Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a stipend?

    A stipend is an amount paid for the benefit of a student at an educational institution to aid in the pursuit of study or research.  It may be paid as compensation for services or it may be paid to defray research or travel expenses which do not require receipts.  

    Stipend is not a tax term.  A stipend may come under the name of a grant, fellowship, internship or scholarship.  A stipend/grant/fellowship/internship/scholarship must be classified based on the facts and circumstances of each payment.  It is not subject to withholding or reporting to U.S. citizens and resident aliens due to IRS Notice 87-31.  It is, however, subject to 14% withholding and reporting on a 1042-S form when paid to U.S. Non-Resident Aliens. 

  • What are the standard tax rates for non-salary payments for international students and scholars?

    Stipend and fellowship payments to those on F or J visas are subject to 14% federal income tax withholding.  For anybody on a different type of visa, the standard rate is 30% federal income tax withholding. 

    Prize and Award payments are subject to 30% federal income tax withholding.

    Miscellaneous payments and payments not related to studying or training are subject to 30% federal income tax withholding.

    Payments may be eligible for treaty relief.  In addition, payments to those that are considered Resident Aliens for tax purposes (generally an F-1 student who has been in the U.S. longer than 5 years) may not be subject to the 14% or 30% direct tax withholding requirement.

  • I am an international student working off campus under CPT or OPT. Am I exempt from FICA taxes?
    International students working off campus under CPT or OPT may still be eligible for FICA exemption if considered a Non-Resident Alien (generally the first 5 calendar years under a F-1 visa) for tax purposes.  Please see Non-Resident Alie Students: Refunding FICA Taxes for more information.  Note that ICT cannot fill-in the forms for you or review the forms provided in the link.
  • I am an international student working on campus. Am I exempt from FICA taxes on my paycheck?
    International students are exempt from FICA taxes for the first 5 years on a F-1 visa (Non-Resident Alien).  F-1 students who have been in the U.S. greater than 5 years (Resident Alien) may still be exempt if registered for at least half time during a semester.  You must complete your tax forms with ICT so that the FICA exemption is applied appropriately.
  • What is a Tax Treaty?
    Tax treaties with the U.S. can reduce or exempt certain amounts and types of income from U.S. taxation.  Treaties vary by country, so if you are receiving income from Wesleyan, meet with ICT to determine your eligiblity.
  • I’m an international student or scholar receiving payment from the university (salary, stipend, fellowship, prize, etc.). Do I need to meet with the Tax Department?

    Yes. Payments to individuals who are not US citizens or permanent residents are subject to special rules. Please send an email to crodrigue@wesleyan.edu with the nature of your payment so that we can help you with the appropriate documentation required. You will likely be asked to complete the Foreign National Information Form with us.

  • Can Wesleyan pay compensation to a non-Weleyan sponsored H1B?
    No. Wesleyan cannot pay compensation for services to an H1B visitor who is sponsored by someone other than Wesleyan.  An H1B may only accept payment from their own visa sponsor.  Non-compliance could potentially jeopardize an individual's visa status and/or furture travel to the US.
  • Are reimbursements to Wesleyan-sponsored foreign students taxable?

    Yes.  Reimbursements to NRA foreign students are considered unqualified scholarships and subject to 14% federal income tax withholding and reporting.  This requirement is mandated by the IRS. 

    Although the IRS does not formally state this, many universities, including Wesleyan, make an assumption that when a student travels to a conference for the purposes of presenting research or a paper, we may exempt some or all of the withholding based on proper documentation attached to a payment request.  Reimbursements are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

  • Can Wesleyan reimburse a non-Wesleyan sponsored foreign student for travel expenses?

    A non-Wesleyan foreign student may receive reimbursement for travel expenses, but written approval from their sponsoring institution is required. 

    If the student is NRA, the expenses are considered a non-qualified scholarship and are subject to 14% withholding and reporting. Foreign student reimbursements cannot fall under the accountable plan rules for business due to the nature of their non-immigrant status.  Reimbursements must be considered non-qualified scholarships.  

  • Can a resident alien claim a tax treaty on a 1040 tax return?

