Foreign National Taxation Services


What We Do

  • Provide guidance concerning federal and state tax withholding and reporting of payments made to individuals who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents
  • Work with international students, scholars, and visitors to determine their residency statuses for tax purposes and the proper federal income taxes and FICA withholdings
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires UVA to apply specific federal tax withholding and to report payments made to international students and scholars

 

Classifications

For U.S. tax purposes, individuals are classified in one of the following categories:

  • U.S. citizens
  • Permanent resident aliens (i.e. green card holders)
  • Resident aliens (for tax purposes)
  • Nonresident aliens (for tax purposes)

 

Completing the W-4 and VA-4

You can complete tax paperwork online or submit a hard copy via mail.

  • Complete Federal W-4 Form Online

    To complete tax forms online through Self-Service and select UVA Employee Self Service > Tax Forms.

    • Click Update
    • Filing Status: Single

    • Allowances: 1

    • Skip the Exempt From Withholding section (NRAs cannot claim exempt on the W-4)

    • Mark I Agree at the bottom of the page

    • Submit

  • Complete State VA-4 Form Online

    To complete tax forms online through Self-Service and select UVA Employee Self Service > Tax Forms.

    • Click Update

    • Total Exemptions: 1

    • Skip the Exempt from Withholding box (NRAs cannot claim exempt on the VA-4)

    • Mark I Agree

    • Submit

  • Complete Federal W-4 Form On Paper

    To complete forms on paper, fill out and return to your department’s HR Specialist or to the Foreign National Tax Consultant, 914 Emmet Street, PO Box 400127, Charlottesville, VA 22904.

    • Complete Sections 1 and 2

    • Section 3: Single (regardless of your actual marital status)

    • Skip Section 4

    • Line 5: write 0 or 1 (NRAs can only select a maximum of 1 as their total number of allowances; students and business apprentices from India may claim up to 2 allowances)

    • Line 6: write NRA on the dotted line; if you would like to have an additional amount withheld, enter the amount on Line 6

    • Skip Line 7 (NRAs cannot claim this Exempt status)

    • Sign and date form

    Federal W-4 Form
  • State VA-4 Form

    To complete forms on paper, fill out and return to your department’s HR Specialist or to the Foreign National Tax Consultant, 914 Emmet Street, PO Box 400127, Charlottesville, VA 22904.

    • Complete the personal information section

    • Line 1(c): write 0 or 1 (NRAs can only select a maximum of 1 as their total number of allowances)

    • Skip Lines 2-4

    • Sign and date form

    State VA-4 Form

FICA Exemption for Students

If you believe that you qualify for the student FICA exemption but are still having both Medicare and Social Security tax withheld from your paycheck, please contact the Foreign National Tax Consultant at 434.924.1377 or immigration@virginia.edu.

  • What is FICA?

    The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax

    • Is a U.S. payroll (or employment) tax imposed by the federal government
    • Applies to both employees and employers
    • Funds Social Security and Medicare
  • FICA Exemption Requirements for Students

    Students who work for the school at which they are enrolled and regularly attend classes are generally exempt from the FICA tax. The exemption applies equally to U.S. citizens and nonresident alien students.

    To be exempt from FICA withholding, you must currently be enrolled

    • As a student at UVA

    • In a degree-seeking program

    • In at least six credit hours

    And you must

    • Be employed as a student employee (cannot be Faculty, Temp, or University Staff)
    • Have your Social Security number entered into the Student Information System (SIS)

Individual Tax Identification Numbers - ITIN

To file taxes, individuals need either a U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Your Social Security number (SSN) works as your TIN. If you cannot get an SSN, you will need to apply for an ITIN.

Learn more about the ITIN and how to get one.

  • Payments to Foreign Nationals

    UVA will make certain payments to foreign nationals who have applied for an ITIN while their Form W-7 application is pending (scholarship/fellowship grant payments to students and research fellows, honorarium payments to short-term visitors).

    UVA will not exempt such payments from tax withholding under a U.S. tax treaty unless the recipient has applied for and actually received an ITIN.

