign visitor's departure: With the exception of certain visa waiver countries such as Canada and Mexico, all payments to foreign visitors require a copy of USCIS form I-94 (front and back). It is critical that a copy of the I-94 be obtained prior to the foreign visitor's departure from the U.S. When the foreign visitor leaves the U.S. he/she must surrender the I-94 form to the USCIS and it cannot be obtained after that point. Several other documents are required depending upon:
- The foreign visitor's visa classification,
- The purpose for the payment (service or non-service),
- Whether there is a request for exemption from tax withholding,
- Who sponsored the foreign visitor (The University of Arizona or another school),
- Whether there is a fee involved or a reimbursement of expense only.
- Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers - required in most instances:
- If the foreign visitor will be paid a fee for services (regardless of the "method of payment"), the foreign visitor must, in most circumstances, have a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) prior to payment.
- If the foreign visitor is eligible for, but does not have a Social Security Number when he/she arrives, the department should assist the visitor in obtaining one (immediately upon arrival) through the Social Security Administration office. In most cases, Social Security Numbers cannot be obtained in the foreign visitor's home country.
A foreign visitor is eligible for a social security number if he/she is authorized to work in the US based on his/her immigration status. However, practically the Social Security Administration may not issue a social security number to a foreign visitor whose immigration status and/or work authorization will expire within 30 days of arrival to the United States. For more information about a foreign visitor's eligibility for a social security number, please consult the Office of International Faculty and Scholars, http://internationalscholars.arizona.edu . For more information about how to obtain a Social Security Number, visit the Social Security Administration website.
- If the foreign visitor is not eligible to obtain a SSN, he/she can obtain an ITIN at an IRS office or at certain U.S. consular offices abroad. The foreign visitor can contact the IRS or U.S. consular office for his/her area to find out if that office accepts applications for ITINs (Form W-7). Applications for an ITIN will also be accepted by the IRS through the mail. (See Form W-7 for instructions.) If a foreign visitor receives compensation for services performed, will be working for thirty days or less, and has neither a SSN or an ITIN, payment can still be made. However, the individual will not be eligible for treaty benefits and the University must withhold federal income tax at a rate of 30%.
NOTE: Most foreign visitors who will be reimbursed for expenses only are not required to obtain an SSN or ITIN. However, payments of any kind made to scholarship recipients who have neither an SSN nor ITIN will be subject to withholding. See Summary of Payments Allowed and Disallowed Under Various Visa Classifications for specific SSN and ITIN requirements.
- Taxes: In general, payments to nonresident foreign visitors will have tax withheld as follows:
- Scholarship payments (including any amount designated as a school related expense reimbursement) are subject to 14% tax withholding for foreign visitors under F, J, M or Q status; 30% tax withholding for foreign visitors under all other status
- Fees for service paid through the Disbursement Voucher process are subject to 30% tax withholding
- Expense reimbursements (except in the case of scholarships) are not subject to tax withholding
- Scholarship payments derived from a foreign source are not subject tax withholding
- Payments to nonresident aliens performing services outside the taxing jurisdiction of the United States are not subject to tax withholding
- Fees paid through the Employment Process have tax withholding issues unique to the employee.
- Sprintax Calculus: Sprintax Calculus is an online tax compliance software that is used to make tax residency determination and income tax treaty determination. Payment will not be made before the Sprintax Calculus record for the foreign visitor/entity is completed.
Exception : A Sprintax Calculus record is not required if the foreign visitor only receives substantiated expense reimbursements (or business expenses paid to a third party vendor) related to services provided by the foreign visitor.
The University of Arizona department contacts Accounts Payable and provides the email address of the foreign visitor. If Accounts Payable determines that the foreign visitor is required to complete the Sprintax Calculus record, the specialist will email Sprintax Calculus login information to the foreign visitor when that person is present in the United States for the visit for which the department will be making a payment. Foreign visitors will complete his/her Individual Record in Sprintax Calculus and digitally submit all documentation within the software. Any foreign documentation required under visa classification requirements of this policy will be submitted to the University of Arizona department digitally with a Disbursement Voucher to Accounts Payable to initiate payment.
If the foreign visitor does not have an email address, the University of Arizona department will require the foreign visitor to fill out an International Tax Questionnaire and submit to Accounts Payable, along with the foreign documentation required under visa classification requirements of the policy to be submitted to Accounts Payable on a Disbursement Voucher to initiate payment. Accounts Payable will fill out the Sprintax Calculus record and prepare reports and tax forms for the foreign visitor’s signature.
