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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I have an international student I would like to hire. What forms do I need to have them fill out before I hire them?
    All international workers need to complete the same forms as a U.S citizen, except for the W-4. They will need to come into the Payroll department with their visa documentation and passport to complete their W-4.

  2. Our department is having a workshop and we would like to invite an international Professor to speak. We would like to pay him an honorarium. What do we need from the visitor to make a payment?
    Before you invite your international visitor, you need to do the following:
    • Inform them to apply for a visa that allows payment for service. To determine the appropiate visa type, please refer to the Visa types page.
    • You will need them to complete the Foreign National Information Form, before they arrive on campus.
    • When they arrive on campus, you should make an appointment for the international visitor to come to the Payroll Department. They will need their passport and visa information.
    • Complete the Payment Requisition with all appropriate signatures and forward it to the Payroll Department.
  3. What do treaty benefits do for an individual?
    Treaty benefits can exempt certain types of income (i.e. wages, honorarium payment) from Federal income tax.

  4. What is the purpose of an ITIN (International taxpayer identification number) or Social Security number?
    ITIN is only used for federal income tax purposes. It is not valid for employment purposes.  A Social Security number is used for federal income tax purposes and to track Social Security benefits. The issuance of an ITIN or a Social Security number does not automatically create an inference regarding the individual’s immigration status or give the individual the right to work in the U.S.

  5. Are ITINs valid for work purposes?
    No

  6. Does the international visitor have to pay taxes?
    It depends on the type of payment being made and also if the person is claiming treaty benefits.  Please call the Payroll Office for a more detailed explanation on your particular case.


    NONRESIDENT ALIEN QUESTIONS & ANSWER


    Taxpayer Identification Numbers

  7. Do short-term foreign visitors who receive honorarium payments need a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)?
    Yes. All foreign visitors who receive pay for services in any amount must have either a SSN or an ITIN. These visitors can apply for an ITIN prior to their visit to the U.S. After entering the U.S., they can apply to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or an acceptance agent using the Form W-7. Many of the campuses have become certified acceptance agents and can apply for an ITIN on behalf of the visitor. The Form W-7 and instructions can be found at the IRS web site.

  8. Do foreign visitors need a SSN or ITIN to receive reimbursement of incidental expenses?
    No. Incidental expense reimbursements that the University pays to or on behalf of visiting scholars, who are nonresident aliens are not subject to withholding or reporting if the reimbursements are made in accordance to the IRS accountable plan rules.

  9. The department head wants me to find a way to pay our foreign visitor an honorarium without a SSN or ITIN. He says other universities do not require a taxpayer identification number. What should I tell him?
    The Pepperdine University complies with the IRS regulations governing payments made to foreign visitors. Foreign visitors paid an honorarium are considered "engaged in a trade or business" and are required to file a Form 1040NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return. A SSN or ITIN must be included on the Form 1040NR.


    Honorarium Payments

  10. Can I pay an honorarium payment to a B-2 visa holder?
    Yes. The American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 contains a provision that allows payment of honoraria and associated incidental expenses to B-1 and B-2 visa holders for "usual academic activity," provided that the services do not exceed nine days at a single institution. This new provision is effective for activities occurring on or after October 21, 1998.

  11. Can an A-1 (Diplomat) visa holder receive an honorarium payment?
    Yes. However, clearance for any work beyond diplomatic work must be given in advance by the Protocol Division of the Department of State.


    Services Performed Outside the U.S.

  12. Can I pay a nonresident alien for services performed outside the United States without an SSN or ITIN?
    Yes. Payments to a nonresident alien for services performed outside the United States are not considered U.S. source wages and are therefore not subject to reporting or withholding.

A WORD OF CAUTION:

Please do not rely on your friends, professors, or colleagues for advice regarding your immigration status. Each individual case, depending on your history and your future plans, will need special treatment. Therefore, asking how someone else accomplished a particular immigration task often will not help in your situation and can provide misleading directions with unfortunate consequences.