  • Information Reporting

    U.S.-sourced, taxable scholarships and fellowship grants for nonresident aliens may be withheld at either a 14% or 30% rate.

    Recipients of such taxable grants can apply for an ITIN before submitting a tax return.

    You must report withheld income and taxes on Form 1042-S.

  • Income Tax Treaty Claims

    To claim an exemption from withholding on your U.S. income under an income tax treaty, you must submit a withholding certificate (that includes a TIN) to the payer prior to payment.

    If you are a nonresident alien (F, J, M, or Q status) with tax-exempt income from employment, self-employment, or scholarships and fellowships, you must present a withholding certificate (Form 8233 or Form W-8BEN).

    You can apply for an ITIN before submitting a federal tax return if you are claiming treaty benefits from taxes on scholarship and fellowship grants and taxes on honorarium payments.

    Claim a treaty exemption on income from scholarship or fellowship grants

    Use this sample to fill out and submit evidence of treaty exemption, including a copy of Form W-8BEN or Form 8233 submitted to the University Foreign National Tax Consultant and an official notification from the University awarding the scholarship or fellowship.

    Not claiming a treaty exemption on income from scholarship or fellowship grant

    Use this sample when you fill out your form, and submit a letter from the Designated School Official (DSO) or Responsible Officer (RO) (contact International Studies Office) on official letterhead stating that you are receiving income from scholarships or fellowships subject to tax withholding and information reporting requirements and a letter from the department at UVA awarding the grant.

    Under Exception #2, grant recipients with F, J, M or Q immigration status who are not employed by UVA are not required to first apply for an SSN. However, they must submit a letter from the University DSO or RO stating that they will not be securing employment in the U.S. or receiving income from personal services.

    Claim a treaty exemption on an honorarium payment

    Use this sample when you fill out your form, and submit a copy of the completed Form 8233, a letter referencing the payment from an authorized official of the department making the payment, and a communication from a University department requesting your presence for the speaking engagement.

    If you are from a non-treaty country and cannot claim an exemption from taxes on an honorarium payment, we will withhold 30 percent from the gross amount and process the payment. You cannot submit Form W-7 until you file your year-end tax return.

  • Where to Send Applications

    Submit Form W-7 and accompanying documentation to

    Internal Revenue Service
    ITIN Operation
    P.O. Box 149342 Austin, TX 78714-9342

    The IRS will notify you in writing of your ITIN. If you do not receive a letter from the IRS within 10 weeks, call 1.800.829.1040 to request an update on your application status.

    IRS Acceptance Agents

    The W-7 application can be submitted in person at some IRS offices. The closest office to Charlottesville that accepts ITIN applications in person is

    400 N. Eighth St.
    Richmond, VA 23219 
    804.916.8700

    Contact the Foreign National Tax Consultant for assistance regarding any student or research fellow receiving scholarship/fellowship payments, or any foreign national invited to UVA to engage in academic activities to whom a department wishes to pay an honorarium.

Tax Treaties

A tax treaty is an agreement between two governments under which each country agrees to reduce or exempt an individual from federal income tax withholding on scholarship/fellowship grants and/or compensation payments. Treaties

  • avoid double taxation of income
  • are unique and may differ from each other in provisions for exemption
  • do not automatically exempt you from taxes (you must meet their qualifications and complete and submit all required tax treaty exemption forms to Human Resources Immigration Services [HRIS])

If you come to the U.S. from a country with which the U.S. has entered into a tax treaty, you should review the provisions of that treaty and the U.S. tax regulations to determine the proper tax exposure.

  • Claiming Tax Treaty Benefits

    We are available by appointment to help you determine whether a particular tax treaty applies to you and to help complete the required documentation.

    You will need the following documents:

    • Social Security Card (SSN Card) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)
    • Valid passport with I-94 card
    • I-20, DS-2019, or I-797

    U.S. Income Tax Treaties - list of countries

Nonresident Alien Tax Information

You are a nonresident alien (NRA) for tax purposes if you have not met the substantial presence test based on the number of days you have been physically present in the U.S. The following individuals are generally considered nonresident aliens:

  • F-1/J-1 students, for the first five calendar years present in the U.S.

