Inviting a Foreign National to Wake Forest University can have unexpected challenges. The different visas that are available to Foreign Nationals often have different requirements that must be met in order for the individual to legally visit Wake Forest. Please consult with the Center for International Studies prior to inviting any Foreign National to Wake Forest.
In order to process a payment, (whether it’s a scholarship or to cover travel costs), to a Foreign National, the University requires certain information. This page will help guide you to the necessary forms and policies and procedures that should to be followed in order to properly pay a Foreign National.
- U. S. Tax Requirements for Foreign Visitors
- Tax Information for Scholarships, Awards and Grants for Foreign Students
- How to Get a Tax Identification Number
- Tax Guide for Foreign Visitors
- Foreign National Information Form
- IRS Tax Forms
Tax Information for Scholarships, Awards and Grants for Foreign Students
United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) regulations limit the types of payments that can be made to persons who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Whether such payments are allowed is based on the current immigration status of each individual, as stated on the individuals Form I-94. Depending on the current immigration status of an individual, an individual may be permitted to receive one of the following types of payments or a combination thereof: scholarships/fellowships; or prizes or awards.
Payment to or on behalf of individuals of certain immigration status may be prohibited.
Fellowship or Scholarship payments are made to assist a person in pursuing a course of study or research. There are two types of scholarships and fellowships, qualified and non-qualified. Qualified scholarships and fellowships are amounts that directly pay for tuition, fees, books, and required equipment for classes. Qualified scholarships and fellowships are exempt from taxes. Non-qualified scholarships and fellowships are amounts for room and board, sports/personal equipment, living expenses, medical expenses, travel stipends and other non-required expenses. Non-qualified scholarships and fellowships are subject to 14% federal withholding tax, unless exempt from tax because of an existing tax treaty. The withholding taxes are the responsibility of the student. If the department involved wants to reduce the tax burden on the student, please contact the Tax Department to discuss possible options.
Fellowship and Scholarship grants paid with funds that have come from the visitor’s country of residence (or another country outside the U.S.) are not subject to federal income tax or tax withholding, nor is there any U.S. reporting obligation. The exclusion applies only to individuals who are not U.S. residents or citizens. Such grants are considered to be “sourced” in the foreign country and, therefore, are not subject to U.S. tax laws.
The Tax Department will review all payments to Foreign Nationals to determine if the payment is allowed and what withholding rate, if any, will be applied to the payment. Business Managers are responsible for insuring that the individuals complete the Foreign National Information Form (FNIF) completely (with all required attachments) prior to submitting the payment voucher to Accounts Payable.
A table that indicates the types of payments that could be made to a Foreign National and the required forms necessary to process the payment is available in Appendix 3 of the Tax Guide for Foreign Visitors
Publication 970 from the Internal Revenue Service is available for more information on scholarships, fellowships, and grants.
U.S. Tax Requirements for Foreign Visitors
Foreign visitors to Wake Forest University may be subject to income tax on any payments they receive while at the University. A Foreign National Information Form is required for all payments to Foreign Nationals who have entered the United States. These payments may include:
- Employee wages
- Independent contractor payments (honoraria)
- Fellowship and scholarship payments
- Travel reimbursements
Income tax on employee wages is generally withheld at the graduated rates mandated by law. Wages are also subject to 6.2% FICA tax. Income tax withholding rates on independent contractors (honoraria), fellowships and scholarships can range from 0% (a tax treaty applies) to 30% (no treaty available). Tax treaties exist between the United States and 66 other countries so it is possible that what might be taxable to one visitor may not be taxable to another. The Tax Department can assist in determining if a treaty is available and which withholding rate may apply.
North Carolina state income tax withholding applies to all employee wages unless the wages are exempt by treaty. Generally 4% North Carolina income tax is withheld on all independent contractor payments.
See Section 3.1 of the Tax Guide for Foreign Visitors for more information on what types of income may be subject to income tax.
How to Obtain a Tax Identification Number
An Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) can be issued to an individual who is not eligible to receive a Social Security Number. For example, student athletes who receive athletic scholarships or consultants who expect to receive an honorarium can apply for ITINs. An ITIN cannot be used for employment. To be eligible for a tax treaty a person MUST have an ITIN or Social Security Number. Some countries have tax treaties with the United States that will allow a student to reduce or eliminate federal and state withholding on the non-qualified portion of a scholarship. See section 3.2 of the Tax Guide for Foreign Visitors for more information on the ITIN application process.
Some foreign visitors may be eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN). If a foreign visitor is receiving wages as an employee they will need to obtain a SSN. The local Social Security Administration Office is located at 1370 Lockland Ave, Winston-Salem, NC 27103; (336)722-1132. A foreign visitor will need their passport and at least one other piece of identification when they visit the Social Security Office. Other than assisting in completing the Form SS-5. Wake Forest University personnel cannot represent a Foreign National in obtaining a Social Security Number.
Foreign National Information Form
Complete this form when a Foreign National is being paid by the University while in the United States. This form covers any type of payment (e.g. honorarium, scholarship, wages or business-related reimbursement). The form must be completed in its entirety. If any additional forms are requested, those forms need to be attached to this form for review.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website
IRS Publication 915
W-4 Employee Withholding Allowance Certificate
SS-8 Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding
Form 8843 Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals With a Medical Condition
NC-4 Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate
IRS Tax Forms
The campus should use these forms to submit tax information to Accounts Payable.
Use Form W-9 (Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certifications) for US citizens and resident aliens that the University does business with. Generally, if Accounts Payable has a W-9 on file, another form is not needed. To verify if Accounts Payable has a W-9 on file, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Use Form W-8BEN (Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding), for any non-US citizens and non-resident aliens. Please complete this form when doing business with businesses or individuals in a foreign country. If the business or individual has an US ITIN or employer identification number, include that information on the form.
If the University is doing business with an individual that is performing services in the United States and they are a non-resident alien, the individual must complete the Foreign National Information Form
For more information, please visit www.irs.gov
Policies & Procedures
Tax Guide for Foreign Visitors
The purpose of this guide is to inform foreign students, faculty and staff of the rules that Wake Forest University operates under, based on the tax and immigration laws of the United States. In addition, this tax guide serves as a tool for University personnel who interact with foreign students, faculty and staff. Wake Forest University is a Certifying Acceptance Agent and can assist foreign students, faculty, staff and visiting speakers in obtaining the required Taxpayer Identification Number to file U.S. tax returns or make use of an income tax treaty.