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Tax Office|Division of Administration

Non-Resident Taxation FAQ’s:

1.   Who are non-resident taxpayers?

Non-resident taxpayers are foreign nationals that are temporarily in the United States.  The most common non-residents that we have on campus are F-1 students, J-1 and H1-B researchers & teachers and B-1 business visitors.

2.  Do non-resident taxpayers have to pay FICA taxes?

F-1 students are exempt from FICA taxes for the first 5 calendar years that they are in the United States.  J-1 researchers are exempt for the first 2 calendar years that they are in the United States.  Non-residents in H-1B status are not exempt from FICA taxes.

3.  How should a non-resident taxpayer fill out Form W-4?

Non-residents need to fill out Form W-4 claiming a status of single (regardless of their actual marital status), 1 exemption on line 5 and the letters NRA on line 6.  A non-resident should never claim EXEMPT on their W-4.  These instructions can be found in IRS Publication 15.

4.  Do non-resident taxpayers need a social security number?        

If a non-resident is employed and will be receiving wages, they are eligible for and should apply for a social security number (SSN).  The social security office generally comes to campus 1 day each semester to take applications for SSN’s.  If your non-resident cannot take advantage of this local opportunity for application, they will need to go to the office in Cheyenne to apply for their SSN.

5.  What taxes are exempt under a tax treaty?

Only federal income taxes are exempt under tax treaties.

6.  My tax return wants a taxpayer ID number, but I’m not eligible for a social security number.  What do I do?

If you have non-wage income (scholarships/fellowships) that require you to file a tax return, you can apply for an ITIN number.  If you need to apply for an ITIN, please call the tax office (766-2821) to make an appointment.

7.  Who on campus can answer questions about non-resident alien taxation?

Ashley Decker deals with all non-resident tax issues on campus.  You may call her to get information about payments to non-residents at 766-2821.  If you have a non-resident that needs to make an appointment to fill out paperwork, please have them call 766-2821.

8.  I have a foreign person coming to campus to give a lecture.  Can I pay them?

An honorarium and/or travel reimbursement can be made to a short-term visitor entering the country in visa waiver-business (VWB) or business visitor (B-1) status.  Their activity at UW cannot last more than 9 days and they cannot be paid by more than 5 institutions in a six month period.

Tax withholding on these payments is done at a rate of 30%.  If they come from a country that has a tax treaty with the United States the withholding may be reduced.  To qualify for a reduced rate of withholding under a tax treaty, the individual must have a U.S. tax identification number (SSN or ITIN) and fill out Form 8233 while they are on campus.  Call the tax office at 766-2821 to arrange to have the proper paperwork filled out.

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