  • J-1 visa holders, for the first two calendar years present in the U.S.

You become a resident (for tax purposes) on January 1 of the qualifying year, regardless of the month you arrived.

  • Taxes for Wage-Earning NRAs

    You will have to pay

    • State Income Tax (unless exempted by tax treaty)

    • Federal Income Tax (unless exempted by tax treaty)

    If you do not have an H-1B visa, you are exempt from

    • Medicare Tax

    • Social Security Tax

  • Taxes for NRAs on Scholarship/Fellowship/Honorarium

    • UVA does not withhold taxes on qualified tuition and related expenses (i.e. tuition and fees required for the enrollment or attendance at an educational institution, fees, books, and supplies and equipment required for courses of instruction at such educational organization)

    • Payments that are not considered qualified (i.e. stipends, housing/dining/clothing allowances) are taxed at 14%

    • A reduced rate or exemption may apply if there is a tax treaty between the foreign national’s country of tax residence and the U.S.

    • Honorarium payments are taxed at 30%. A reduced rate or exemption may apply if there is a tax treaty between the foreign national’s country of residence and the U.S.

  • Filing Taxes

    Federal Taxes

    All international students and scholars who were in the U.S. for any period of time during the tax year must file an annual tax statement (income tax return) with the federal government.

    • You must file a 1040NR or a 1040NREZ tax form if your combined income is more than $3,650 or you claimed Tax Treaty Benefits (tax exemption). Failure to do so can negatively affect future applications for immigration benefits, such as employment-based visa status or a green card.
    • You are not required to file a 1040NR or a 1040NREZ if your total wages, scholarships, and fellowships amount to less than $3,650.

    State Taxes

    All international students and scholars who were in the U.S. for any period of time during the tax year must file an annual tax statement (income tax return) with the federal government.

    Form 8843

    • All nonresident aliens present in the U.S. under an F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2,M-1, M-2, Q-1, or Q-2 immigration status must file Form 8843: Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition, even if you received NO income during the tax year.
    • Form 8843 is not an income tax return. It is an informational statement required by the U.S. government for certain nonresident aliens (including the spouses or dependents of nonresident aliens).
  • Using the Foreign National Tax Resource

    • The Foreign National Tax Resource (FNTR) is a free, web-based tax program for our international community, offered through the International Studies Office and HR Immigration Services.
      • FNTR is similar to popular tax preparation programs such as TurboTax, but it is designed specifically for nonimmigrant tax filers who are still nonresident aliens.
      • The FNTR will produce Form 8843 for you.
    • We strongly encourage all nonresident aliens to use the FNTR program, regardless of whether you earned income in the U.S. during the tax year.
    • Please contact immigration@virginia.edu if you are a nonresident alien and have not received an FNTR informational email with an access link and password.

    HRIS is prohibited by law and University policy from providing official tax advice or assisting with your tax returns.

Resident Alien Tax Information

To be a resident alien (RA) for tax purposes, you have to meet the substantial presence test based on the number of days you have been physically present in the U.S. The following individuals are generally considered resident aliens:

  • F-1/J-1 students, after present in the U.S. for six calendar years

  • J-1 visa holders, after present in the U.S. for two calendar years

You are considered a resident (for tax purposes) from January 1 of the qualifying year, regardless of the month you arrived.

  • Taxes for Wage-Earning RAs

    You are taxed the same as U.S. citizens. You will have to pay

    • Medicare Tax

    • Social Security Tax

    • State Income Tax

    • Federal Income Tax

    If you are currently enrolled in six or more credit hours, you do not have to pay Medicare or Social Security Tax. You may be exempted from State and Federal Income Taxes by a tax treaty.

  • Taxes for RAs on Scholarship/Fellowship/Honorarium

    You are taxed the same as U.S. citizens, so UVA does not withhold taxes on scholarship, fellowship, or honorarium payments.

  • Filing Taxes

    Federal Taxes

    All international students and scholars who were in the U.S. for any period of time during the tax year must file an annual tax statement (income tax return) with the federal government.