- Tax withholding reduction due to tax treaty: Several countries have treaties with the United States that allow for a reduction in, or exemption from, income tax withholding.
Based on the individual record provided by the foreign visitor in Sprintax Calculus, it may be determined that he/she is eligible for treaty benefit. Sprintax Calculus will be used to prepare the IRS Form 8233 (for payment of fee for service) or W-8BEN (for payment of scholarships, royalties, etc) to apply for treaty benefit, along with other applicable Sprintax Calculus reports and forms for the foreign visitor’s signature and submission.
In order for any treaty benefit to be allowed by the University, all claims for treaty benefits must include a U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN or ITIN).
All of these forms must be completed at least 14 days prior to the date a check is to be issued in order for the foreign visitor to obtain a treaty benefit (with respect to that particular payment), as there is a 10 day waiting period after Accounts Payable has sent the 8233 to the IRS before the foreign visitor can be paid without tax withholding.
NOTE: Treaties do not offer an exemption from FICA (also known as social security) tax. Nonetheless, many (not all) foreign visitors who hold a J-1 or F-1 visa will be exempted from FICA for other (non-treaty) reasons. The department should inform the foreign visitor of the potential income tax and/or FICA tax that may be deducted from any payment promised by the department to the foreign visitor.
- No tax withholding required for Resident Aliens: Based on the individual record information provided by the foreign visitor in Sprintax Calculus, it may be determined that he/she is Resident Alien, and the payment is not subject to the tax withholding rules that apply to Nonresident Aliens. The Sprintax Calculus record must be completed at least one day prior to the date a check is to be issued. NOTE: Resident Aliens receiving a reportable payment are required to provide a U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number (a SSN or ITIN). Otherwise, backup withholding at the current tax rate will be imposed by Accounts Payable.
- Foreign source: Scholarship recipients will be exempt from tax withholding on scholarship money that is derived from a foreign source (when the payor is located outside the U.S., or the academic activities are conducted outside the U.S.). If the foreign visitor believes that his/her scholarship funds are derived from a foreign source, appropriate documentation supporting this position, along with the foreign documentation required under visa classification requirement of this policy, must be submitted to Accounts Payable to initiate the payment.
- Individuals who perform services outside the United States: Submit a Substantial Presence Test form to the Accounts Payable Office to determine if the foreign visitor meets the criteria of a nonresident alien or resident alien. NOTE: Individuals who are either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents (green card holders) never qualify as nonresident aliens.
Individuals who meet the tax definition of a "nonresident alien" and perform all services outside of the taxing jurisdiction of the United States are not subject to U.S. tax withholding or immigration law. To request payment for one of these individuals, submit a copy of the Substantial Presence Test form along with a Disbursement Voucher stating:
" [NAME OF PAYEE] IS A NONRESIDENT ALIEN WHO PERFORMED ALL SERVICES OUTSIDE THE U.S. TAXING JURISDICTION."
If the individuals meet the criteria as resident aliens, generally no tax withholding is required if the individuals have a US Tax Identification Number (SSN or ITIN).
- Original receipts required: To be considered an expense reimbursement, original receipts must be attached to the Disbursement Voucher. Failure to attach original receipts will result in the request for payment to be considered a fee for service and the foreign visitor must complete the Sprintax Calculus record before the payment can be made.
Fees for service have special consequences as indicated throughout this policy and may require:
- a particular visa classification,
- payment through the Employment Process, and/or
- income tax withholding.
- Per Diems: Foreign visitors will be allowed to receive a per diem for meals and incidental expenses as allowed by the Travel Policy. Original receipts are not required for the per diem amount. The per diem amount will be allowed as an expense reimbursement in addition to other reimbursable travel costs (such as airfare and lodging that require original receipts). The foreign visitor cannot receive reimbursement of expense for both a per diem and the actual cost of meals/incidentals.
- Any payment to a third party vendor (for example, airline, hotel, conference vendor) on the foreign visitor's behalf is considered a payment to the foreign visitor directly: Payment of an expense on behalf of a foreign visitor (for example directly to the airline for the foreign visitor's ticket) is no different than reimbursing the foreign visitor directly.
- Payment to third party vendor before arrival of foreign visitor: At times it might be necessary to pay an airline ticket or conference fee on behalf of a foreign visitor prior to the time such foreign visitor enters the United States. When this is necessary, the department should complete a Requisition containing the following statement: "This Purchase Order is for a payment on behalf of [name of foreign visitor] who is a nonresident alien from [name of country]."
