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Paying International Workers

  • Last Updated: 04/19/2017
  • Effective Date:

Policy Statement
The University of Georgia will comply with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations related to federal tax withholding and reporting when making payments to non-resident aliens.  These regulations apply to payments made directly to and/or on behalf of a non-resident alien.  The payments affected by these IRS rules include, but are not limited to, compensation, wages, services, fellowships, stipends, and reimbursement of travel expenses.
Reason for policy
This information is intended to assist the UGA community in determining the proper method of processing payments to non-resident aliens.
Procedures

Tax treaty benefits, federal income tax withholding, social security taxes, and filing requirements depend on several factors including immigration status, the purpose of the visit to the United States, the number of days the individual will be in the US, and the history of prior US visits. To assist in evaluating each person’s status, all international employees are required to complete GLACIER, our nonresident alien tax compliance software program.  The new international employee will be contacted via GLACIER after a month from their hire date.  This information is provided to the new employee via the OnBoard HR system.  The employee is not to complete the Forms W4 and G4 in advance as GLACIER will provide the appropriate tax withholding forms once the process is complete.  GLACIER will provide instructions on what needs to be submitted to the International Tax Coordinator for review and analysis. 

Work Authorization:

All non-resident aliens must have the proper work authorization from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Students in F-1 and J-1 status may be eligible for employment and are permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session and full-time during holidays or school vacation periods, provided the student intends to enroll full-time during the academic term following the vacation period. Non-resident aliens with non-student status are eligible for full-time employment.

Please consult the International Student, Scholar, and Immigration Services website, particularly the Department Sponsorship section and associated links, for more information regarding hiring non-resident aliens to work at UGA. A link to this website is given under Related Information.

Social Security Number:

New UGA employees who do not have a Social Security number (SSN) must apply for one.  Student employees must first obtain a letter from the Office of International Education to be signed by the hiring department prior to applying for a SSN.  Other UGA employees will need to apply for their SSN using their immigration documents and offer letter from the university. The university letter will provide instructions on how to apply through the Social Security office, but please be aware that the Social Security office has restrictive hours . More information about the Social Security office can be located through the link provided under Related Information.  Departments processing a personnel form for a student should use the UGA Student ID number.  For non-students, please call the Payroll office to obtain a pseudo number to use on the personnel form.  Once the employee obtains his/her SSN, their department should notify payroll with the valid number. More information about submitting personnel reports is found under Policy 7 of the policy library, and a link to this policy provided under Related Information.

Income Tax Withholding:

All employment income is subject to federal and state withholding. GLACIER will provide the appropriate withholding forms (Federal W-4 and State G-4) to the employee after performing a tax analysis. Some countries have tax treaties with the US that allow a portion of the employment income to be exempt from taxes. If applicable, this benefit will be offered only after a tax analysis has been performed and the employee has obtained a Social Security number. 

FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare):

All non-resident alien employees are subject to both Social Security and Medicare taxes. Employees that are in F, J, Q, or M immigration status may be exempt from the FICA taxes. Exemption for these immigration types will be determined by the International Tax Coordinator each tax (calendar) year.  Social Security and Medicare rates can be found at the link provided under Related Information.

Income Tax Filing:

All non-resident aliens, including the student, worker, and any spouse or dependents present in the US, are each required to file Form 8843 to claim exempt individual status and show he/she is exempt from the Substantial Presence Test. If a non-resident alien receives US source income (i.e. assistantship, scholarship, etc.), he or she is also required to file an income tax return (Federal Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ and Georgia State Form 500). Links to all three of these tax forms have been given under the Forms/Instructions section. January 1st through December 31st is the tax year for the US, and both Federal and State income tax returns are due by April 15th. The University of Georgia offers assistance under the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program for filing the tax returns. Students may contact the International Student Life Office (link provided in Related Information), and scholars may contact the International Tax Coordinator at (706) 583-8193 = for assistance. IRS Publication 519 (link provided under Related Information) also serves as a tax guide for international aliens and should be reviewed to facilitate the income tax process.

The Office of International Education website also contains information about international students and workers and can help answer any additional questions regarding this topic. This website can be accessed through the link provided under Related Information. 

Forms/Instructions
Responsibilities

Responsible University Senior Administrator: Vice President for Finance & Administration

Responsible University Administrator: Associate Vice President for University Business and Accounting Services

Policy Owner: Payroll

Policy Contact: Susan Caldwell

Phone number: 706-583-8193

FAQs

We are hiring an international employee.  What paperwork needs to be completed?

All international employees must provide the required information and complete the necessary forms via the Internet from any web-accessed computer using the GLACIER Online Tax Compliance System. The International Tax Coordinator will provide the international employee with a login and a password to this system. The information and forms must be provided prior to any payment so that the correct tax withholding and reporting decisions are made; failure to do so may result in the maximum rate of tax withholding and/or delayed payment. Information provided to GLACIER is transmitted and stored securely and will only be used by the University of Georgia for purposes of tax withholding and reporting.

The international employees must submit the copies of documents (passport, visa, I-94 card and immigration form) to International Tax Coordinator.

The contact information displays in the Related information section below.

How do we get a new international employee on payroll without a social security number?

Please use the UGA student ID for student employees.  For all non-students, please contact the Payroll Office (542-3431) and request a “pseudo number” that may be used for the personnel until the employee receives their social security number.  A new personnel report must be submitted as soon as the employee receives their social security number.