    • Resident aliens are taxed like U.S. citizens.
    • You will need to use a version of the 1040 federal tax form.
    • Use a Free File tax preparation software package like TurboTax, a tax preparation service, or a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

    State Taxes

    You may also be required to file an income tax return with the state of Virginia (and any other state in which you may have earned income).

    • To file Virginia state taxes, you will need to complete Form 760.
    • The first year you file Virginia taxes you must complete a paper form and mail it to

      Virginia Department of Taxation
      P.O. Box 1498
      Richmond, VA 23218-1498 

    • If you have filed Virginia taxes in the past, you can use VA Free-File.

    FBAR and Form 8939

    Resident Aliens are required to file an FBAR (Foreign Banking Accounts Report) if

    • they had financial interest or signature authority over any financial account located outside of the U.S., and
    • the foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 in the aggregate at any time during the calendar year.

    The FBAR is a calendar year report and must be filed by April 15 of the following year.

    Resident Alien taxpayers with specified foreign financial assets that exceed certain thresholds must report those assets to the IRS on Form 8938, submitted with a tax return.

What You Should Know

Read through these commonly asked questions, and reach out with any questions.

  • I am a foreign national student/scholar. Am I exempt from taxes?

    No, international students are not exempt from U.S. taxes. A tax treaty between the U.S. and an international student’s country of tax residency may reduce the U.S. taxes you owe.

    Your visa type determines what taxes you must pay.

    • Social Security tax and Medicare tax (both known as FICA taxes) are employment taxes, and are withheld only from wage payments
    • Students who hold F-1 or J-1 classifications are exempt from FICA tax withholding for the first five calendar years they are in the U.S.
    • Professors and researchers who hold J-1 classification are exempt from FICA tax withholding for the first two calendar years they are in the U.S.
    • H-1B, O-1, J-2, and H-2 holders must pay FICA
  • What is a tax treaty?

    A tax treaty is an agreement entered between the U.S. and a foreign country that is intended to reduce or eliminate double taxation.

    • Usually only valid for a limited time period and/or for a specified dollar amount (ex. France income tax treaty allows exemption of $5,000/calendar year for personal services income earned by a student for a period of five calendar years)
    • Compensations earned beyond either limit are subject to federal income tax
    • The U.S. currently maintains income tax treaties with over 60 countries
  • Since I already had taxes withheld from my paychecks, do I need to file a tax return?

    Yes. The U.S. tax system is a pay as you go plan, meaning taxes are withheld from your paychecks as you earn them (based on withholding documents you give to your employer). You file a federal income tax return after the end of the calendar year to reconcile your withholdings with your actual tax liability.

  • What is a 1042-S form?

    The 1042-S is a tax document issued to all foreign nationals who claimed a tax treaty exemption or received taxable scholarship/fellowship payments, honorarium, or prizes. They are issued from the Human Resources Immigration Services department.

  • I didn’t get a 1042-S. Should I have received one?

    It depends on your tax status and your income. You should receive a 1042-S if you received

    • wages or salary on which you claimed a tax treaty exemption
    • a scholarship or fellowship where taxes were deducted and/or you claimed a tax treaty exemption (unless you received tuition, required fees, or a book allowance applied to your term bill)
    • income from prizes, awards, or honorarium payments

    If you qualify for a 1042-S form and did not receive one, please contact the Foreign National Tax Consultant at immigration@virginia.edu.

  • What is a W-2 form?

    A W-2 form is a tax document issued from the Payroll Department to all employees who received taxable wages from UVA.

  • I didn’t receive a W-2 form. Should I have received one?

    If you received taxable wage income as a UVA employee, you should receive a W-2 form. They are mailed out every year by January 31. If you need a copy of your W-2, you can access the form via Self-Service until January 1, or via Workday after January 1. Reach out to the solutions center with questions.

  • Can we pay an H-1B visa holder from another institution?

    No. The University is not permitted to pay any H-1B sponsored by another institution.

  • I would like to apply for a tax treaty. What do I do?

    Please verify that your country of tax residency (the country you resided in directly prior to coming to the United States) has an active tax treaty with the U.S.