Call Accounts Payable and provide the following information:
- Requisition number,
- visa type under which the foreign visitor intends to enter the U.S.,
- name of country that will issue the visa to the foreign visitor,
- the length of time the foreign visitor plans to stay at the University of Arizona and
- the purpose for the foreign visitor's visit.
- Already made third party vendor payment but foreign visitor did not obtain a visa that allows for expense reimbursement: Third party payments (for example, to the airline for the foreign visitor's airline tickets) are often made prior to the foreign visitor's arrival in the United States. Sometimes the foreign visitor will arrive in the United States with a visa classification that does not allow for expense reimbursement. The University cannot legally pay a third party on behalf of a foreign visitor unless that visitor has entered the United States with a visa classification that allows for expense reimbursement.
- Interviewing Expense: Nonresident aliens who enter the United States for purposes of job interviewing only (they are not performing any services), may be reimbursed for expenses. To obtain a reimbursement of interviewing expenses, attach the following to the Disbursement Voucher:
- Original receipts
- Proof of the interviewing purpose of the visit, such as a copy of the official job posting. If no job posting is available, a job position announcement, letter of application, list of applicants, list of people doing the interviewing, agenda, and/or letter of invitation should be attached, as applicable. If adequate information about the interviewing process is not provided, a reimbursement payment may not be allowable, depending on the interviewee's visa classification. If a non-interview reimbursement payment is allowable, copies of all necessary USCIS documentation (including, but not limited to, passport, visa, and I-94) to support the reimbursement payment for the appropriate visa classification will be required.
- Include the following statement on the Disbursement Voucher: "[PAYEE'S NAME] IS BEING REIMBURSED FOR EXPENSES ASSOCIATED WITH INTERVIEWING ONLY AND DID NOT PERFORM ANY SERVICES FOR THE UNIVERSITY."
- Travel expenses reimbursed to, or paid on behalf of an F-1 or J-1 students to attend academic conferences or workshops
Departments may send F-1 or J-1 students sponsored by the University of Arizona, or invite F-1 or J-1 students sponsored by the other educational institutions, to attend academic conferences or workshops. Departments may reimburse the travel expenses (such as airfare, lodging, meals, and local transportation) to the students, or pay to the third party vendor for these students.
Depending on the purpose of the event and the student’s involvement associated with the travel, these payments may be either business expenses if properly substantiated, or scholarships.
- If the student’s participation in the event primarily benefits the University of Arizona, the payment does not constitute income to the students. Examples include: submittal and/or presentation of a research paper, participation in round table discussions, or sharing knowledge or technology by other means.
- If the student’s participation primarily benefits the student (e.g. the student attends the conference to learn/be trained for his/her own study or research), the payment/reimbursement of expenses is treated as scholarship payment to the student. It is the Department’s responsibility to withhold/collect applicable taxes for payments made to the third party vendor (or through Distribution of Income and Expense) for the nonresident aliens.
- Royalties: Payments of royalties to nonresident aliens are subject to income tax withholding at the rate of 30%, or lower rate under an income tax treaty, if applicable. Sprintax Calculus record must be completed to determine the foreign visitor’s tax residency status and whether treaty benefits are available. If determined treaty eligible, Sprintax Calculus will provide an IRS Form W-8BEN for the foreign visitor to digitally sign. The foreign visitors must have an U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN or ITIN) in order to have the Form W-8BEN valid for the treaty benefits.
- Canadians: Canadian nationals are allowed to enter the United States without a visa. However, Canadian nationals might need a visa to be paid a fee for service or to receive an expense reimbursement from the University of Arizona.
The most common visa classifications for Canadians who visit the University include TN, J-1, and B-1/B-2. To be paid a fee for service, the Canadian must obtain a visa classification that allows for fee payment such as TN or J-1. Other visa classifications such as B-1 and B-2 may allow for payment of a fee for service and/or an expense reimbursement under limited circumstances. Refer to Summary of Payments Allowed and Disallowed Under Various Visa Classifications .
If the Canadian visitor does not obtain a visa or I-94, he/she will be considered to have entered the United States under the B-1 visa classification. Under this circumstance, follow the rules for B-1 status provided by the Summary of Payments Allowed and Disallowed Under Various Visa Classifications . Otherwise follow the rules for the particular visa classification presented by the Canadian (for example, TN, J-1).
