Nonresident Alien Visitors

(other than employees and scholarship/fellowship recipients)
The following is general information offered as a resource to University of Utah personnel for payments to nonresident alien (NRA) visitors other than employees and scholarship/fellowship recipients. It is not to be considered tax advice to the NRA visitor. The NRA’s individual circumstances may not be covered in this information sheet. If you or the NRA would like to consult additional resources, please refer to the list at the end of this information sheet. The Tax Services Office cannot provide the NRA visitor with individual tax consultation.

Nonresident Alien Payments

The University of Utah must report payments made to non-resident aliens to the IRS. This includes personal service payments, honorariums, scholarships, fellowships, gifts, prizes, and board & room, etc. Exceptions are student/faculty recruitment, misc. reimbursements for departmental or project supplies, University student/faculty travel, and University visitors travel reimbursements made under “accountable plan rules.” This information sheet covers payments to NRA visitors other than employee and scholarship/fellowship recipients.

Visas

Frequently used visa types:

  • F-1 Student visa
  • J-1 Exchange visitor (student, scholar or trainee) needed to pay consultants and independent contractors
  • B-1 Business visitor
  • B-2 Tourist
  • WB Business visitor (through visa waiver program)
  • WT Tourist (through visa waiver program)

Honorariums

A provision in the Omnibus Funding bill provides that B-1 or B-2 visa holders (this does not include WB or WT) can participate in scientific, educational, professional and business conferences and may receive an honorarium and be reimbursed for incidental expenses, providing the following criteria are met:

The payer must be an institution of higher education, nonprofit or governmental research organization. The payment must be made for academic-related services provided to that institution, provided that the services do not exceed 9 days and that the person has not accepted such payments from more than 5 institutions in the previous 6-month period.

Independent contractors, consultants and honorarium recipients must have a “social security number” or an individual taxpayer identification number.” Holders of WB visas can have expenses paid but cannot receive payment for performing services.
In order to complete a Honorarium payment to a B-1 or B-2 visa holder, please have the nonresident alien complete the Certification of Academic Activity which can be accessed via the Tax Services website.

Expense Reimbursements

Payments made to, or on behalf of an NRA for the purpose of reimbursing travel and lodging expenses are not reportable to the IRS on the condition that accountable plan rules are met. The benefits of this IRS position are that if accountable plan rules are followed:

  1. The NRA is not required to provide a taxpayer identification number,
  2. The NRA is not required to file Form 8233 to eliminate withholding tax if the NRA is from a treaty country,
  3. There is no withholding required on travel expense reimbursements even if the NRA is not from a treaty country; and
  4. The University is not required to report travel expense reimbursements for NRAs to the IRS.

The requirements of the accountable plan rules are found in Treasury Regulation 1.62-2; and they require that the payee must:

  1. Establish the business purpose and connection of the expenses,
  2. Substantiate the expenses claimed to the payor within a reasonable time period; and
  3. Return any amounts to the payor which are over the amount of the substantiated expenses within a reasonable period of time.
  4. Amounts which are over the amount of the substantiated expenses, or which are not accounted for within a reasonable time period, are reportable to the IRS on Forms 1042S and are subject IRC Section 1441 withholding (generally 30%).

Exemption From Tax Withholding Under Tax Treaty

Payments to nonresident aliens will be subject to tax withholding unless exempted pursuant to the Internal Revenue Tax Code or Tax Treaty between their country of residence and the United States. If the payment is exempt by tax treaty, the nonresident alien must provide the University of Utah with a completed IRS Form 8233 or W-8BEN. (Forms are available from Tax Services.) These forms require a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification (ITIN). Without an SSN or ITIN we cannot apply for any tax treaty benefits.
Form 8233 Exemption From Withholding on Compensation for Independent (and Certain Dependent) Personal Services of a Nonresident Alien applies to payments for services and honorariums by “short term” visitors (in the U.S. under 183 days). This form allows us to apply for tax treaty benefits.
Attach the completed Form 8233 to a check request along with a copy of their passport/visa and data collection form. The IRS requires a 10 day waiting period from the time we send the 8233 to them until we can issue payment. This allows time for the IRS to review and possibly reject the form. Signed fax forms of the 8233 are acceptable as long as they are clear and readable.
The IRS will reject an incomplete Form 8233. Do not leave the following blank:

  • Social Security # (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification # (ITIN), no exceptions
  • Visa type
  • United States visa number
  • Passport Number
  • Number of days
  • Signature and date

In the event the nonresident alien (1) does not choose to file Form 8233 or (2) does not qualify for the exemption, the applicable withholding rate of 30% will be applied. The withholding is paid to the IRS and the University cannot refund it. We cannot make payment to the individual by withholding 30%. File the 8233 and in 10 days refund the amount withheld.

Accounting Forms

The University accounting forms-check requests, limited purchase orders, requisitions, travel forms and campus orders have been revised to include a section for information on nonresident aliens. This needs to be completed-if not, the form may be returned for more information to maintain University compliance with IRS regulations.
Documents required for any payment to or on behalf of a nonresident alien:

  • Copy of their visa
  • Form 8233 when applicable
  • Travel receipts
  • Data collection sheet

Withholding Rates

Honorariums, Guest Lecturers and Independent Contractors

  • Treaty exemption 0%
  • No treaty exemption 30%

Royalties

  • Treaty exemption 0-30%
  • No treaty exemption 30%

Additional Resources

You may wish to consult the following resources in order to gain additional understanding of an NRA visitor’s tax situation:
Analysis of current tax treaties

Windstar Technologies
Internal Revenue Service

Try-
Publication 4, Student’s guide to Federal Income Tax
Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Corporation
Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens
Publication 520, Scholarships and Fellowships
Publication 901, U.S. Tax Treaties
Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Higher Education
Forms can also be printed from the IRS website.