    Currently there are no IRS published instructions.  However, a resident alien may submit the treaty claim on form 1040 using the following steps:

    1. Report worldwide income on the return.
    2. Report the treaty exempt income on the appropriate income lines so that the payer documents match in the IRS document match program.
    3. Record the treaty exempt income on the Other Income line as a negative amount and refer to an attached explanation.
    4. Claim the standard deduction, any and all personal exemptions to which the resident is entitled and any and all credits to which the resident may be entitled.
    5. Attach a form 8833 or similar statement to explain the treaty benefit being claimed as well as the reliance on an exception to the Saving Clause of a treaty in order to qualify for the treaty benefit.
    6. Write "Tax Treaty Claim Under U.S./(Treaty country name)" on the top of page 1 of the form 1040.
    7. Submit the form 1040 to the Philadelphia Service Center.
    Although the IRS routinely accepts treaty claims filed under these procedures, occasionally the Service Center rejects the claim because the reviewer lacks familiarity with the Saving Clause exceptions. A resident submitting a treaty claim, which is incorrectly rejected by the IRS, will have to seek assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate's Office.
  • What do I do if social security or Medicare taxes were withheld from my pay in error?

    First, contact the employer who withheld the taxes for a refund. If you are unable to get a full refund of the amount from your employer, file a claim for refund with IRS on Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement. Attach the following items to Form 843.

    1. 1. A copy of your Form W-2 to prove the amount of social security and Medicare taxes withheld. 
    2. A copy of your visa. 
    3. USCIS Form I-94. 
    4. Form I-20 (if you have an F-1 visa). 
    5. Form DS-2019 (if you have a J-1 visa). 
    6. Form I-766 or I688B (if you are engaged in optional practical training. 
    7. Statement from you or your employer. 
    File Form 843 (with attachments) with the IRS office where your employer's returns were filed. If you do not know where your employer's returns were filed, file Form 843 with the IRS, Philadelphia, PA 19255.
  • Are non resident alien individuals FICA exempt?
    A nonresident individual present in the United States in F-1, J-1, M-1, Q-1, or Q-2 status is exempt from social security and Medicare taxes under Section 3121(b)(19) of the Code if the services are performed to carry out the purpose for which the individual was admitted to the U.S.
  • Can a B-1 visitor be reimbursed for per diem travel expenses?
    Yes, as long as the reimbursement meets the requirements of the Accountable Plan Rules and is included in Wesleyan's travel reimbursement policy. Payments made to, or on behalf of, nonresident alien individuals for the purpose of defraying or reimbursing the deductible travel and lodging expenses of such nonresident alien individuals are excludible from the gross income of such nonresident alien individuals and are not reportable to the IRS by Wesleyan, on the condition that the requirements of the accountable plan rules are met. The Accountable Plan Rules require that Wesleyan establish the business purpose and connection of the expenses. Reimbursements to employees, independent contractors, consultants and other non-employees conducting University business all require the same receipts and documentation and the guidelines are stated in Wesleyan's Policy on Payments to Individuals. A B-1 visitor that is reimbursed for travel expenses and has all of the expense receipts has no tax issues.
  • Can Wesleyan pay an agent or intermediary on behalf of a non-US citizen?

    Yes. A payment may be made payable to an agent or intermediary on behalf of a foreign person who provided services to Wesleyan.  However, USCIS and IRS requires the payer to follow the same procedures and guidelines as if the payment were being made directly to the foreign visitor.  Work authorization must be verified and respective documents collected.  Payments are subject to 30% NRA federal income tax withholding and reporting. 

  • What is the 9/5/6 Rule?

    The 9/5/6 rule states that under the B honoraria criteria, visitors entering the U.S. in B (visa waiver) status are authorized to accept an honorarium payment and incidental expenses for "usual academic activity or activities" paid by an institution of higher education, provided that the following conditions are met:

    1. The services are conducted for the benefit of the institution 
    2. The activities last no longer than 9 days at any single institution
    3. The individual has not accepted such payment for expenses from more than 5 institutions or organizations in the previous 6-month period. 
    Wesleyan should not make an honorarium payment to a foreign individual who is believed to have not adhered to this rule. However, the more serious consequences of violating the 9/5/6 rule, fall to the payee, not the paying institution. By accepting such payment, the payee violates immigration law, which could complicate eligibility for future immigration benefits.
  • Can a J-1 Professor or Researcher participate in lectures and consultations outside the location of their exchange program?
    Professors and researchers may participate in occasional lectures and consultations outside the location of their exchange programs, as long as the lectures and consultations are related to the program objectives, incidental to their primary program activities, and not specifically disallowed by their sponsors. In order to participate in these occasional activities for wages or honoraria, the J-1 visitor must obtain a letter from the inviting institution, as well as a letter from the J-1 visitor's supervisor or department head recommending the activity.
  • As a Non-Resident Alien, what type of federal income tax forms should I file?