- Border Crossing Cards: Mexican nationals may use Border Crossing Cards to enter the U.S. from within the Western Hemisphere. The Border Crossing Card is known as a "laser visa", which is also a B1/B2 visitor's visa. Therefore, the same rules that apply to a visitor's visa also apply to Border Crossing Cards. No productive employment is permitted after entry on a Border Crossing Card.
- Visa Waiver Program: The Visa Waiver Pilot Program became permanent in October, 2000, and is now called the Visa Waiver Program.Foreign visitors are no longer admitted in "paroled" status. A foreign visitor who enters under the Visa Waiver Program receives either a WB or WT stamp in his/her passport and does not possess a separate visa document. See the summary chart for allowable payments to visitors in WB or WT status.
- Employment Authorization Card (EAC) or Employment Authorization Document (EAD): If the foreign visitor provides a copy of valid, unrestricted EAC or EAD (front and back), copy of the foreign visitor’s passport, visa or I-94 are not required for expense reimbursement and/or payment of service fee. Social Security Number is not required for expense reimbursement only.
If the EAD/EAC holder is an F-1 student under Optional Practical Training, the student may only be allowed to work in the field of study related to the degree completed and in the job appropriate to the level of education. A copy of the F-1 student’s I-20 along with the EAD/EAC is required to make that determination.
If the EAC or EAD holder is receiving a fee for services a Social Security Number is required. He/she is required to complete Sprintax Calculus record, and submit appropriate Sprintax Calculus reports and tax forms, along with required foreign documents indicated by Sprintax Calculus, such as copy of passport, visa and I-94, to Accounts Payable.
- Payments to Foreign Artists and U.S. Agent of the Foreign Artists Payments made to foreign artists are generally subject to 30% tax withholding unless an exemption exists. Payments made to a U.S. agent of the foreign artists are treated as made to the foreign artists directly and subject to the same tax withholding rules.
Payments to foreign artists (or U.S. agent of foreign artists) are contingent upon the University of Arizona’s receipt of copies of documents of the foreign individuals:
- visa stamp (generally O-1, P-1, P2 or P3 visa for artists)
- I-94 (front and back)
- I-797 (Approval Notice of visa petition)
- SSN card
- a statement from the visa petitioner stating that the University of Arizona was listed in the visa application, or a copy of the performance contract with the University of Arizona was attached to the visa application, and
- International Tax Questionnaire (ITQ)
The foreign artists and their U.S. agent may enter into a formal Central Withholding Agreement (CWA) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The University will honor the CWA and withhold at the reduced tax rate specified in the CWA. A copy of the CWA (or a CWA letter signed by the IRS agent) must be provided to Accounts Payable along with the request of the payment.
(1) If the CWA specifies that the U.S. agent is the sole withholding agent of the payments for the services provided by the foreign entertainers, the University of Arizona will not withhold taxes from the payment, if the U.S. agent provides a W-9 with its Taxpayer Identification Number. In such case, ITQ from the individual artists is not required.
(2) If the group of the foreign artists is an entity legally organized under the law of a foreign country, and the foreign artists are salaried employee of the foreign entity who do not share profit or loss of the payment, then foreign documents or ITQ from the individual artists are not required.
(3) If the foreign artists are salaried employees of a U.S. entity who do not share profit or loss of the payment, the payment will be treated as made to a U.S. entity. Foreign documents or ITQ from the foreign artists are not required.
Note: A business entity with a single owner and is not a corporation is disregarded as an entity separate from its owner.
- Payments to Foreign Organizations, Corporations and Governments: Most payments of U.S. sourced income to entities* that are based in a foreign country are subject to 30% income tax withholding. If the foreign entity has a permanent base of operations in the United States, payment to the foreign entity will be taxed at the same rates that apply to U.S. taxpayers, unless the entity is exempt from taxation.
To claim an exemption from tax withholding or a treaty benefit, the foreign entity must fill out one of the following forms. A U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number must be provided in order to make any of these forms valid.
- W-8BEN: Used by foreign entities (companies, foreign tax-exempt organization, foreign governments, or international organizations) to claim treaty benefits
- W-8ECI: Used by foreign entities that (1) have a permanent base of operation in the U.S. (2) receive income that is effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States (e.g. income from commercial activities).
