University Responsibilities

The UW is responsible for maintaining compliance with both the letter and intent of all federal, state and local laws. The UW also has a responsibility to the foreign nationals who come to campus to pursue their education or other scholarly activities and to ensure that payments made are properly reported to the appropriate federal and state agencies. Proper reporting greatly reduces the potential for future tax or immigration problems for foreign nationals.

Withholding and Reporting 

The UW is responsible for appropriate withholding and reporting of all payments to foreign nationals. Where a payment is "US Source Income", the UW is required to report that payment on a Form 1042-S, and may be required to withhold at the applicable rate, unless the foreign national claims the benefit of a tax treaty. Withholding occurs on the gross amount of the payment (for example, if the University agrees to pay $1,000 to a foreign national, and such payment is subject to withholding at a rate of 30%, UW will pay $700 to the foreign national and $300 to the IRS). 

Where withholding is required, a department may elect to "gross-up" the payment, in order to ensure that the foreign national receives the amount that the foreign national expected to recieve from UW. If a payment is "grossed-up", the new total payment amount is equal to: (Amount to be Received by Foreign National)/(1- withholding rate, expressed as a decimal). In order to pay a foreign national $1,000, the total cost would be $1,428.57 ($1,000/(1-0.30)). 70% of $1,428.57 ($1,000) would be paid to the foreign national, and 30% of $1,428.57 ($428.57) would be paid to the IRS, as required by law. 

Note: it is a common misconception that the 30% withholding is calculated on the amount that is paid directly to the foreign national. Instead, the 30% is calculated on the total amount to be expended by UW.  

Sponsoring Department Responsibilities

University departments that host foreign nationals will generally be aware in advance of the actual arrival date that the visitor will be coming to the university. Accordingly, the hosting department or faculty member bears primary responsibility for ensuring that the visitor acquires the correct visa (or has the correct visa) so that payments made are in compliance with all requisite tax and immigration laws. Departments must insure that no payment of any kind is made to a foreign national unless the individual has been granted the appropriate authorization and visa status in advance of their arrival.

Either the International Scholars Office or the International Student Services Office must be contacted prior to making any contractual arrangement to pay a foreign national on an F-1 or J-1 visa. This applies to both non-student and student foreign nationals, and must be done in order to ensure that immigration laws are not violated. Such violations could lead to fines of up to $10,000 for the University as well as detention or deportation of the foreign national.

Departments should always follow the checklist(s) for making payments to foreign nationals to be certain of compliance.

UW Offices Associated with Tax Responsibilities

The following UW offices provide services for departments working with foreign nationals.

Accounts Payable

Graduate Admissions

  • Issues Form I-20 to graduate students applying for a F-1 visa
  • Issues Form DS-2019 to graduate students applying for a J-1 visa

International Scholars Office (ISO)

  • Issues initial and extensions to Form DS-2019 to scholars applying for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program visa
  • Applies and files for H-1B visas on behalf of academic departments sponsoring foreign nationals
  • Approves applications from J-1 Exchange Visitor Program participants to work off campus or receive an honorarium for occasional lecture on a UW campus
  • Sponsors permanent resident petitions for UW faculty

International Student Services Office (ISS)

Payroll Office

Student Fiscal Services

Tax Office

  • Consults on tax matters, including interpretation of tax laws and determination of proper procedures for tax filings
  • Processes ITIN applications for students

Undergraduate Admissions

  • Issues Form I-20 to undergraduate students applying for a F-1 visa
  • Issues Form DS-2019 to undergraduate students applying for a J-1 visa
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