    If you have earned income in a given calendar year, then you will be required to file the below income tax forms:

    If you are a Non-Resident Alien and did not earn income in a calendar year, then the only form that you are required to file is Form 8843 and instructions.

  • What tax reporting documents should I have received?

    You should have received the following depending on your income types:

    • W-2-for salary/wages from Wesleyan (may receive from outside employer for OPT/CPT only)
    • 1042-S-for tax exempt salary/wages, stipends, prizes/awards, miscellaneous payments, etc.
    • 1099-MISC-(may receive from outside employer if they treated you as an independent contractor for OPT/CPT only)
    • 1098-T-Non-Resident Aliens should ingnore this form
  • Where do I get my tax reporting documents?

    You can get your tax reporting documents from:

    • W-2 from Wesleyan-retrieve from your WesPortal under My Information-Online Pay Statements-IPay after February 1st each year for the previous calendar year
    • 1042-S from Wesleyan-email ICT at crodrigue@wesleyan.edu (include WesID in your email)
    • 1099-MISC from outside company (for OPT/CPT only)
    If you are missing a W-2 or 1099-MISC from an outside company (for OPT/CPT only) contact the company directly, not Wesleyan.
  • Can Wesleyan/ICT help me prepare or review my income tax returns?
    No, we unfortunately cannot.  We offer software that will provide free preparation of the federal income tax return forms and Form 8843.  See our Sprintax page.
  • Is my tuition scholarship considered taxable income?
    A tuition scholarship to a degree-seeking student is not considered taxable income and is not required to be reported on an annual income tax return.
  • My spouse and/or children are present with me in the U.S. Do they need to file Form 8843?
    Each individual who is a Non-Resident Alien and present in the U.S. in a F, J, M or Q immigration status (both "-1" and "-2") is required to file Form 8843 regardless of the age of the individual or whether any income was received by the individual.  If you have a child who was born in the U.S., Form 8843 should not be filed for the U.S.-born child.
  • I'm married and have a child who was born in the U.S. Can I claim personal exemptions for my spouse and child?
    Only U.S. nationals, residents of Canada, Mexico, South Korea, or India, who were students or business apprentices, may claim an exemption for a spouse or dependent.
  • When is the deadline to file my income tax return?
    April 15th of each year for the previous calendar year.
  • If I did not receive income in a calendar year, do I still have to file a form with the IRS?
    Non-Resident Aliens for tax purposes are required to file Form 8843 with the IRS regardless of income earned.  If no income was earned, Form 8843 is due to the IRS by June 15th of each year.  If income was earned, Form 8843 will be prepared with your 1040NR tax return and must be submitted to the IRS with the return by April 15th each year.
  • What if I filed the wrong income tax returns in a previous year?
    If you discover that you filed the wrong income tax return in a previous year, you should correct the previously file tax return by filing an amended tax return.  To file an amended tax return you generally would complete an IRS Form 1040-X.
  • What if I did not file an income tax return in a previous year? How do I file them now?
    If you discover now that in a previous year you were supposed to file an income tax return, but you failed to do so, you should file a late income tax return as soon as possible.  To do so, obtain the Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ if you are a Non-Resident Alien, or 1040 or 1040-EZ if you are a Resident Alien, for the tax year that you must file a late tax return from the IRS website.  Be sure to also obtain the instructions for the preparation of that year's forms as the tax rates and exemption amounts may differ from year to year.  You may not simply lump the amounts from a previous tax year onto the current year's tax return.  Each tax year must be completed separately.  You may be able to use Sprintax to prepare a previous year's tax return if it's within three calendar years.  Please contact crodrigue@wesleyan.edu to inquire about an access code for the appropriate tax year.
  • Should I file Form 8843 if I missed the filing deadline for previous years?
    If you were unaware of the fact that you were required to submit Form 8843 for previous tax years in which you resided in the U.S. in F or J student/scholar status, you may file retroactively for each year that the form was not filed.  Simply submit a separate Form 8843 for each year that was missed.  When filing forms retroactively, you may search the IRS website for the appropriate year's tax return or you may use any Form 8843, cross out the year in the upper right-hand corner and write in the year for which you are filing.  You may be able to use Sprintax to prepare a previous year's Form 8843 if it's within the last three calendar years.  Please contact crodrigue@wesleyan.edu to inquire about an access code for the appropriate tax year.
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