- W-8EXP: Used by foreign governments or foreign tax-exempt organizations. The foreign tax-exempt organization must also provide (1) a copy of its determination letter from the IRS providing it has tax-exempt status under section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; or (2) an affidavit from an attorney in the Unities States stating that such foreign entity would indeed qualify as a U.S. tax-exempt entity under Section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code if it applied for such status.
- Any Payment: Includes all forms of payment. It includes payments for services, expense reimbursements, payments to a vendor on behalf of a foreign visitor, and any other payment made to or on behalf of a foreign visitor.
- Documentation: Any item that might be required of an individual to prove eligibility for a payment or reduction in tax associated with that payment. Foreign visitors requesting resident alien status (for example) must submit documents that prove the length of time they were present in the United States under a particular visa classification. For this purpose, documents might include but are not limited to form DS-2019, I-20, pay stubs from previous employers, and/or old rent receipts.
- Employment Process: The normal process used by the University of Arizona to hire an individual as an employee.
- DS-2019: Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status is issued by the sponsor of an exchange program. .
- ETA 750, Part A: Application for Alien Employment Certification is used for temporary labor certification. This form can be obtained from the US Department of Labor.
- Fee for Service: Includes fees paid to a foreign visitor in exchange for services. These fees may be called "honoraria," "stipend," "participant support," "subject pay," or any number of other possible terms. If it is a fee paid in exchange for a service, it is considered a "fee for service" as that term is used in this policy. A reimbursement of expense is not a "fee for service."
- Sprintax Calculus: an online tax compliance software that is used to make tax residency determination and income tax treaty determination.
- I-129N: Petition to Classify Nonimmigrant as Temporary Worker or Trainee is necessary for holders of H-1, H-2, H-3, or L-1 visas.
- I-20A-B: Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status - necessary for academic and language students who wish to study in the United States.
- I-797A: Notice of Approval used by the USCIS to notify an employer that an employee's or prospective employee's application has been approved. The I-797A is sent to the consulate office the alien designated on the I-129N, however, issuance of the visa is dependent on the State Department.
- I-94: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Arrival/Departure Record is provided to every alien when he/she enters the country. This form indicates the period of time the alien can stay in the United States and the alien's visa type. A copy of this form must be obtained prior to the foreign visitor's departure from the United States.
- IRCA: The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
- International Tax Questionnaire (ITQ): The ITQ is filled out if a foreign visitor wants to request treaty benefits. The information on the form is used to fill out the 8233 form.
- Letter from RO: This is a letter from (and signed by) the Responsible Officer from the University that sponsored the J-1 foreign visitor. The Responsible Officer's name is indicated on the foreign visitor's DS-2019. The letter should state something like: "It is within the normal scope of professional business for Professor [foreign visitor] to [do the work he is doing] at the University of Arizona. Professor [foreign visitor] has the permission of [sponsoring university] to perform the [work he is doing] at the University of Arizona."
- Limited Exception to original receipt requirement: If the foreign visitor requires the original airline ticket for continued travel, take the original ticket to Accounts Payable and have them stamp and date the passenger receipt. Make a copy of the stamped ticket to send in with the request for reimbursement. Do not send original airline tickets to Accounts Payable through campus mail.
- Permanent Resident: An immigration classification allowing for extended residence in the United States. It is commonly referred to as a "green card."
- Reimbursement: Repayment for expenses incurred in the course of providing service for the University. Any reimbursements must comply with other State and University policies.
- Resident Alien: An IRS classification for the purpose of determining tax obligations. It is not an immigration classification or a visa type.
- "Royalty" (sometimes called "permission fee"): Commonly refers to a payment made to the owner of property for permitting another to use that property; royalties often are connected with a specific, temporary or one-time right to use intangible property. Royalties include (but are not limited to) payments for the production or reproduction of literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic works, as well as payments for the use of inventions, patents, copyrighted material, etc.
- Scholarship: Payments made for the purpose of study with no expectation that the scholarship recipient will provide a service in exchange for the payment. For additional information on Scholarship payments, refer to 13.01, Intro to Methods of Student Payments.
- Type of Payment: Types of payments include but are not limited to: fees for services, reimbursements of expenses to individuals who provide fees for services, and non-service scholarship/fellowship payments.
- USCIS: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is the agency tasked with administering laws relating to aliens. This agency is part of the United States Department of Homeland Security.
- Visa Classification: The visa under which the foreign visitor enters the United States. Visa Classifications include but are not limited to B-1, B-2, J-1, F-1, H1-B. For payments to visa types not addressed in this policy, please consult Tax Compliance.